Archive for the ‘project’ Category

The virtual chat room

October 7, 2011

There are too many social networks and too many ways to connect.  Institutions, like universities, might want all the chat to happen one way, inside their own platform – but this is never going to happen.  So how do you bring it all together?

There are applications out there that enable you to do this.  One of the better known would be Tweetdeck which enables you to manage conversations across Twitter and Facebook – or at least to read news streams from both sources and post back to both.  But does it really enable a facebooker to chat well with a tweeter?

It would be great to be able to make this kind of thing happen, and be able to plug it into a virtual learning environment – in a really neat, seamless way that provide a home or anchor for the conversation.   RSS feeds can provide the basic plumping (although not sure if they are responsive enough) with some Javascript to glue it together?  Go figure!


Finding a University

April 14, 2010

Why does finding a University have to be so hard?  With less than 200 to choose from in the UK and all that good data out there, surely it should be easy.

1) choose a subject area and course type

2) filter by the grades you are likely to get or other entry criteria

3) rank by what’s important to you (campus vs city, nightlife, culture, cost of living/studying, student satisfaction, employability, research …)

4) overlay with geography … and you’re done!

But it this what you get at sites like the Times online map or even a “value add” site like WhatUni, or heaven forbid UCAS!

Another golden mash-up opportunity!

Searching the Apple appStore

March 26, 2010

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to search the app store, and rank results by ratings or downloads or price? Apple controls all this for you and gives you one ranking, but it would be great for us to have control.

How about a quick app to:

  1. enter search criteria (key words + optional category)
  2. download current app Data from appStore XML feed
  3. select apps that match on basis of search criteria
  4. present list of apps to user
  5. go back to app store to pick up data for selected apps (asynchronously in background?)
  6. allow users to re-sort results by selected criteria

Wrinkles to this include:

  • how much data is available. Max rss feed is 300 items, but there are 20 categories + free/paid => 12000 items
  • how to manage data. Wouldn’t want to download rankings all the time => cache data
  • how to manage search. If users don’t select category, then could search across all cats (slow if real time) and use this to then drill down. But better to cache data
  • Apple probably wouldn’t like this! Bet they have something in T&C about not storing data, or even republishing it.

But would make a great web services project!

Apple RSS feed for top 300 social apps

p.s. someone has already had the same idea at Nice selection on the side, although their basic ranking is a bit flakey. Don’t know where they get their app data from.

Could also do the same using a Google search as source for initial search data: Q – Google Search returns approx 143,000 results, although you are stuck parsing HTML and Google does not like simple programmatic access and would need to check/spoof headers/parameter values

Yahoo may be be better, e.g as this will return XML and is geared up as proper service. Or could use YQL if only could work out how to restrict search to a specific site…

Basic app page in the store has URL like