I finished off Defrag Connector. You can now search for friends who are going, any mutual friends you share with those attending, and add a button to your profile.
It’s all unofficial at the moment, but I’m checking with Eric Norlin to make sure he’s ok with me publicizing it a bit more. I wrote it to scratch an itch, but I think it could be handy for other attendees too.
Technically, it wasn’t too hard. The biggest hurdle was doing the mutual friends check, since the Facebook API doesn’t offer a direct method for that. Instead, I’m checking every attendee against every friend of the current user, one attendee at a time. This needs an API call per attendee, so it can take many seconds. Since Facebook will show an error screen if you take too long returning a page, I had to implement an ajax callbacks to deal with a few attendees at a time, and update the page. It’s the same technique I used for to solve Funhouse Photo’s loading time problems. It works well with my few dozen friends, I hope it will scale to some of the monster friend counts some of the attendees have!
I also discovered that you can’t add images directly hosted by facebook to the user’s profile, so instead I had to automatically copy the logo onto my server, and then link to my copy.
One nice bonus of creating this was hearing from Rob Johnson of EventVue, a tech stars company that’s got some great ideas on how to create kick-ass conference networking tools. It’s great to see how many good companies are emerging from the program. Rob told me the secret was how clued-in and involved their mentors are. I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation over a beer at Defrag.
Funhouse Photo User Count: 871 total, 54 active. Still not showing any increase in the growth rate. I think my next step should be to add a lot more instrumentation to the app, so I can tell how people are using it, and try to identify parts of the user experience that aren’t clicking. Incidentally, the total now seems to be updated daily, like the active count. I miss the addictive thrill of seeing that tick up through the day!