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Vincentt's avatar

Would my project be useful to you?

Asked by Vincentt (8054points) June 11th, 2008

At the moment I’m working very hard on a new project (trying to get a website online as we speak).

The idea is basically that it allows you to quickly create a personal website with all the data you already have out there. For example, it can automatically display the last pictures you uploaded to Flickr, what you voted for on Digg, your latest tweets on Twitter, your latest blog posts or even the latest questions on Fluther.

Now I know I’d like such software, but I’m wondering if there’s a target audience for it apart from myself. Do you think there is demand for this?* Does it perhaps already exist?

* I hope I’ve phrased this well, this question was flagged as self-promotional but I purposely did not link to or name the project so I hope you don’t interpret it as self-promotional. It wasn’t intended that way.

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74 Answers

waterskier2007's avatar

yeah I would like it and I think others would. Would it auto update when you updated the sites that it fed from. That would be cool.

Vincentt's avatar

Of course :)

paulc's avatar

I don’t know of any sites that do that and I think its a great idea! I’m not sure if I’d use it personally but I could see it being quite useful for some. Good luck with it.

ccatron's avatar

can’t you do most of this with iGoogle? using gadgets for iGoogle or using RSS feeds from those sites?

kevbo's avatar

I don’t think this is exactly what you’re talking about, but it’s in the same ballpark—Digsby

playthebanjo's avatar

Sweet…..can I be in the test group?

ccatron's avatar

here’s a screenshot of iGoogle with the feeds you described.

http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc46/thecatron/igoogle-1.jpg

I haven’t used Digg in months, but the feed I have on the left side shows last articles you commented on. The other Digg feed on the right side just shows the most recent articles to hit Digg.

The Twitter viewer shows your “tweets” and the people who you are following. The Fluther RSS feed shows the most recent questions…although it was a little behind when I took the screenshot. The Flickr feed can show the recent photos from any user that has public pictures.

I’m not trying to rain on your parade….Just showing you that you don’t have to “re-invent the wheel”! Anything you can get RSS feeds for can be displayed on http://iGoogle.com

edit: the Digg Comment reader is faulty because you have to enter a name of a user to view their comments each time you view the igoogle page.

row4food's avatar

Yeah, I use FriendFeed to collect all my accounts into one location.

richardhenry's avatar

Bearing in mind, a first mover advantage isn’t the only advantage. If you can make something faster, more streamlined and more intuitive than iGoogle and Friend Feed, you stand a good chance.

benseven's avatar

Sounds like friendfeed.

Could really take off though, good luck!

Vincentt's avatar

@kevbo – is Digsby a desktop application? If so, it’s not in my park at all :)

@ccatron – I don’t use iGoogle, but is your iGoogle page public? If so, I guess it’s similar.

FriendFeed looks similar, just like Plaxo Pulse and Mugshot.

I’m looking to differentiate on openness, however. As opposed to FriendFeed and Plaxo Pulse, my project is open source and can be installed yourself, at your own domain if you wish. This makes it a more personal website, allows you to theme it to your likings and install modules to support the services you prefer instead of waiting for the website to add support.

Do you guys think that’s differentiating enough? I know a lot of people don’t really care about the openness, like my brother, but I know he did greatly enjoy customizing his Wordpress installation. I really need a second opinion on this… :)

Oh, and as richardhenry says: the streamlined aspect is important to me too, as I’ve spent a lot of time into writing good code and I know it’s solid, so it’s easy to extend and will work pretty well.

richardhenry's avatar

Just make it really easy to do. For example, have an option to add sites in a batch, if you use the same username… just check the sites you want to add, with a big text field for the name that you use. Step two can be the remaining services that you don’t use the same username on. You get the idea.

richardhenry's avatar

Your project could parse the list of friends or contacts you have on the sites that are added, and then look them up on your project, automatically allowing you to follow them and find out what sites they use. That would be useful.

jballou's avatar

I had a really similar idea a few months ago and after talking to programmers and surveying the current state of the web, I decided to change course.

I do think the idea is good, but there are other social aggregaters out there that haven’t caught on so I think the key elements you should focus on are the things that make sites great- simplicity, ease of use, and design. You nail those elements, and your site will definitely develop a core user base.

Check out http://www.Mint.com they do what you’re trying to do, but with financial info, and they do it well.

willbrawn's avatar

I would totally go for that. And personal opinion is friendfeed is ugly and plain. Make it cool looking and easy to use and I’m in.

ccatron's avatar

@vincentt – you should check out igoogle. anybody can set up an account and there are a ton of what they call “gadgets” to use on your personal igoogle page.

