App.net Podcast: Episode 3

Each week, @dalton will recap the latest developments, API rollouts, and new features; offer updates to the product roadmap; and, of course, take member questions. Future podcasts will include guests and interviews. 

This week @Dalton gives an update on the private messages API and Paypal support, along with more context around today’s announcement about App.net invites: “An easier way for your friends to try out App.net.”

  • 0:30 Speaking at Le Web
  • 1:55 Private messages update
  • 3:00 Paypal support
  • 4:00 “An easier way for your friends to try App.net”
  • 10:05 Member questions

Thanks to @simon_w, @hwit, @sivy, @shawndrape, @fabrizio, and @mlv for submitting questions.

Subscribe to the RSS of the podcast or subscribe through iTunes.

If you have a question for a future podcast, a suggestion, or other feedback, send your thoughts to @ADN using #ADNpodcast.

An easier way for your friends to try out App.net

Update: we have since released V2 of the invite experiment that removes the credit card requirement. Learn more.

A question we have commonly heard in the App.net community is: “How can I buy a month of service to give to a friend?” We considered the mechanism by which an App.net user could purchase a month on behalf of someone else, and decided there might be an easier first step.

So, as of today, community members can invite their friends to a trial period of App.net in which the first month is free.

Here’s how it works:

  • App.net members on a yearly plan have access to a small number of invitations.
  • These invitations can be used by App.net members to invite specific friends they think would appreciate a one-month trial period of the service.
  • The recipient of the invitation will be able to click through a link contained within an email and create an account.
  • During the signup process, the invitee will be asked to enter credit card information and to select a plan that only takes effect once the trial has ended. The invitee will not be charged during the trial period, and can easily cancel their account at any point.
  • When invitees sign up for an account after clicking on an invite, they will automatically follow the person that invited them, and vice versa.

If you are an App.net user on a yearly plan, click here to see how many invites are currently available to you.

As a company, we have methodically experimented with changes to the account creation process. For example, our price dropthe introduction of a monthly plan, as well as developer test accounts. This trend will certainly continue.

In this specific case, we’ve intentionally released only a limited number of invites, and we’ll track the program’s performance closely. If successful – that is, if these invitations have a positive effect on the community – then we’ll plan on expanding it.

As always, we want your feedback. Please send comments to @ADN.

Seven Questions for Developers: @simon_w

This is the latest in our weekly series Seven Questions for Developers on App.net, where we ask a different developer the same set of questions to learn a bit more about the people behind the apps. 

Our fourth Developer is @simon_w, who “hails from The Middle of Middle Earth – a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand” – where he works for a startup called PocketRent. He has just completed his Bachelors of Science with honors in computer science and math from Victoria University of Wellington.

 

Tell us about your App.net app. What are you looking to accomplish with it?

TreeView started as a way to view threads so that you could follow the replies, rather than having a flat representation and guessing which post in the thread is being replied to. Since then, it’s grown to include the global, personal and mentions stream, as well as showing your interactions.

I’m using TreeView as a sort of playground for me to try out the API and new ideas I have. As a part of this, I’m looking into making it a fully-fledged web app.

I also have some other ideas for things I would like to try building on top of the API, though those are going to have to wait until the new year.

 

What qualities make a great app?

For me, a great app is one that you can learn the basics of really easily and then pick up the more advance features as you go along. It also needs to be able to fit into your workflow with little effort, rather than requiring you to restructure how you work to be able to use it. This also means that an app is great sometimes, and for some people, but not others.

It also has to feel polished (developers: hire a designer. Seriously.) and do what it’s designed to do. A lack of bloat is a plus.

 

What tools are important to you as a developer?

A whiteboard and a music collection I enjoy listening to. The actual tools I use are less important (my editor has changed three or four times in about as many years) as being able to plan something without having (much) of a space limitation and then having something to help zone out background noise so I can concentrate on my code. I also have a couple of notebooks for going into more details with my ideas and for doing some planning while bussing places.

Beyond those, I just need a system I’m familiar with. Currently, that’s a Mac with Sublime Text 2 for PHP projects; Xcode for Objective-C and C projects; Terminal for deployment, server setup and monitoring, and VCS usage; Sequel Pro for MySQL-backed projects; and SVN as my predominant VCS.

 

Why did you decide to build something on App.net?

The API looked interesting and was rapidly developing. I wanted to see how nice it was to work with (turns out it’s great) and use it as a way to try out some newer technologies.

 

What got you started writing code? 

Back in primary school, my teacher introduced me to Frontpage and a website creating competition. I quickly discovered that just using HTML was rather boring, so I taught myself PHP so that I could have more fun.

 

Any advice for aspiring developers (all the young coders out there)?

Try out different languages and frameworks so that you can pick the best one for the job, rather than being stuck with just a single language. Try to include different types of languages too, i.e. a functional language, an imperative one, an object-oriented one.

 

When you’re not coding you’re…

Until a couple of weeks ago, I was working on whatever my uni courses gave me. Now, I’m recovering from that by zoning out in front of a movie, or curling up with a decent book. I help run a local youth group each Friday, and I’m trying to get back into gaming after having almost no time for it. Since almost all of my down time is spent coding, I’m also looking into trying out new things so I can diversify my lifestyle more.

 

#ADNsecretsanta

The holidays are getting near, and we’re closing in fast on the gift-giving season. This has not gone unnoticed by the App.net community, which has organized its very own #ADNsecretsanta (all faiths welcome, obviously) to celebrate and reward one another.

