Posts filed under: Coding
I’ve been busy adding some AJAX code to a new album/playlist module for Drupal. Since this is the first time I have really worked with the XMLHttpRequest stuff, I was surprised at how adding these calls actually made my code a bit cleaner. I felt like I was really able to base my code on the actions my module was going to perform, and as a bonus, I basically have a RESTful interface to my module as well! I don’t know why I never really thought about it, but someone would have to work actively to not let AJAX-ing some code open up a web service. You’ve got to like it when technology that is chosen (primarily) for user interface reasons, comes bundled with a few nice architectural bonuses.
It seems like as AJAX adoption continues, we should see a corresponding increase in RESTful web services being offered.
“It’s been 10 years since Java started beating C++ in the mindshare game. Sure, C++ is still widely used, but it’s mindshare is small compared to Java. JavaOne this year they celebrated Java’s 10 year anniversary on stage with a big cake. It reminded me that C++ itself was 10 years old when Java came on the scene. Remember back: Java wasn’t as “good” as C++. It did less; it ran slower. Its sole advantage was simplicity — a language easier to write and deploy — and over time it got more featureful and faster. Ruby on Rails today looks poised to eat Java’s mindshare on the web tier. If not Rails, then something else. Empirically 10 years seems like the right point.”
Fellow Vancouverite Tim Bray has an interesting post about podcasting and the economic impact it will have on musicians. I agree with just about everything he says. Which is good, since the same ideas he discusses form the impetus for Bryght’s new musician focused web platform.
Tim suggests a subscription based podcast service, and this is one type of revenue generating solution Bryght plans to offer to musicians. I’ve said this before, but based on my own informal surveys, I think there are many musicians out there who might want to be free from the constraints of the album. As an artist, why not just release and sell a few tracks a month, delivered straight to your fans MP3 player through Podcasts?
One could argue that the very concept of the “album” is arbitrary and is simply an artifact of our current (and physical) distribution channels. In the past, an album has been a convenient way to get music to the people. Stores stocked high selling albums, due to limited shelf space. People came and bought them. But now, we are at an interesting time. Digital distribution channels have matured to the point where they will start to influence the art that people produce and consume. Music distribution technology influencing music? That’s right, it’s a two way street!
For example, the phonograph and radio drastically influenced the music that was produced, simply by creating new markets. Would 80’s rock bands have worn as much makeup if their faces weren’t being beamed via MTV to millions of homes?
Looking ahead, I think a post-album future filled with regular releases of individual tracks will be more then simply a sea of singles, and I can’t wait to find out what takes shape.
– Update –
Richard chimes in with some good thoughts
It is being reported in a few different places that the core developers for Mambo have split from Miro, the commercial entity that holds the Mambo copyright and trademark. The problems stem from how Miro set up the Mambo Foundation, particularily how they failed to consult many of the main developers.
In response, it seems that the Mambo development team is going to fork the open source project and go forth on their own, which certainly puts many members of the Mambo community in a tight spot.
Lessons for the Drupal community? Greed sucks, be open and transparent (especially when setting up a foundation), and play nice with others!
I just purchased 4 tickets to see Sigur Ros in Vancouver at the Orpheum. I fully expected to be gouged by the usual service charges, but even so, I was impressed with the audacity of Ticket Master.
Face Value of Actual Ticket - $35.00
Facility Charge - $1.75
Convenience Charge - $5.00
Processing Fee - $2.25
For four $35 tickets, one might expect to pay around 4 X $35 = $140, but when all the charges add up, I was billed $169.25! Before tax!
At Bryght, I have the enviable job of customizing Drupal for use on recording artists and record label web sites. One of the first things I wanted to do was to beef up audio support in Drupal, and so last week I was able to release the first version of the audio module. It can read and write ID3 tag information, can stream and download audio, and generates proper podcast-safe RSS enclosures. I am still working on adding support for iTunes RSS extensions, and cleaning up the code a bit, but it is working well on my site. Hopefully it will help others out there as well!
Everyone always agrees that user feedback is a good thing, but in a “Ship the product!” kind of world, it’s often left by the way side. Not so for the Robot Co-op. 43 Things, as well as 43 places have user feedback features built right into the application in an intuitive and attractive way.
It seems to work too! On his blog, Josh points to user suggestions and ideas that have already been implemented.
The effects of this are quite neat. I feel a “collective ownership” over the application that I otherwise would not have. It makes it seem as though the Robot Co-op are simply custodians of the interesting world they have created, and the community has the power to make decisions and shape the application.
Who thought user feedback could be so fun? Groundbreaking stuff…
I love the new basecamp-ish look of the blinksale accounting program. As a freelancer, I am horrible at keeping my billing straight, and this online application looks like a fantastic solution. The invoices are sharp and stylish, the interface is filled with AJAX goodness, iCal and RSS integration; What’s not to like?!
It seems like there are now a number of web applications whose feature set and usability levels rival (and surpass) those of their desktop competitors. I actually prefer the Gmail interface to that of many desktop email clients, and from my brief look at blinksale, it seems to be easier to use then many desktop accounting programs. Exciting times for web development!
So I have tried to automate my billing with blinksale this month, and have been unsuccessful. There was no place for me to enter my GST number, or any other additional fields that I required. Maybe I have to upgrade to the non-free account to accomplish this, but at this point I have lost my enthusiasm. Sigh… Back to Excel templates.
I like the ‘popular’ link that shows you the trendy tunes that everyone is posting about, but it would be cool to display additional stats (like how many blogs are posting about each song). I would also like to see a breakdown of each song, followed by a list of who is talking about it.
But all in all, a cool idea!