Vincentt's avatar

@richardhenry – hmm, how do you see that? I.e. say I use the same username at Flickr, Digg, Twitter and whatnot, should I just add them all to a single page? I like the idea though, I’m going to breed on that for a bit :)

@jballou – so what if I market the “personal website” more strongly? The reason I don’t currently use a social aggregator but will use this is because I want a website “of my own”, and you don’t get that feeling with, say, FriendFeed.

@ccatron – I’ve checked it out in the past, but didn’t really like it as I got the impression that it was more like something to set as your homepage in your browser (and I already have that). Can you use iGoogle for a personal website to show others?

mirza's avatar

It sounds like a great idea but it seems like it has already been done. Soup.io does a pretty good job of combining all your online personas. But dont let that stop you. Social networking websites have been around for over 10 years now and yet facebook has gotten so popular because they simply perfected it.

Vincentt's avatar

@mirza – that looks nice. Do you also use that as a personal website? And I suppose it doesn’t let you host it yourself, does it?

ccatron's avatar

@vincentt – not that I know of…but I wouldn’t necessarily want other people to view my personal feeds. they can look at their own. I guess I’m not sure what you’re trying to do.

Vincentt's avatar

@ccatron – good, let me try to explain it clearly because obviously I won’t extract users if I can’t explain the idea :).

Basically, the target audience is “people who want to create a personal website but already have a lot of information about themselves online”. For example, I’ve been posting a lot of my images on 23, I’ve got various blogs and have the music I listen to aggregated on Last.fm.

Now, I want a website to represent me. However, instead of creating yet another online profile, I just combine everything I already have online.

So I’d set up my software (which shouldn’t be too difficult) and start adding “blocks”. So I’d first add an image stream that posts the, say, five latest pictures I’ve uploaded to 23 (this could also be e.g. Flickr). Then I add another block that can read RSS feeds. I use that to display the, say, ten latest blog posts from all the blogs I have. Then I could add a Last.fm block which displays my favourite tracks this week in the footer. And there you have it: a personal website just for me :)

If anything’s not clear yet, please ask as refining my explanation is very valuable.

@Mirza – I’m playing around with soup.io right now and it looks very cool :)

mirza's avatar

@vincentt: nope. I dont really have a personal website – I just use facebook for personal use. I simply use soup.io to combine the popular web services I use. It doesnt let you host it yourself and i sort of like that since its so much easier but it does let you use your own domain name.

But if you really want to make a popular personal site, try tumblr. Its mainly a micro-publishining service, but you can add any feeds to it like flickr, last.fm,digg,etc.

ccatron's avatar

@vincentt – ok, that makes more sense now, thanks. igoogle doesn’t do this. it’s only viewable by the user who logs into igoogle.

Vincentt's avatar

@mirza – so what do you do with the combined popular webservices? Tumblr has a limit of just importing five feeds and, like every other similar service I know of right now, has the limitation of depending on the website to support the sites you like to use.

Anyway, thanks everybody who has answered up til now, every single contribution has been very valuable.

jlm11f's avatar

to answer the initial question, yes i could see myself trying your site.

mirza's avatar

@vincent: to be completely honest, I have no idea. Its just there just because I like the whole idea behind it. I mostly just use my tumblelog to spread whatever I want and since it has a decent amount of subscribers it seems perfect.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Sounds awesome Vincentt i would love something like this. Look forward to using it when you get it out. ^_^

Bri_L's avatar

I just want to say how fricken cool every respondant is on this post. Very supportive, informative and encouraging. That rocks!
I don’t actually use the services that your project combine but I sure would ask to be included if I did. Best of luck bud!

Vincentt's avatar

@mirza – OK, thanks :)

@Bri_L – exactly! I’ve never seen such good answers, even on Fluther :)

Anyway, those services I mentioned were just examples. Which services are you using? Of course I want to support as many services as possible :)

breanne's avatar

You might want to check out Multiply

Vincentt's avatar

Thanks breanne, but that looks more like an all-in-one service, i.e. a replacement for all the blogging-, photo-sharing-, video-sharing-, etc.-websites, isn’t it?

Skyrail's avatar

Sounds good, I’d probably use it. What language will you develop it in, I presume you will be using numerous API’s available out there. I’m interested more on the development side but wouldn’t mind trying it out either :)

Vincentt's avatar

It’s multilingual, default English :)

If you mean programming language: PHP. (Don’t worry, the “good”/OOP way ;-)).

