Monthly Archives: April 2005

Gimpu developments

I was going to post this earlier (like about 5 days ago), but I have had a lot of stuff on, so it is a little late.

Over the last month or so I have been working on a project with carl called gimpu.com. It is a social bookmark manager, but we think it is better than the current alternatives. Why? Well, amongst other things, because of these features:-

Private bookmarks

Firstly we have private bookmarks. This seems to be something that a lot of people have been asking for and it makes sense. Everyone I know has URLs they don’t want others to know about, but a persons bookmark collection needs to include these URLs to be complete (the gimpu bug tracking system for instance). Possibly other social bookmark sites don’t allow users to keep some bookmarks private as a private bookmark adds absolutely nothing to the value of the society, but I think it is a necessary tradeoff. If we allow users the option of adding private bookmarks, the chances are that they will add some public ones too, and the majority of users will keep the majority of their bookmarks open.

Send to a friend

One of the great things about developing gimpu is the number of our own itches we are scratching whilst writing it, ‘send to a friend’ definitely falls in that category. Often while I am browsing the web I find a site I want to send to someone and I imagine this happens to a lot of people. I used to have to copy and paste the link, switch desktops to my mail program, create a new mail, address it, paste the link and click send, then head back to the original desktop to continue reading. This process takes hours. We have speeded this up somewhat with a feature of gimpu that allows you to send URLs to people. Pretty simple, but there are a coupe of nice features.

First, when browsing your gimpu bookmarks you can sand a URL without having to leave the page thanks to Ajax (I won’t try and describe it further here, you are just going to have to check it out when it goes live!).

Second, we have created a ‘bookmarklet’. This goes in the bookmark bar of your browser and if you find a site you want to send to someone, just click this and you get whisked to the gimpu send page. Enter the email address and some comments, click send. Your URL is then sent and you are taken back to the site you were on, all without leaving your browser, easy.

Views

The next feature we have impemented is views. We like tags, we really do, we think tagging is a great way of categorising information. The problem is sorting through that categorised information later. This is why we have come up with views. Views are not a replacement for tags, they need tags to work, they are just really just ‘collections’ of tags.

Take for example a sports news site ‘a’ and a tech news site ‘b’. You might tag a with ‘sport’ and ‘news’ and you might tag b with ‘tech’ and ‘news’. When you want to find tech news sites you just search for all bookmarks tagged with tech+news. Quite reasonable, but I read tech news a lot and I don’t want to have to run a search for a set of tags like tech news a few times a day. I could just create a ‘tech_news’ tag, but that seems to go against the idea of tagging. A view allows you to group together tags under a friendly name, so I might create a tag called ‘tech_news’ and put the tags ‘tech’ and ‘news’ in it, I can then quickly access this view from the gimpu navigation.

Thumbnails

We are creating thumbnails of all the sites that are added to gimpu. It makes the pages prettier, but it also helps to locate the exact bookmark you are after in a list, and speed of navigation to a particular bookmark you are interested in is very important. There will be a preferences section to allow users to turn thumbnails off if they prefer the plain text only view.

When can I get all these cool things?

Well, we were aiming for this Today, but I have been busy and we still have a few bugs left to squash, so this week, maybe next Sunday.

Shiny new things.

Well, I have finally decided to jump on the bandwagon I said I would never jump on, I have started a blog.

Why? Well I kept finding very cool sites and technologies, mostly on the subject of web development, and I wanted to tell people about them. Also, the web development community seems to actually make good use of blogging to inform and enlighten, it seems to work so I will give it a go.

I experimented with pyblosxom but the documentation was (politely speaking) terse, I want to write a blog, not read the source code in an attempt to install one. WordPress seems to do what I want so I am trying it out, so far it looks promising, the installation took about five minutes and it is pretty powerful. I am planning on designing a more personalised look at some point, maybe I will actually get round to it.

We’ll see how this goes…

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