Aliveworld

"Four Roads has been our primary technology partner since January '07.  They have consistently provided highly professional and personal service while quickly adapting to our changing business priorities.  Because the Four Roads team constantly presses to understand our business and re-optimizes business and product development processes at each release, we have been able to accelerate delivery of value over time, achieving release cycles in as little as two weeks.  Over time, Four Roads has expanded their expertise from a solid base of experienced engineers into a full-service portfolio consisting of business analysis, marketing and graphic design through partnerships.  I could not recommend this team more highly for its integrity, customer commitment and relentless pursuit of quality."

Alden Gannon
CTO Aliveworld, Ltd
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One of the most enjoyable aspects of our business is working with customers who have brilliant ideas and good business models. Four Roads has more than its share of such customers, the first of which is a company named Aliveware. We helped them implement a community named Aliveworld (http://www.aliveworld.com/) based upon Community Server, our social media platform of choice.

Aliveworld is focused on helping people make changes in their lives, whether it be in the area of health, sports, weight loss, or any other areas where you want things to be different. And when it comes to social networking, we think they're getting some things right. The pillars of their model rest on community, tools, and guidance.

If there's a change you'd like to make in your life, Aliveworld helps you find like-minded people trying to make the same kind of change. There are more than enough websites that bring like-minded people together, but those communities may not offer enough to keep people coming back. This is where Aliveworld shines. They had Four Roads build a set of tools ranging from change projects to help you organize your effort to practices that implement and track your path to change. And you're able to share your efforts with friends or associates who want to support you.

To support the guidance pillar, Aliveware has partnered with publishers who write Aliveguides. An Aliveguide is a type of online book targeting a specific type of change. It walks you through the change process. Aliveware provides publishers with a tool called Aliveware Studio and the publishers use it to build the Aliveguides. They publish the Aliveguide to Aliveworld. One novel aspect of Aliveguides is that as members read through a guide, they interact with Aliveworld through a Javascript interface. As they take actions listed in the guide, they build up a set of content and actions in a change project within Community Server. We were able to implement this novel application using a combination of client-side Javascript and a custom Community Server application.

Aliveworld uses Four Roads Commerce to sell subscriptions to the Aliveguides. Aliveware was one of the first companies to adopt Four Roads Commerce and they've been very instrumental in its development. Aliveworld takes advantage of the mall concept where each publisher has their own online store, allowing them to keep their products, pricing, and administrative activities within their own distinct area.

This project has given Four Roads many opportunities to show what we can do with Community Server. Some of the other customizations we've made for Aliveworld include:

  • Custom content that can be commented upon, rated, tagged, and search. We did not re-use existing CS content. We created a first class application comparable to anything else you would find in Community Server.
  • Advanced search engine that can restrict searches to certain areas such as your friends' blogs and communities in which you are a member
  • Each member has a public profile page with custom profile information and integrated support for their blog
  • Integrated "tools" that help the member through their change process
  • iCal support for personal appointments and tasks
  • Custom content parts that support multiple languages and role-specific editing


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