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Custom written blog engine - how to let people follow?

I've written a custom blog engine and now my client wants to add a "follow" button.  The only thing is, I have no idea how to do that!  Does the follow button just add people to an email list and then they get an email everytime there's a new post?  Or is there some kind of API  I should be using from some established service like Facebook or twitter?

If anyone could point me in the right direction, I'd be grateful.
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David Williamson
Asked:
David Williamson
3 Solutions
 
stergiumCommented:
Hello.
My best guess would be that your client meant facebook and twitter. you can use www.addthis.com code ready to go.
hope that helps
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Gurpreet Singh RandhawaWeb DeveloperCommented:
Hi, Check this Blog post:

http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=104226

Always adthis will ad your post and share it with vertain services like facebook, twitter, google+ and others.

And also addthis website offers you the "Follow" buttons too. Just click on follow and then you are done, follow this link to check

https://www.addthis.com/get/follow?utm_expid=65470897-16&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.addthis.com%2Fget%2Fsharing#.UQuGMaVQFzI

You just need to provide your api names for the services you need to use
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gdemariaCommented:
If you've written your own custom blog for your client and your client has asked you to add a "follow me" feature, then you should be adding it into YOUR blog, not using an API to some other third party tool or web site.

The follow me is pretty simple to code.  Just have a join table between two users (visitors)..  

Create Table userFollowing :
 user_id   int
 followUser_id int

Of course change the table and column names to make sense for your standards.

Inserting into this table will associate one user to "follow" another user.

Now that's done.  The question is ... what feature do you want to provide to a user following another user?   This is a question that can be asked of your client.

There are a variety ways to implement this.

When someone I am following posts a new entry.. what should happen?

... I will receive an email telling me about it with a link
... Their blog title will appear on my "wall" or home page
... I will go to my page and see a list of people I'm following and their latest updates

Stuff like that..  Once you know how your client wants to implement it,.. it's easy to do
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David WilliamsonIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Great responses, everyone, very helpful.

@gdemaria, the feature isn't for one user to follow another user.  There is only one "user", that admin that is maintaining the blog. The "follow" feature is so that 3rd parties can "follow" the blog on the site, ie, be notified of new posts.  

Your procedural logic suggestion is great, though: when a user clicks "follow", what should happen?  I'll get with the client to more closely determine exactly that.  If they want to be notified via email (for example) when there's a new post, that I can do easily enough.
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gdemariaCommented:
Ok sorry.   That's just as easy though.

All you need is a list of followers with just an email address or user_id if they login.   You can add fields on the record to indicate how they want to be notified (or if they do) so each user can set their own preferences.    Perhaps a weekly digest or an immediate email with each post would be valid options.
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David WilliamsonIT DirectorAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help everyone.  I have a more clear direction now.
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