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(see also: ORNG introduction for non-developers)
What is ORNG?
The Open Research Networking Gadgets (ORNG) standard is the intersection of two popular standards:
- OpenSocial, a web-app standard, supported by Google, IBM, SciVerse, LinkedIn, etc.
- VIVO RDF (Linked Open Data), a research networking data standard supported by VIVO, Profiles, and Loki
Show me the code!
Many institutions are intimidated by Open Source software, and don't want to hack in their own features. This makes sense, as the more you alter the code base, the harder it is to keep up with new versions. With gadgets, this problem goes away, but keep in mind that gadgets are limited in how integrated they will be with an implementing container. This is by design, and something it is good to get comfortable with.
The simplest extensions can sometimes reap the greatest rewards. UCSF created a simple gadget allowing end-users to add web links to their profiles, a feature missing in the software. Faculty loved it. We can now have Profiles link to departmental web sites (and we prepopulated data as much as possible), and this make Profiles less threatening to the many pre-existing UCSF web sites that profile faculty information. And the gadget itself is a small amount of code. This was such a simple thing to build, but a great bang for the buck.
With gadgets, you don't need a killer app. You are better off building a bunch of small apps to meet a bunch of small needs. The collection of not killer apps can become the killer library of apps because you can eventually build something for everyone.