I’m trying to get developer docs out there asap :)

richardhenry's avatar

I think Skyrail is talking about services such as the Digg or (upcoming) Fluther data access APIs?

Skyrail's avatar

PHP is a good language to use as it is very versitile and yes, with the APIs many sites have numerous ones from Digg to Last.fm. It’s all very interesting although I have never worked with APIs much myself I do know one or two people who use them frequently and have handled them before. It’s something that I should look into one day :) and once the dev-docs are released I’d more then willing to look at them :)

Vincentt's avatar

Yep, I’m making heavy use of API’s (as that’s the only safe way to retrieve the content, if you start HTML scraping then a minor change to the HTML can screw everything up).

For example, I’ve already implemented the Flickr API, and since 23 also uses that API you can also use that to retrieve photos from there.

The best API is RSS, however. Using RSS alone I can already display the latest Fluther questions (unfortunately Fluther doesn’t (yet) provide feeds per user), the latest dugg/submitted stories on Digg, and so on. The possibilities are endless :)

Skyrail's avatar

Ah RSS feeds, another possibly under used but brilliant API type system. I look forward to seeing the results :)

Vincentt's avatar

SecondBrain also looks very much aimed at managing for yourself instead of creating a personal website. And it looks an awful lot like Twitter :)

MrBlogger's avatar

I would love this. Its actually pretty similar to friendfeed. Well I would use it. Give it a nice look too! :)

Bri_L's avatar

I like the idea of this. I just don’t like putting my personal stuff up where others could get at it. would that be a part of your service?

Vincentt's avatar

@Bri_L – well, the main idea is that you fetch your personal stuff from other websites. So if you’re fine with putting your pictures up on Flickr, you can have them automatically displayed on a website powered by my project. I’ve also currently written a blog module, so you could add a weblog to the site – you choose yourself how personal you make it.

But yeah, the general target audience is one that doesn’t really matter having other people see their pictures, what music they’re listening to, etc.

By the way, for those interested, I’m still working hard on the project :). I might even do a first alpha-release in a month or two, but that’ll have a lot of features still missing.

Bri_L's avatar

@ Vincentt – I love it!

PIXEL's avatar

Is the website done. I’m very interested in seeing it.

Vincentt's avatar

PIXEL – I’m still working very hard on it.

It’s great that you’re showing interest. I made a demo video that demonstrates where it was 6 October, but of course it has improved some more since (e.g. you don’t have the odd module names in the admin interface as shown in the video).

I’m also currently using it on Vinnl.nl, which will someday be my real website. However, I’m still waiting for the new version of Debian (which is what the webserver runs on) because the current one includes an old version of PHP that it officially doesn’t work on.

My guess is that it won’t take too long (say, one or two months) to release a first package for people to give a try, but that’s really pre-alpha quality.

Oh, also, it currently isn’t that feature-rich. Thus, the main way to retrieve content from other websites is through RSS (which does work great for a lot, though, e.g. Last.fm data, latest Shouts on Twitter/Identi.ca, etc.). However, it does broadcast a lot of the original content (e.g. several Microformats are already implemented, and RSS feeds are of course published as well).

PIXEL's avatar

Well good luck! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. Looking forward to your website.

asmonet's avatar

I would use it. I really hate having to individually check, fluther, myspace and facebook, etc.. If something like tha existed and I could log into it easily and see everything laid out I’d dig it. Especially if as you said it was open source. Maybe have the option of moving things like facebook, customizing it like myspace (sadly it will be abused) and the clean simple look of fluther and also the personal versus public profiles? Of course if it was open source those things would probably crop up eventually. New friends and contacts could get all the info they needed in one place. I know a bunch of times I’ve had to give myspace, facebook and emails all separately and been annoyed. If it was malleable and attractiveI would be more inclined to use it. And funnily enough I think in all honesty it would increase my use of those other sites by giving me a one stop portal.

I didn’t read everything up top so maybe my thoughts are nothing special but I’m all fluthered out and gonna fall asleep any second.

You should give us special beta invites when it goes up, I’m greedy

Vincentt's avatar

@asmonet – I could quickly package something up you could try, if you’d like. However, this is (atm) self-hosted, so you need to have a capable server and invest some effort, so you’re probably best off waiting ;-)

Do note that it’s not really meant as something for you to check up on your different profile pages (there are websites for that, though not open source), but to present all your different profile pages on one websites to other people.

