Since the latest sobees release, we focused our development on sobees community services. At the end of March, friendfeed published their API. So we naturally decided to integrate this service into our community, resulting in a quick increase of available services for friendfeed users. It will be part of sobees' next release due for Web2.0 Expo (we will be in the “Long Tail Pavilion”, if you plan to be there, we count on your visit).
After having integrated friendfeed into the sobees community, we decided to build a module providing “friendfeed’s friends'” activities (sobees' community only displays sobees’ friends' activities). The constraints were, of course, the existing sobees platform and design. After one week of development, testing and few design adaptations due to the number of information to manage, the module was ready. Beside a release inside sobees, we also decided to release it as a standalone module for the following reasons:
- We are very interested in getting feed-backs on sobees' design and functionalities; since sobees is early stage closed beta preview, we cannot invite all of you to try it. For this reason we decided to only launch 1-2 stand alone modules to get more inputs.
- There are a lot of expectations for a friendfeed desktop application. Since we had the module ready, we decided to launch it.
- The module can evolve very quickly and efficiently, while sobees needs more resources. This gives us the possibility to be more reactive to your feed-backs (for instance we can propose new skins more easily and then implement the ones you like best into sobees).
- Our first focus is sobees, we want to position it as a mainstream application. Thus the modules we build are designed for mainstream users rather than geeks.
- The design has not been optimized for friendfeed, we implemented friendfeed in sobees' design with all constraints (sobees' windows sizes and styles). Up to now, we had mainly feeds, widgets, twitter and DIGG. The design was providing a good experience. Based on this module, we have noted some corrections/enhancements we will deliver in the coming weeks.
- We are working with friendfeed API. It consists of a very well-structured feed but there were some trade-offs to be made. An example: the friend list is not provided, that’s why we read the list in the feed and provide the list based on this. This will evolve with friendfeed API evolution.
- And finally we are proud of some technical achievements: reduction of development time, the skin is not just a color change, the pictures are presented nicely in the tray, the updates are very quick (based on Link technology which makes .NET 3.5 a prerequisite)…
We are focusing most of our resources on sobees' development but bTT will also evolve quickly. We have no ambition to make it the ultimate friendfeed desktop application for all of you, but we are convinced it has a place in parallel to other solutions which have been or will be announced. We are listening very carefully to your feed backs.
You are already 1’000 subscribers for our alpha, this is a great message and we would like to thank you. We are very happy to open up sobees to more alpha testers as we are looking for your feed-backs to make sobees better and adapted to your needs. We currently send 200 invitations each week, so you can expect to get your invitation in April.
We had great reviews on downloadsquad and c|net . But Brad and Josh also correctly mention that we are in early stage. The alpha delivers most of the functionalities we wanted to build in sobees (module download, tabs, search, community, …) but all these functionalities are still in development. Some examples:
- the tabs are slow and will be reworked
- the community will provide people search and more services (we are currently building friendfeed)
- the use of memory will be reduced by a factor of 2 or 3
- the architecture currently prevents direct drag and drop between bDules (security issue), that’s why we have created the tray but we will improve it
- the bDules will be further developed, our intention is to provide much more than widgets; every bDule can provide a real application equivalent in functionalities to a desktop or Adobe AIR application, taking advantage of the design, communication between bDules, synchronization…; as an example, behind the monthly calendar, we want to implement an agenda
I met Allen at SXSW and I made him a demo of sobees. Afterwards, I sent him information about sobees as well as an invite for the alpha. Here is an extract of what Allen wrote about sobees:
At the beginning of this review I noted that Sobees could become a mainstream hit. I could see my mother using this application and being able to connect to my writings, family photos, and keep connected to the things I want her to see. Why? Because I can setup Sobees for her and manage it remotely. It would certainly reduce the, "Allen, I lost the link to the mahjong page, help me" calls.
This comment delighted me. At the very beginning of the project, we wanted sobees to address our parents’ needs, our non geek friends, … On the blogs, we read mainly about geeks’ tools. As geeks, we have plenty of web tools and services available. Friendfeed is the latest good example. Our question is: will our parents use Friendfeed? Will our relatives use Friendfeed? Will our non geek friends…? And if not, why? What are their needs? What alternative should we offer them? There is a population of users needing simple and effective tools. They will never have thousands of friends, but they don’t want to miss any item posted by their grandchildren, by their relatives, … My mother wants to be sure she won’t miss it when my daughter is posting new pictures, when she is blogging,…. Our vision is that she finds most tools inside sobees.
The fact that Allen saw this possibility without clear mention of it in our communication is a confirmation that we are on the right way. The road is still long but it is so exciting when we have such confirmations.
You can read the full article here .
We wanted a Twitter module since the beginning of the sobees project. Bastien did it last week, in just a couple of days. And it took a couple of hours for Sebastien to style the new buttons, add an animation and make some small changes in the design. This is great as we now have a Twitter module with basic functionalities which already looks great.
As sobees alpha is still limited to a very few number of users, we decided to release bTweets as a standalone application so that you can already enjoy sobees look and feel on your Windows computer. We have also integrated 2 buttons to record some texts you tweet regularly so that you do not have to type them anymore. For the launch of bTweets, we have recorded SXSW hashtag.
bTweets inside sobees will provide additional functionalities like the possibility to change the skin, to filter the tweets… The sobees platform is still in alpha. We are fixing issues and release more invitations every week. Do not hesitate to leave us your contact information, you should receive an invite code soon.
Click here to download bTweets.