Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
There are literally hundreds of tiny little things you need to do to make a micro blogging service good. Checking an email address is valid here. Encrypting passwords there. Checking inputs everywhere else. Making sure the site is easy to use and understand for people that have never used it before.
Registering the domain name, creating publicity for it. Optimising the code so that should the site become successful it wont crash straight away, or slow down so much that it becomes unusable. Finding and removing bugs. Tweaking the UI. Making that pages look interesting and feel ‘right’.
Making the site do what it was meant to do in the first place. It’s the fun little things that you don’t often notice at first that make a website worth using. I’ve been working on PJs.Cat for a long time, and it’s very slowly coming together.
Piece by piece I’m going to build the best microblogging service that I can. It’s one of the biggest projects I’ve ever worked on and I couldn’t be happier with it so far. The image below is a screenshot of how it looks at the moment. This is a very early version, and will be revised before the site launches.
Monday, April 23rd, 2012
The interesting part about Google and Facebook is that these super giants didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago. Google was created by two guys from their university dorm room, and Facebook started in basically the same way. Just take a look at this screenshot of Facebook from 2005 (7 years ago):
and Google from 1999 (13 years ago):
These sites, employ thousands of people (33,000 employees currently work at Google and 3,000 for Facebook) and get billions of hits from users. For me the amazing thing is that beneath the hood, the code which makes up the core of their functionality is really just a tweaked and improved upon version of what Zuckerberg, Brin and Page came up with in their free time.
Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Think about where the most popular websites on the Internet come from for a second.
Ebay. Yahoo. Amazon. Google. Facebook. Twitter. Linkedin. MLKSHK. Youtube. Wikipedia. WordPress. Blogspot. Bing (yuck). Tumblr. Craigslist. Flickr. 4chan. Stack Overflow.
American, American , American , American , American!
Great Britain, my country of residence, has been left behind in the dust and we are not close to catching up. Perhaps we lack the entrepreneurial spirit fulled by a Randian, laissez-faire, pro-capitalist worldview, compared to our cousins from across the pond, but we have really dropped the ball this time.
Aside from the BBC (which is cheating really) and Wolfram Alpha, we haven’t really yet made our mark on the 21st century.
Somebody has got to do it. May as well be me. Only when PJs.Cat is a real success will I then rest.
Saturday, April 14th, 2012
Something which we believe in, here at PJs.Cat HQ, is giving users accurate, attractive feedback on the Posts that they create. I decided on creating a graph to let people know how often other users were saving their Posts but after trying a lot of different graph-creating software, found that the free stuff doesn’t look good enough, and I am committed to using open source software as much as possible when building this site.
I was willing to make an exception for the Google API, which I though made pretty good graphs, however I have not used it in the main site, because the look and feel just didn’t fit in with the rest of the page. I think I might create an Awsome-O-Meter for the catistics page (which I have yet to create and will show things like site traffic, total number of users and Posts per day).
After being unable to find what I wanted, I ended up creating my own bar chart, showing users how much their Posts had been saved in the previous week.
It made sense to display it when you are looking at Posts you have saved, and makes the process of using our micro blog a little more interactive.
Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
A friend asked me yesterday if he would be able to embed videos in his Posts. I’d already decided that I’d make it possible, so today I set about implementing it.
Turns out that embedding a youtube video is pretty easy, and just a little Regex, or URL parsing (thanks to Stack Overflow) was necessary.
Some people, when confronted with a problem, think
“I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems.
I tried to make Sound Cloud songs embed automatically as well, but the way they process URLs is currently preventing that. Maybe I’ll send ’em an email – their service is pretty good so I assume that they are on the ball.
So now you can just Post a Youtube.com URL (like “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2-TGUlwu4”) and the video will be posted for you. ᵔᵜᵔ
Pretty neat, eh?
We think it’s Nyantastic!