Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Friday, April 15, 2005

My First Web Host: TextDriven

I've been programming thick-client apps since I was a kid, but now that the world is moving into the Web 2.0 era, I figure it's time for me to start writing web apps. So I've signed up for a nifty account with the TextDrive hosting service. Now I'll be able to share my programs with the world in the form of web apps, instead of making people download Ruby scripts onto their computer, together with a series of tedious instructions. I'm quite excited about making my own web apps! Yee-haw!

A cool thing about TextDrive is that your account comes with Ruby built in. So I'm not stuck with Perl (no disrespect to the Perl gurus). People say that TextDrive is a bit pricey. I just have the basic account ($12US/mo), which is just fine for me. From what I've read, I like to think of TextDrive as the Mercedes of web hosts, so I'm quite proud to be a TextDrive owner.

How I came to make the jump to signing up with a web hosting service. I've got this great idea for a web app called Bloglines Shuffler. Basically it will shuffle your RSS feed items. Robert Scoble used to read 1300+ feeds each night, consuming 5 hours in the process. And I've been finding that my nightly feedreading takes 2 hours. Well if we had a way to shuffle our RSS feed items, and we set a time limit for our feedreading, then we would have a statistically unbiased way to plow through as many feed items as we could, and we could stop at the end of the allotted time without guilt. What do you think, Robert?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to implementing this as a webapp on my TextDrive host (yee-haw!) tomorrow. Originally I was going to do the whole thing in JavaScript so I wouldn't need to have it hosted, but I ran into roadblock after roadblock -- e.g. to use XmlHttpRequest in Firefox I had to turn on UniversalBrowserAccess, but then I found out about Firefox's Same-Origin Policy preventing me from firing an XmlHttpRequest to Bloglines, and then I discovered that IE would let me do it, but would prompt you with a frightening warning ... sigh. So instead of subjecting you to all the pain, Jonny's going to do it proper and get it hosted.


  • I'm glad you're making the jump to webapps.

    As far as the Bloglines shuffler goes, I am intrigued, but really I think that I'd feel terribly guilty if I missed even one of my feeds, even by random chance.

    By Blogger Darius Kazemi, at 4/16/2005 6:52 a.m.  

  • Hi Darius - Thanks for the support! Ya never know - you might like it! As they say about the iPod shuffle, "Life is random. Load it up. Put it on. See where it takes you."

    And it won't mark your feeds as read (unless you want it to).

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/16/2005 8:11 a.m.  

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