Twitter Cards for HillVall.eu

I’ve had this little idea in my head for a while now, on how I could use Twitter Cards to display the content I am sharing from HillVall.eu in a much more rich way on twitter, but without taking the user away from the original website.

The idea is that I want to share a link to an article, blog post, review, or what ever I happen to find interesting from the RSS reader application I have written (still in private beta), but I don’t want to handle the traffic or take user’s away from the real website where the information is. I always want to push the traffic to the original source. Which is fine, but when twitter released their twitter cards for tweets, I was interesting if there was a way I could use them with sharing from HillVall.eu but without handling the traffic like I mentioned before. Plus another reason for this is so I have a reason to look at the twitter analytic’s.

So tonight I set about implementing it, and to my surprise it was relative easy once I had work out what twitter was doing to get the card information.

As you can see from my tweet below when I share something from HillVall.eu it will have a summary card in the expanded display and drive traffic directly to the original website.

For the time being I am only using the summary card, but over time I will look into a way of using the other twitter cards depending on the type of content being shared, guess I can put that doing on the feature list for launch.

 

Following my gut with Hill Valleu

If you have read my previous entry or perhaps follow me on Twitter, you may know that I am currently working on a web app, Hill Valleu. Yes, the last update was a few months ago, but a lot has changed since then.

When I published that post, I was using a working copy of Hill Valleu in a beta stage. Within a week of launching it I had some friends and colleagues using the app. Feedback was good and the users seemed to like it. I knew a few items were missing and the limited users who were in all confirmed this by suggesting a few of the same enhancements. So, I got to work on these and within a couple of days I had a few new features launched to the small user base.

Everything seemed to be going great. A few app users, no major issues…so I planned to give it a couple of weeks before getting more users into the system and then a few more weeks before launching it for real. But over this period of time I noticed that my own usage of the app had dropped. This was not a good sign, when an app I was supposed to be building for myself was was not even being used by me…and it turned out the beta users had pretty much all stopped using it.

Why?

Now that’s a good question. I am not sure why others stopped using. A few said they were using other services, which is fair enough. I am trying to break into a crowded market – hard going if you do the basics, but miss a lot of features of the bigger apps.

The main question I needed to answer was why did I stop using a service I built to fill a need for myself?

After sitting down and working out the issue, I discovered the problem was I had stopped building the app for myself and started building it based on what others said they wanted. To get my heart back into the project, I made a big decision to go back to the root of why I started out on this path to begin with. To fill my need, and build something I would use everyday.

I deleted all the content and beta user data and started afresh. My next plan was to get back to where I wanted to be to start with. I ripped out a load of code, reworked the design and features to drastically reduce the complexity I had built in.

Within the week I had a skelton app but up online and I have been using it everyday since, slowly tweaking little bits here and there, adding couple new little enhancments, and have a list of the basic feature set I want in the app before I let anyone else in to the system.

To see the current state and to get a preview of the all new reworked Hill Valleu, go over to the website – and if you like what you see and would like to hear when I launch the app drop your email in the box at the bottom of the page.

Welcome Hill Valleu

hill_valleu_rss_reader

Welcome, hillvall.eu – A simple RSS reader, nothing more, nothing less.

Back in April, when Google announced they where shutting down Goole Reader, I wrote a blog post on my thoughts and how it would affect me as I was a big user of Google Reader. Being a developer I am in a position to be able to create my own solution, and that is exactly what I have been doing. I did have a working version I was using before Google shut down their service, and I mentioned this to a few people, and they showed interest.

At the beginning I was writing the system for myself, the first version I had and had started to use was very limited, no user accounts, feed management or folders. Scroll forward a few months and after the interest I decided I would rewrite the app to work with multiple users with the intention of getting it online so others can use. I’ve never set a deadline for when I wanted to get an early alpha/beta out, and the past few weeks I’ve been working very hard on it to try and get it to a alpha release. For a few weeks I felt it going a bit stale and I starting to question all the time and effort I had been putting in, but I’ve got over that stage and progress is moving along very well, and I am hoping within the week I’ll have actual users apart from myself within the app.

So, if you are interested in getting on the list for early access then head over to hillvall.eu and pop your email in the form. If you would like to keep up to date on news, and details of hillvall.eu, hen I have set up a blog for the app at blog.hillvall.eu