I’m definitely not counting on stuff cropping up eventually, as it also needs to be popular, but I’m aiming for it to be very malleable :)

asmonet's avatar

Right, well if it could present it to other people it could certainly present those profiles to me. :)

If I had any more time in my life at the moment I would, but as it is, I think I will have to wait. Fluther and WoW take up all my spare computer time at this point. :) But keep me in mind when it does launch, I’d love to see it.

Vincentt's avatar

You can expect me to mention it in this question ;-)

jlm11f's avatar

have you seen this site? http://www.chi.mp/ isn’t it the same idea as what you are doing? or no?

PIXEL's avatar

@PnL Yeah I saw that post too. Maybe it is Vincentts website! Can I please have an invite? :)

richardhenry's avatar

@PnL: Looking forward to Chimp. Acquiring first-bid rights on an entire TLD was a great move.

Vincentt's avatar

Hadn’t seen it, looks neat. I’ve signed up for a beta code and subscribed to their blog, perhaps they’ll give me some good ideas or perhaps they’ll even make me give up the project :P

richardhenry's avatar

@Vincentt: Take a good look at what Chimp are doing. At the end of the day, you should be making this because it’s something you want.

It’s easier to build a great product when you’re part of the target demographic.

If you don’t enjoy Chimp immensely, then have a good think about what you can do better and then work like crazy.

Good luck :)

Vincentt's avatar

@richardhenry – don’t worry, I will ;-) (I do think the builders of chi.mp are also part of the demographic :)

And of course, if anybody here gets into chi.mp, any comments would also be appreciated here ;-)

Oh, and in researching chi.mp I also found DiSo, which also look very exciting on first sight. This is really cool :D

richardhenry's avatar

@Vincentt: I’ll see if I can send you some screenshots and post some stuff here. I’ve been on the list for a while so I should be on one of the upcoming rounds.

jlm11f's avatar

I made my chi.mp account yesterday. I was expecting to be able to access my FB wall, etc there. But that’s not the case, it’s more of a dump of “all about you” from all the sites you choose. Your contacts from the major social networking sites, including Gmail, your RSS feeds, your uploaded FB photos, and your twits etc. I am still getting used to it, but it’s interesting for sure.

Vincentt's avatar

@PnL – I got a chi.mp invite too yesterday, but I’m still doubting what I’ll use as domain – vinnl.mp or pi.mp :P.

Vincentt's avatar

OK, apparently pi.mp was taken (too bad :P) so it’s vinnl.mp. I have yet to form an opinion.

richardhenry's avatar

@Vincentt Why is that even a question?! Of course you would take pi.mp if it was available.

jlm11f's avatar

haha. lurve for pi.mp. Okay, once you figure it out, let me know, since I have some questions about that site!

Vincentt's avatar

I find it to be terribly confusing! I’ve set up several links to some of my accounts but still nothing is showing up on my page. And I set up a different avatar somewhere but I have no idea where that is showing up. What’s your .mp?

jlm11f's avatar

Yep, I am having similar trouble. link

Vincentt's avatar

I managed to display my stuff: click “Edit my profile” on your page, then “Content Items” above from where you can enable the stuff you added before.

And I have to say… I find the design not that pretty. And I’d like to be able to add more services and restructure the page in general. Thus, it doesn’t give you as much control as my project, but I have been inspired – I’m going to add an action stream module that will be utilised by the other modules. It might sound a bit vague here, but I’m excited :)

jlm11f's avatar

aww man. tra.mp is still open. richie, you should get that one :)

and i was curious to see who has pi.mp, and no one seems to have it, maybe there is a minimum letter limit?

PIXEL's avatar

Is it ready yet? :)

Vincentt's avatar

@PIXEL Life’s getting in the way :( It’s still my top priority project, but I’m not that into programming anymore, and I’ve taken up a lot of other things in my life. The source code is available but it still needs some rewriting. I’m still excited about the project but somebody needs to kick me to get some work done :P

jlm11f's avatar

kicks Vincentt

LuhvKiller's avatar

That would be awesome…not sure how you would be able to tell if that exists already. But i do know on Myspace you can update ur myspace mood and it will automatically update facebook and twitter, but you have to sign up for it. But that would take alot to tie all those in together.

Vincentt's avatar

Hmm, I really can’t get myself to work on it anymore… Though I’m looking into getting a job that involves programming, maybe that will help to get me back into it. Until then it’s on hold :(

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