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JetPack Summary 2011

So popped open my emails on January 1st to find an email from JetPack. JetPack being a collection of plugins from WordPress to install on Self hosted blogs, that among other things includes a stat tracker.

The email in question was something that JetPack had automatically generated as an Annual Report on views of my blog.

You can see mine here.

Quite an interesting read, and I’m not really surprised that my some of my most popular posts are from 2010, really just means I need to blog more. (Hence really the reason for writing a blog entry about it, since I do aim to post more now)

But the most interesting thing of all, is the little Fireworks jQuery plugin, which WordPress have also released as open source for others to use and play with. Included on the review page includes a nice little stats/current plugin output to show you how effective/how well its all running.

My Google Chrome is currently scoring 4%, but my iPad safari clocks in at 30% (but then I do have a lot of tabs open right now).

It’s a nice way to review your blog from the year, so it you are running JetPack, its worth a read.

But it is really just a bit of a sales gimmick when you get to the bottom and see what WordPress has planned.
Looks like its going a bit more Tumblr-y. We shall see

My Leeds Hack 2 Project

Thought I would write a blog post about what I built in 24 hours for Leeds Hack 2 last weekend. I kinda got distracted last week and not had the time to write this post.

You can look at all the projects that people finished over on the Leeds Hack Website.

So what did I write

I decided to write something that I had been pondering about for a while. It’s called Spotify Roulette and revolves around the idea of crowd sourcing a new artist or area of music to listen to.

Originally it started off with me posting on Twitter quite a while back asking for something new to listen to, to which @Stanton responded with Hybrid. (I can’t find the original tweet on twitter but it’s here on Spotwitfy) Which are actually quite nice to listen to and I have a nice Spotify playlist to listen to.

I was wondering if there was a way to automate this.

So thru the combination of the Twitter and Spotify Meta Data API’s, means I can post out to Twitter, await a response, parse out the Artist and then pop open Spotify with a random track by that Artist and if the requester wants a playlist can be generated, and thru a limitation in Spotify, drag and dropped into Spotify to listen further to the Artist.

In short

In short its pretty straight forward.
Just a handful of calls to a couple of different API end points to get an Artist ID from the name, then their albums and the tracks on these albums. Chuck in a little GeoIP to hopefully check the tracks are available in the requesters’ region.
Grab the first track, pop open Spotify and grab another 10 tracks to make a playlist.

Finally I used Nerf Guns to help demo! Russian Roulette stylee.

Responses

People on Twitter can either response with text, an artist which we parse out the @user and the hashtag word. Then look that up on Spotify.
Or a response can be either an HTTP open Spotify link or a Spotify protocol link. Either to the artist page, track or album.
if it’s the Artist, I can parse out the artist ID and look for albums and tracks.
Currently not playlist urls, but that’s easy to implement.

Technology

So we used,

  • Twitter API, using @Abraham Twitter oAuth Library
  • Spotify Meta Data API
  • MaxMind GeoIP
  • jQuery and jQuery UI
  • Rick Astley
  • Nerf Guns

Give it a Go

Give it a go and offer me some feedback.
Watch out for Rick Astley tho. He likes to crop up every now and again….

It’s still a little rough round the edges in terms of theme/layout.

Spotify Roulette (http://spotifyroulette.com/)

Future

Hopefully if people like it and use it I can expand further.

Perhaps use Facebook to share playlists, or another way to crowd source a new artist. And if Spotify release a HTTP API for generating and saving playlists then incorporate that too.

SOLD and All Change!

So I left my job at Vanguard SEO as the start of this year for two reasons, one got a better job offer, and two the company went bankrupt. Not very lolworthy.


Anywho, I have been contracting for NewMedias, as a PHP Developer, since September Freelance style, and more 9-5 contracting during January and then NewMedias overlord Apeei, sold the company for mere bananas to CodingFutures, and then they offered me a job, so there I am now as a PHP Developer! And now we are nearly at the end of week two of my new job.


This week we had some nice photos done heres me and the rest of the team!

So these days I find myself working on YourMembers a WordPress plugin for Subscription and post control among other things. As well as the plugins for it. I built from the ground up YSS – Your Secure Stream, which can create links with expiry for Amazon S3 Hosted content, so people who use WordPres can provide Audio and Video, whilst protecting that content too! It plugs in to FlowPlayer and Longtails JWPlayer, some of the more commonly used players.

This week I’ve been working on the Mail/AutoResponder Plugin. Its been going well and should hopefully be finished soon 😀

Thru my work I’ve been getting to know WordPress more and the most useful link I’ve found today, is how to integrate TinyMCE, the Visual/HTML editor for WordPress, into your own Plugins. I’ve expanded on some of the code from the second link for the Visual/HTML editor switch, in order to handle multiple instances of TinyMCE on a page, as well as the core code. Mainly since the page I am using TinyMCE on, is generated thru a Form Generation Class I didn’t write and should at some point redo, its a nice class but has some interesting caveats and limitations. Let along the fact I havn’t managed to get WordPress using my usual jQuery DateTime Picker I like, since WordPress uses a old version of jQuery and jQuery UI, and if you load latest, its gonna break someone else’s plugin, installed on a client site, and to top it all WordPress loads the jQueryUI CSS for the latest version for Google CDN.

On a side note using Google CDN’s jQuery is very good and better, check this link for reasoning, and this one for implementation (in general not just WordPress).

