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Eran's blog

Mini Project: Where Are You Camping?

I did not think I could create a useful and interesting Rails application in 24 hours. I was wrong.

Where are you camping is a simple web application designed to help you track where all your friends are camping at Burning Man this year. It is small, focused and simple but even the initial version of the application achieved its goals pretty well. I started working on this one Thursday night and by Friday night the site was already up and running under the domain I purchased earlier that day.

Features:

  • Post information about yourself.
  • Post information about your camp.
  • Join/Leave a camp.
  • See camp description and members.
  • AJAX-y filtering of camp and user lists.
  • Mark people as ‘favorites’ (added in second version)
  • Print list of ‘favorited’ users and their camps (also added in ver. 2)

Plenty of thought went into making the site as simple as possible so that more users find it accessible. I considered waving registration and simply using cookies but then opted for simple registration. Another time consuming aspect was the UI. I’m no Javascript/AJAX wizard but thanks to RoR and Scriptaculous I managed to throw in some nice UI elements like the dynamic list filtering and sorting.

If I ever needed it, this is yet another proof that Ruby and Rails save you from wasting time reinventing the wheel (or importing every library since the invention thereof) and let you spend more time concentrating on the important things.

PS. All that said, the site is still very much in alpha. If you like it, hate it or if you came across any problems, please let me know.

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Filed under: Projects

Yet Another Social Whatever

Marshall Kirkpatrick at Techcrunch writes about blue dot (yet another social bookmarking service):

The basic premise of the system is that users can tag items into their online archives and befriend other users to share access to part or all of their items saved. The real differentiation, however, is found in the feature set.

(Emphasis added)

Actually no, it isn’t. Not when your product is yet another clone of a 3 year old concept. Not when your features are barely a step ahead of your well entrenched and well funded competition. Definitely not when your simple improvements can be copied in a couple days of work. The barrier of entry into the YASW world is not features, it’s users. In case that’s not clear enough, let me say it in cliché form:

It’s about the users, stupid.

Filed under: The Net