Anth's Computer Cave

AaimiSocial, a private forum/social media platform

5th August, 2016

Today the AAIMI Project release the second version of AaimiSocial, our new communication platform.

New features include easier setup and user-management, and new sharing tools for users. This really is a drop-in system now. If you have a website you can get the system running in minutes.

The AaimiSocial feed page. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The AaimiSocial feed page.

About AaimiSocial

AaimiSocial is the first of AAIMI's web tools. These tools aim to provide open-source, independent solutions for life on the web.

It is a communication platform that you control on your own website. It is ideal for families, clubs and groups that don't want invasive companies snooping on their private data. It allows members to share messages and images with selected members, or post to all members at once.

I first built the system to keep in touch with family members and friends who wisely shun FaceBook and its privacy-sapping network. I soon realized it could become a general-purpose tool for many other organizations and groups.

Today I'll tell you how it works, where to get it and how to configure the system.

Note that AaimiSocial is only a few weeks old, and there are a couple of limitations, mainly concerning a lack of editing/indexing options for existing posts. We'll have updates each week as these features arrive.


To Use the AaimiSocial system you need a website. This can be an existing site, or you can create a new, empty site and drop the AaimiSocial system in.

You'll need someone in your group with a basic understanding of web-server operation, such as configuring SSH and FTP access to your server to add the AaimiSocial folder, and adding authorized users using .htaccess. The next version will have automatic configuration options for the more common website-hosting methods.

How it works

There is one administrator for the AaimiSocial system, and that would be the member of your family or group in charge of the website. The administrator will approve and add members, and make any required site modifications.

There is a main feed page that all members can view and post to. This is like a group-wide bulletin board

Each member also gets their own feed page, as well as a dedicated gallery page. All images posted to their feed page are also displayed on their gallery page. Members can choose who else can view and post to their feed and gallery.

The AaimiSocial gallery page. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The AaimiSocial image gallery.

Set up AaimiSocial

Click here to download AaimiSocial. Download and unzip the folder to a password-protected members area on your website.

You'll need to add yourself as an AaimiSocial member. To add users you run a python script that configures new files and folders for the user.

In a SSH terminal, navigate to the aaimi_social folder and type: python

AAIMI will prompt for a username. This must also be your username for your website.

Adding the first user to AaimiSocial. Picture: Anthony Hartup

You now have access to your own feed, as well as the public feed.

You can run the script again to add other users. Note that you'll also need to add that person as an authorized user to access the members' area of your site using ,htaccess. How you do that depends on what type of hosting/server configuration you are using.

That's it, the system is ready to go.

Using AaimiSocial

To use aaimi social, open a web browser and type YourSite/members/aaimi_social/aaimi_book.html, substituting your website's URL for "YourSite/members".

You should see your empty feed page. To add posts to your feed, choose to Post a message, or Post a message with image. For an image post, enter your message and select an image to upload, then click Upload Image. Your post and image will appear in your feed.

If you click on the Gallery tab at the top of the page you will go to your gallery. You should see the image you posted earlier.

Under the user tab you can visit other users' feeds if they have given their permission.

The AaimiSocial user tabs. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The AaimiSocial user buttons in the left column.

Selecting the public user takes you to the public feed that every member can view and post to.

You can visit other members if they have allowed you to view their feed. To allow a user to view your feed, click on the Permissions button at the top of the Users column.

The AaimiSocial user permissions tabs. Picture: Anthony Hartup
The AaimiSocial user permissions in the left column.

You can see if the person has allowed you to view, and whether they can view your feed. Click the Allow..? button to allow the user.

That's about it. Have fun, and leave a comment below if you need help with the AaimiSocial system.





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