So Marc Andreesen’s 24 Hour Laundry has left stealth mode and launched the first web-based development tool for social applications: Ning.

It’s worth looking at the Ning Pivot to see just what people are building.

Ning’s definitely a Computing 5.0 application – using a web-based social application framework as a front end to a wide range of web services. Its Content Store is an interesting tool – an object database with strongly typed data (yes, folks, it’s the Newton’s Soup for the web!). An XML programming language or a custom version of PHP help build apps that can use SOAP to connect to remote services, as well as Ning-hosted services.

Interestingly all application source code is visible to all developers, so you can build your app on top of someone else’s code – code reuse the old fashioned way. Layout guidelines make sure that all Ning applications look similar, with a standard structure for each page. There’s also a set of AJAX tools to make it easier to design complex user interfaces – and instructions for linking to Zend and Dreamweaver as developer .

This is going to be interesting to play with. I’ve signed up for the Developer program, so will report back on how things look from the code side of the fence.

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