chapter  7
Tools for Developing and Deploying Virtual Communities and Their Platforms
ByMichael J. Huber, Helmut Krcmar
Pages 18

Abstract: In the times of Web 2.0, virtual communities can be found for all kinds of purposes, topics, and target groups. Some of them are amazingly successful as shown by the success stories of Facebook, MySpace, or XING. Others barely attract users and are shut down after some time due to their lack of members and activity. In this chapter, we discuss the aspects, methods, and tools that are intended to support the proper planning, design, development, and deployment of Internet platforms as the technical basis for successful and active virtual communities. First, we deal with the aspects of motives as well as collaboration and creativity support as resources for the planning of a virtual community. Second, for the design of a virtual community platform, we present pattern collections as best-practice approaches and refer to theory-driven design, as a method for the systematic design of functional components. Concerning implementation, we refer to content management systems as a valuable basis for the implementation of virtual community platforms. We conclude our contribution with an approach to downsizing community-building efforts by accessing existing social networking sites. This article contributes to the field of community engineering and is based upon current research on collaboration and creativity support. We present the principle of reusable design patterns and propose the approach of theory-driven design in order to facilitate the design of proper functionalities for virtual community platforms.