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20 July 2009

MemberKit Lets Non-Programmers Create Their Own Facebook-style Site

MemberKit LogoThe astonishing popularity achieved by social media sites like Facebook has spurred developers to try and imitate that kind of success, and although a number of web form builders have been rolled out lately, one of the most promising is Memberkit. It's an online membership content management system for websites that can be used on new or existing sites.

Memberkit stands out from the crowd by being aimed not at other developers but by regular folks like you and me. In effect, someone with only minimal knowledge of programming - or at least, can follow WYSIWYG directions - can set up their very own Facebook-style website. Once up & running, your Memberkit site will allow you to collect subscription payments from your members and create an advertisement based community on a fully custom, professional looking site.

The man behind Memberkit is Aytekin Tank, cofounder of Interlogy Internet Technologies and the creator of JotForm, from which Memberkit has its roots. Memberkit is more general in scope compared to JotForm but still relies on the user-friendly WYSIWIG interface and a straightforward drag and drop builder similar to the builder used in Visual Studio. It's been three years in the making but Tank & company have used the time well, as anyone who takes the software for a test run will learn. It should be mentioned that right now Memberkit is compatible with both the Firefox and IE browsers and plans are in the works to extend support to Safari.

In a nutshell, you can use Memberkit's drag and drop tools to create listing pages, display pages or search forms. Not only can you can create multiple forms, but it's easy enough to program working relationships between them. All of this - and more - is possible without having to write a single line of code!

After reading through the information at the Memberkit website, I thought I'd give it a spin and was pleasantly surprised! The interface seems quite polished and responsive, and I like the narrow focus. It'll be interesting to see how Memberkit evolves over the coming months but I'm very impressed with its practicality, flexibility and above all: ease of use. I heartily recommend visiting the Memberkit website where you can check out a demo of the framework, view a flash-based screenshot tour, even watch a video:

At its present stage of development, Memberkit is targeting a particular market niche but it has ambitious plans for the future. Explains Aytekin Tank, "We have released this first version specifically for membership and social sites. Our plan is to first make it perfect for these specific tasks before turning it into a complete web framework."

Indeed, Tank is not letting the grass grow under his feet. As of March 19 of this year, the full Memberkit documentation file "Memberkit: The Definitive Guide" is now available. The full-featured guide is over 100 pages long and can be downloaded as a single PDF book or can be referenced from the online version which is searchable and commentable. Check it out - the next great social media website just might start here!

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