Celebrity Freebie List - Sunday

Released! An update for you folks mid-week would have been good. But there was so much work to do and so little to show that I kept putting it off until I had a reasonable demo. Next time I'll make sure to post a mid-week update with at least some screen shots of Eclipse so you don't think I've been slacking off. The first version went live last night and I fixed a few minor bugs with usability this morning. To be successful I need you folks out there to help me by using it yourselves. You'll help me out even more by sharing your list on twitter and facebook.

Go have fun!

A few things that went better than expected
  • Google App Engine is free up until a certain threshold. The limitations are worth it if you're willing to limit yourself to GQL and Java or Python.
  • Google App Engine has some great getting started documents and an eclipse plugin that makes a lot of this pretty easy. I wish they had more than just the one tutorial but I was able to get where I needed to go by reading the documentation.
  • As I developed the app I kept adding additional features to my todo list. By Saturday I was feeling pretty good that the app not only did what I originally planned by exceeded my initial expectations.
  • Internet Explorer is an "insulting abortion of FAIL" according to a friend of mine who I occasionally turn to for technical questions. I've got to say that I agree with him. I spent roughly 25% of the week dealing with IE specific javascript and styling issues.
  • Google Query Language, they say you get what you pay for. The query language has some quirks that make doing anything database heavy very difficult. For example say I want all of the db entries for celebrities where their name starts with "Ann" sorted by rank. A MySQL statement would look like this. "SELECT * FROM Celebs WHERE name LIKE 'ann%' ORDER BY rank;". Unfortunately GQL doesn't have a like operator. So it becomes this "SELECT * FROM Celebs WHERE name >= 'ann' && name < 'anm';". Also you can't sort by a field that isn't used in an inequality operator and you can't have more than one field used with an inequality operator. Which means we can't order by rank. Not a big deal, it just means extra code to sort it yourself.
  • I had a lot of issues putting together a design that I thought looked good. I lack the CSS and layout skills necessary to even rip off other designs out there. Hopefully this becomes less of an issue over the next few months as I work on more web apps.
Features Missed
  • A Facebook App was purposefully omitted since it didn't make sense and didn't integrate into facebook. I might expand the app later and turn the list into something more collaborative as a follow up project.
  • Google AdSense requires you enter in your URL to signup. Which I didn't have until I released the app last night. I've put in a request for review and should hopefully get approved Tuesday or Wednesday.