Friend Boost - Saturday

Released! I need to do a little more testing to ensure email delivery works. But overall it's ready to go and be used. The concept is simple, you login with your facebook credentials, you're presented with a list of your friends. You select how often you'd like to contact them and optionally opt-in to the email reminder service. It's small, simple and I hope useful to the folks out there like myself that can't stay in touch with friends.

Go manage those relationships!

A few things that went better than expected
  • Heroku has a freemium business model. The free plan, which I'm using, allows a single concurrent HTTP connection and a 5Mb database. If you're looking for more than one concurrent connection the prices jump up significantly. I imagine I'll switch to a Linode instance as soon as I get enough traffic to warrant it.
  • SendGrid provides a decent SMTP host and they also have a freemium model. The free plan includes 200 emails per day. After that the prices are quite reasonable.
  • As mentioned on Friday, I'm not terribly happy with the design but I do think my design and layout skills are slowly improving.
  • Scope decreased dramatically early on as I realized no one wanted to click a hundred boxes every week to signify whether they had been in touch with someone.
  • Perhaps I just need to work with more frameworks but starting from scratch with rails is a pain if you don't know where you're going. Rails does so much behind the scenes that it feels like an uphill battle as soon as I want to go beyond the basic scaffolding.
Features Missed
  • Unfortunately Facebook doesn't allow you to send private messages to users. So I had to implement an email service instead of something internal to facebook. Not terribly but I would have liked to avoid collecting emails and then setting up SendGrid.
  • Facebook also doesn't allow you to collect phone number information. Which means any sort of VOIP integration wasn't an option.