Yesterday I released a pet project I had been working on called Smipple. Smipple is a service for saving, organizing, and sharing snippets of code. I originally decided to create it because I was a user of Snipplr but I was frustrated because it was slow and hard to use and the XML-RPC api was buggy. There didn't seem to be much response from the author or changes to the website either.
So from there I decided that I would create it as a challenge because I had wanted to create an actual website that people could use including implementation and marketing (there's no point to creating it if people don't use it) on appengine. I thought that there weren't many sites utilizing appengine that were used broadly and wanted to try and create one.
Smipple is the result of about of about two months of solid part-time development in my free time streched over about 6 months. Much of that was attempting to design the website myself, eventually giving up and having a proper designer design the site, and reintegrating the new design. This was also my first real appengine project so there were many things I had to learn along the way such as how to denormalize the data but at the same time be able to keep it in a somewhat consistent state in the case of failures. Dealing with how to save the the social network and create the dashboard were also interesting. I'll talk about these in later blog posts.
Smipple was originally conceptualized as a social code sharing site that would utilize Open-Social application with my friend Takashi Matsuo. But it became hard to visualize how we would integrate users from different networks and whether what I wanted to achieve could really be done with Open Social. After that an Open Social application was put on hold and the site itself was created which would eventually allow users from various sites by virtue of Smipple having it's own social network and importing their contacts from existing sites (a feature that wasn't actually finished at launch).
Smipple is still missing many features that I thought needed to be on the site but I had already taken too much time with it and wanted to release it early to get user feedback. Wasting more time on what I thought was important wasn't an option anymore. So far that has worked out I think as there is some good feedback on Smipple's feedback forum. Smipple so far has recieved a fair amount of criticism for it's lack of features but I hope to resolve those quickly as I know what features people are wanting and what priority to attach to them.
I'll be updating Smipple often as it has been pretty exciting to get feedback about the service. I didn't really put a "beta" label on Smipple but it can certainly be though of as "beta" in terms of number of features and how much work needs to be done on the site. I hope you stick around as Smipple grows.
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