An Interview with Startup News

An Interview with Startup News

Just a short one today..

A few weeks ago I sat down with Mary Miller-Furesh (with whom I had met during Startup Weekend when I was working on Tuckr) and did an interview for West Australia’s Startup News.

It was a short interview in which I spoke about Mr Nibbles Forever and lamented about my Google Play Banning. I also spoke briefly about what im looking at next and the challenges that startups face in WA.

Anyways you can check it out in full here: http://www.startupnews.com.au/2016/09/28/a-cautionary-tale/

Post To Tumblr v6.26 – New Donation Options

Post To Tumblr v6.26 – New Donation Options

Its been a while since I have blogged about Post To Tumblr, my popular Chrome Extension for Tumblr. I have been quiet but certainly not inactive.

One thing that has always bothered me about the extension ever since version 1, when I started accepting donations, was that the only way to donate was via Paypal. Thus people in countries where Paypal isnt available have been unable to donate and thus unlock the advanced features. Up till now I simply gave those users that emailed me free access to the features, but obviously this isnt ideal.

I like to listen to podcasts, mostly technical related but some science, some business and some general interest. Most of the shows I listen to have ads and one ad that continually pops up is for Braintree. Braintree is a payments solution for online services so I decided to investigate if they would be a good solution for my Chrome extensions.

I discovered that they have the same fee but have have a generous $50k threshold before those charges kick in. They accept credit cards which means they can be used in any country and to top it off they have nice documentation and simple integration options which is more than I can say for Paypal.

So I decided to make the jump and switch PTT over to Braintree.

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Donations are all handled on my HTTPS heroku page. Credit card info never touches my server and is all handled via the Braintree iFrame and thus I am never liable for any financial risk nor an I at any point breaking Googles Developer Policies.

Speaking of that. As soon as I published the update with the new Braintree payments integrated I received this lovely email from Google:

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Obviously I am rather wary of these sorts of generic take-down emails from Google thanks to my Google Play ban. After emailing them back asking for clarification as to exactly which rule I was breaking I received an email 2 days later that stated that they had reviewed my extension and were going to reinstate it. No explanation as to why it was taken down in the first place…

Anyways. Its back, now integrated with Braintree, and it all works and everything is right with the world, so im not going to pursue it any further.

As usual you can grab Post To Tumblr over on the Chrome Store, if you have it installed it should auto-update for you 🙂

Until next time.

Introducing Markd – Pinterest for people

Introducing Markd – Pinterest for people

Markd is a project I have been working on for Brandon over a pepwuper.com for a while now.

Quite simply its a Chrome Extension and website that allows a user to quickly and easily bookmark people you come across on the internet. In Brandons own words:

I wanted a better way to go about the process. A simple tool that would allow me to save someone into my “book of interesting people”, no matter which site I find them on. I wanted it to be easy with image/description automatically filled out. I wanted it to allow me to save reference images. And I wanted it to have a simple way for me to organise and search those I’ve bookmarked later on.

And so he contacted me to help him build out such a tool and Markd was born:

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The Extension

The tool comes in two parts. Firstly there is a Chrome Extension:

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Once installed (and logged in) you can visit any site then just hit the little Markd icon on the browser toolbar:

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This opens a window which auto populates from the page you are on:

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Currently the auto-population only works for a number of the most popular sites sites, namely: “Twitter, Linkedin, Behance, Facebook, Dribble, DeviantArt, Github and ProductHunt”, but if it isnt on that list (or even if it is) you can easily edit any part of the Mark before it is saved. Images are scraped from the page and presented in a handy dialog:

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The Website

Once saved you can view and edit your saved marks on Markd.co:

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The Tech

The two parts (Chrome Extension and website) were built with two different technologies.

Chrome Extension

I decided to go with Aurelia for the extension. I was wanting to find an excuse to give it a try for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Its a framework for web app development from Rob Eisenberg, the same dude that worked on Durandal and Angular before deciding he wanted to go his own direction and create Aurelia.

Much like Angular its a template-based framework like Angular e.g.

<template>
  <h1>${heading}</h1>

  <form submit.trigger="addTodo()">
    <input type="text" value.bind="todoDescription">
    <button type="submit">Add Todo</button>
  </form>
</template>

You then write a backing “Component” class which implements the “addTodo()” function and provides the “heading” variable etc.

In addition to this it provides many other nice things out of the box such as easy to setup routing and good support for Typescript.

Because it is quite new I did have quite a few setup difficulties, in the end I managed to get it all working and found it a pleasure to use.

The Website

I wasn’t sure which backend tech to use for this, there were many options. In the end I decided to go with .Net (C#) hosted on Azure. Development was “relatively” simple because of the excellent VisualStudio tooling with C#. I did however have some difficulties around providing my own Authentication scheme using Json Web Tokens. In the end I managed to get it working thanks to a number of helpful projects on github.

Azure itself also provided its own share of problems; one such such being it seems to be impossible to handover a resource group to another user. To me this is a pretty common usecase for a freelancer that wants to handover a completed project to a client.

We also ran into the auto-DB backups not actually running for some reason. For all its power, Azure can be a bit of a fickle beast sometimes, in the future I will probably stay away from it.

Conclusion

Markd was a great project to work on and im proud of the result and the client is happy which makes me happy. We have a bunch of other features and things we want to add to it but that will have to wait for another blog post, for now tho you can check out the tool for free at:

http://markd.co/

Let me know what you think in the comments below!