I think the key point for using Google Code hosted jQuery, is that pages will load quicker, since more domains mean more open HTTP connections, as browsers limit the connections open to a single domain at once. About 6 according to the reasoning link, so more domains means more open HTTP connections which means pages can load more quickly. Let alone the fact that if everyone loads from Google Code, then its cached on the users machine, which means from site a to site b, on site b, user doesn’t have to load jQuery as its already in the Cache. Thus making page loads quicker!

Still need to find a link explaining how to use the WordPress collapse a box, that all the WP-Admin grey bars and boxes do. I have built my own function in jQuery to do it, but it doesn’t (yet) have the cookie elements that WordPress’es own has to remember which are open/closed when the page reloads. Since seem there is no easy documented way on how to use the in built functionality.

Either that or I’ve missed it.

Also lately been working with the MailChimp API, had to laugh at the URL: http://apidocs.mailchimp.com/rtfm/.

On that bomb shell, catch you later, I’ve felt like I’ve rambled on a lot when this post was looking quite short…. Must blog more. Keep an eye on my Tumblr for more real time snippets of stuff, I’m assuming you already follow me on Twitter…..

Some Random Useful Things

Some random useful things:

Twitter, is scrapping Basic Auth! Which means no more simple curl calls, its on to OAuth.

Check out http://dev.twitter.com/pages/basic_to_oauth for how to update your Apps/Usage, and http://countdowntooauth.com/ for a handy countdown.

In other twitter news, I use Notifo to forward my twitter replies to my iPhone, which uses Push.ly to grab the stream. Twitter has currently borked @Replies both in apps and on the website, however Notifo announced they have updated their website with a new design, (hurrah), and a desktop client (further hurrah).
So with my mac and growl I now get Growl @ Responses….. SUCCESS!

Thats enough twitter! I was linked in a random IRC channel to http://jsfiddle.net/, which is a sort of real time code and run/test interface for several different javascript libs, including MooTools, and jQuery. Its currently in Alpha and under “heavy development”, so far I have found it quite useful, since it saves a lot of time in prototyping something. Looking forward to when they add user accounts, will be easier to track my own fiddles, heres the 5th version of me fiddling with jQuery UI tabs yes it has basic version control!

Facebook next, came across this today: http://developers.facebook.com/roadmap pretty much nails the coffin shut on FBML and suggests that we will all be using iFrames instead….

Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, since iFrames are not always the most secure of things, but will make sending more upto date stuff to a Facebook page easier. And no longer stuck with Facebook caching, which in itself is a useful thing….

Also they are moving to a larger oauth setting with the use of oauth version 2! And scrapping their Rest API.

So there is a lot of change going on within two of the larger things I have been involved with (in terms of building things for clients), so in this vein when is the Last.FM api moving to oAuth too, tho it does use a token based Auth now?!

I’m gonna need to do a lot of recoding/refactoring for things that use FBML and basic Auth….

Is oAuth the future for all API’s? What do you think?

Edit:

O and I am going to invest in one of these!

Summer

So that middle part of Summer has been a bit sucky. So we shall skip all that, don’t really want to go into it….

Now things are better!

I lost my mac for a week and a half, hard drive failed, followed by back for two hours, followed by hard drive fail.
In the end Clockwork (Leeds Apple Care), replaced the drive and the drive’s cable, and shes all good now!

I’m off to Moor Fest next week, I’m doing the lighting for the Green Room, with Chamsys and whatever fixtures I get given, learnt some useful things from their Chamsys Guide for that matter, (and I fixed up the tab box on the home page for them!) Nice bit of jQuery!

Made a shoutbox for Halo3Wheelmen its hosted on 360gaming.net so had to do a lot of fudging and built a mini phpBB api to get user/ban data out of the forum, its all built in jQuery and PHP, jQuery makes ajax stuff, and append/prepend so much easier than pure javascript.


Job wise I am still waiting to hear back from Firebox.com, but it looks like I shall be staying in Leeds for another year at least, being a Venue Tech, which should, with the new boss, hopefully lead to more external work, but I shall still be working as a freelance web developer. Tho there have been some interesting local jobs come up on the GeekUp jobs Board. (I need to start going to GeekUp again….)

In that vein I currently have a bit of work on building a Asset/Event Manager for LUU Events, details on that to follow, but as a project it keeps me out of trouble, since Google fell thru.

Hopefully I should be getting back into modding phpBB which is even easier now since they now use GitHub to host their repository, so I’m gonna have to get to grips with forks, and loading parent data into the child repo…. (If that makes sense).

So essentially things are busy, not perfect but good. Could be better could be worse…

Hopefully at some point I will get around to doing a Carlyon CMS release candidate, tho I am thinking I need to rip out my CSS boilerplate and thus the relevant core html template files, we shall see.

In other news, I now have completely new graphics for 360gaming [dot] net, I was approached and offered the services of O Sheep Dip, and now I have graphics! Woot!
360gaming.net now has a HogBall league tracker on top of the 1v1 challenger system, tho no one has tested it yet, and I only have the one team, people don’t seem interested…

Tho there is a BTBhub on the way, it was suggested to me that building a BTB league is the way to go, and now I have the core Bungie Code checker, and with the advent of Reach, its data API (POTATO!) and of course, its massive ForgeWorld, the future is bright for Halo and 360gaming.net, now all I need is to find more games with similar developer offerings, and getting myself access to the true Xbox API……

So that summarizes the later part of summer… O and Katie is now home.

Also checkout my tumbleblog

Catch you after Moor Fest, (which will be my first ever festival, I’ve never been to one, and now the first one I am going to is also going to be my first external lighting job….)

Off to watch Sherlock on BBC1

And Happy Birthday to Kayleigh (The GirlFriend) 🙂