Coming to an iPhone near you…

After starting to work with sails.js, I’ve become addicted, and I’ve decided to build a mobile application based on this framework. This means, that the backend consists of Sails.js (which means node.js plus express.js) and MongoDB, and also a Redis store to handle session data and socket connections. Everything is hosted in the cloud: Heroku, Mongolab and Redis Cloud make up the backend. The front end is a CSS3 / HTML5 SPA (Single Page Application) built with Backbone.js, jquery and the latest Phonegap / Cordova release.

Why is it important to mention that this app runs the latest Phonegap release? Because this one has the brand new support for Firefox OS. It should be quite easy to create a bundled app for my Firefox OS phone from that too.

But the app itself is not only a technology showcase, it also has a real world application: let’s call it “anonymous dating by profile pictures”, even if that sounds a bit contradictional at first. The process is simple: you register  using Facebook Connect and the app will immediately pull in your latest profile pictures, friends and likes via the Facebook Graph API. After that it starts searching people nearby – preferably searching women, if your gender is male and searching men, if your gender is female. But you can change this at anytime in your settings, as well as the radius for your search.

The people that are found, are shown to you as a polaroid like picture that you can swipe to the left to “dislike” and swipe to the right to “like”. But no worries: nobody will now your decision. Only if the other person likes you too, you will get a message that you have a match and can start a conversation via the apps chat function.

As simple as it sounds, this app has put some serious technological challenges on me. Especially the 1:1 chat function, which uses socket.io (via sails.js) had to be combined with a push notification system. This means that the client (aka the app) has to listen to push notifications and the server should send push messages to a cross platform service (puship.com) when certain events occur.

Experimenting and having to write my own server side code to serve messages to puship.com killed a day or two, but now it’s up and running and really giving me a blast (even if there are only family members using the app for now).

Anyway, here are some screenshots and don’t be amazed if a couple of things look familiar ;-). And, btw, the name of the app is “jigglr”. If you want to apply for the beta, just let me know in the comments.

 

iphone_white_jigglr_swipe iphone_white_jigglr_match iphone_white_jigglr_chat

sails-people

Everything you always wanted JavaScript to be and that you never dared to ask for: sails.js, the production ready realtime MVC framework for Node.js

If your brain ticks the way mine does, you’re always interested in and fascinated by new technologies, but NOT for technology sake. For me technology has to fulfill a higher purpose, which means that it must make sense to build products with it that rock!

For a long time I’ve been hesitant to build a full scale application with node.js, even if there’s much buzz about it for quite a while. But this hesitation has come to an end with sails.js!

sails-logo

The idea behind this “Realtime MVC Framework for Node.js” is just awesome – at least for me, who’s coming from a long background of OOP PHP development. If you’ve ever worked with frameworks like CodeIgniter or Zend, you’ll feel immediately familiar with sails: you’ll find a file structure that is self explaining and can just start coding as if you’ve never done something different than node.js programming before. It’s just that cool!

But wait, there’s more: this framework not only makes you forget about the dos and dont’s of professional JavaScript development by “taking you by the hand” (and leading you to developers wonderland), but it also your magic tool for creating instant REALTIME applications and using them just as you’re used to with standard REST requests! Sails is built on Node.js, Connect, Express, and Socket.io and integrates everything smoothly into a perfect bundle.

If you’re still not convinced, feed your brain with a couple of these fantastic tutorials from Irl Nathan – in his youtube videos he guides you all through the development of a professional application step by step, from installation to the programming of realtime updates.

Go, give it a whirl! :-)

To blog or not to blog

Blogging? Blogging… Blogging!

Yes, I’m starting all over again. I just can’t help myself. But this time everything will be different (and better)… 😉

After running blogs about OpenId and Social Media from 2006 until they died silently, I will not focus on one particular technology topic anymore. This time I’m gonna write about whatever comes to my mind, whatever I find interesting – technologically or otherwise.

And I won’t punish myself when I haven’t written a post for a week or two. Without any pressure I hope blogging will be fun for a long, long time.

Even more, in this personal blog I’m not gonna focus solely on coding, tools or technological trends, but I’m also gonna publish blank, fresh and sometimes bold ideas. These ideas might not always be well conceived or reasoned end-to-end, but I’d really like to push things out in the wild sometimes, just to listen to other peoples thoughts about it.

So let’s go – I hope you’ll enjoy!