Participation is simple: just register on Eventbrite by Friday, November 23. On the 24th, you’ll be notified of your assignment, and gifts must be delivered (either electronically or physically) by December 19. Gifts should not exceed $50, and a gift of any value will be quite appreciated. Each participant is responsible of every aspect of his or her own gift distribution.

The Eventbrite page has all the details, but #ADNsecretsanta should be used for any additional questions or just to show your holiday spirit. The more people involved, well, the merrier.

We’re constantly surprised by the creativity of the App.net community, and #ADNsecretsanta is the latest example. This event is entirely organized and executed by the App.net community.

 

Weekly RecApp

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we’ll all be in some phase of a food coma over the coming weekend so we’d better get our weekly recApp out before the tryptophan sets in.  This week brings you a little bit of everything to feast on; a cornucopia of choices, if you will.  Ok, enough Thanksgiving cliches.

 

Mobile

Nettelator - for iPhone - Nettelator is a best-of-breed App.Net client that has been obsessively crafted from the ground up for the iPhone.  Features include: Timeline (feed) photos & photo galleries, add photos & location to a post, website previews, global search and more.  Created by @twittelator

 

Molome -  for Android - MOLOME™ is a cross-platform photo sharing social network for (Android) smartphone users worldwide. It is free and it will always be free for everyone to use.  Created by @hlpth

 

 

 

Web

img.ly - for the Web - img.ly is a social photo sharing community. You can login with your App.net account and share your photos right away.  Created by @sippndipp

 

 

Flamingow - for the Web -  Flamingow is a web application that helps any social media user to engage their network of friends more effectively, by organizing and enriching their conversations online. Created by @flamingow

 

 

Treefor the Web- Tree is a vizualization tool for App.net. It provides a way to compare multiple users with their followers and get a cool graphic of it.  Created by @rp

 

 

 

Desktop

Briofor Linux - Brio – CLI power tools for appdotnet.  Interact with appdotnet from your command line! Mac, Linux.  Created by @tanja

 

 

Texapp -  for Linux - Command-line interface for Texapp in pure Perl – runs and tested on Linux, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, Cygwin* and most places Perl runs. Interactive client mode for chatting, or use it as a posting tool and scriptable “Swiss army knife” from your shell. Based on TTYtter.  Created by @doctorlinguist

 

 

For those of you in (or from) the U.S., have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  For everyone else, Happy Thursday!

Note: The app descriptions above are provided by the developers; edited slightly for formatting reasons.

 

App.net Podcast: Episode 2

Each week, @dalton will recap the latest developments, API rollouts, new features, updates to the product roadmap, and take user questions. Future podcasts will include guests and interviews.

This week Dalton talks about private messaging: background, current business model and the upcoming release of private messaging on App.net.

1:00 Private messaging background
4:22 Private messaging business model
7:30 App.net private messaging / how it will work
9:10 App ideas that use private messaging, what should developers build?
21:38 App ideas summary / looking forward
24:20 User questions

Thanks to @jesriera, @uli, @johnbrayton, @jmergy, @sel, @itskyleadams, @rrbrambley and @kosso for submitting questions.

If you have suggestions for the podcast, ideas for the format, or guests you’d like to hear from, post your thoughts to @ADN@ben, or @dalton.

Subscribe to the RSS of the podcast or subscribe through iTunes.

 

Design: App.net Directory

This is the first in our occasional series about App.net design, where @mintz will explain the thinking behind a specific design direction. First up: the Directory.

App.net Directory

You may have noticed that various pages on App.net—including this blog—have adopted a new design. The design made its first appearance on the App.net Directory and will soon find its way on all of App.net’s top-level pages and Alpha.

When it came to the App.net Directory, the last thing I wanted to do was to detract from developers’ hard work with extraneous design elements. At the same time, I wanted the design to be distinctive, sophisticated and polished.

In order to do this, I settled on light colors and a minimal approach that would highlight the content. Because prominent textures and other graphical flourishes might do a disservice to the content, I avoided them.

Thanks to the large app banners, however, the design isn’t minimal to the point of being stark. The design gains its rich visual quality from the banners. In this way, the design both serves and benefits from the content.

On other pages, the design performs a similar function. The boldest element is the content. On Alpha, we’d like to put the focus on communication.

As Alpha and other pages adopt the new design, I will discuss the rationale behind various decisions. Stay tuned.

Ask @mintz your design questions and suggest topics for future posts.

The App.net #Bookclub

We like to keep an eye out for examples of the creativity, depth, and strength of the App.net community. That’s partly why we like #MondayNightDanceParty so much and why we’re excited about App.net’s very own #Bookclub, which has crystalized over the last few days.

The idea is familiar: participants in the #Bookclub will choose one book a month to read and discuss it on App.net on the last Saturday of the month. @icy got things rolling and suggested the #bookclub start with Christopher Beuhlman’s wonderfully eerie novel Those Across the River. The discussion is scheduled for Saturday, December 29. To participate, just read the book and be ready on the 29th to share a few thoughts.

@shawnthroop put together a few pages and hashtags to keep track of it all:

#bookclubhttp://scriptogr.am/adnbookclub: where you can learn about the current month’s  selection.

#bookclubsuggestion -http://scriptogr.am/adnbookclub/suggest: where you can recommend a book for future months.

#bookclubvotehttp://scriptogr.am/adnbookclub/vote: where you can vote on the next month’s choice.

There are still details to be worked out, so monitor those hashtags for updates.