As they say, March is a funny old month, isn’t it? Everything is changing, renewing and starting afresh. Before we embarked on the Great Simplification Makeover in our feature-laden reader, we decided to take a quick detour and see what we could learn in the name of science, exploration and discovery.
Like bumping around the town like when you’re driving a range rover
Q: Can we disaggregate our features have them stand on their own?
Our first stop was messaging. We have wonderful messaging components built into our architecture. We had previously asked if there was any interest in us making a twitter-proxy and the post garnered quite a bit of interest. But somehow a direct clone didn’t seem interesting enough to persue. How would you grow the user base?
Ben franklin with the kite getting over with the key
Then opensocial came along and we raised our eyebrows. There was much fear and trembling that myspace OS apps would be just useless widgets. But, do they have to be? We decided that it would be fun to learn the OpenSocial API and see if we could adapt part of our core to make a useful OpenSocial messaging app, a la twitter.
Rock well to tell dispel all of the old fables
Twitter’s bare-bones app seem to successful enough, so we tried to de-featurize our app as much as possible. Although, since we DO allow inline pics, and any-type-of-file attachements up to 7MB, and public or private messages, I guess it’s more pownce than twitter.
The hard part was not exposing the Assetbar native features such as comment threading, search, view counts, “messages new to me”, more robust ACLs, etc. Sigh. But score a win for keeping with our goal to make something really, really simple. We threw those advanced features on the ground and curb stomped ’em.
…and kicking the new knowledge
A: In about 15 man days of developing, including dealing with myspace’s OpenSocial container (which, ahem, could be better), we disaggregated an Assetbar feature and made it a standalone app. I’m pretty proud of that. We didn’t just make a “cute puppy of the day” widget either, but we still made it quickly. And we learned a ton.
The power of OpenSocial or rather, NOT being a destination site is that i-chitchat users should be find and message with their friends no matter WHAT social network they’re on, with no distinct i-chitchat login. Grab your old myspace credentials and hit up myspace.com/ichitchat to take a look.
It will be interesting to see what it actually takes to make it run on bebo | hi5 | orcutt and soon Yahoo. Heck with a little FBML, I suppose it could be on facebook, too. No separate login, just a some casual group TXT with attachments, and maybe more.
Ponce de leon constantly on,
The fountain of youth not robotron
So hooray to OpenSocial and myspace.
This was a fun break that should ultimately benefit our reader… There’s already something very cool crystallizing.