Hacker Slide: Anatomy of a 4 Hour Miniapp
Hacker Slide is a new miniapp I launched this morning after a few hours of development (rounded up to 4 after doing a little design work on this this afternoon). It lets you view the latimes.com Hacker News front page over time with the time selectable with a slider so you can see stories come and go.
Hacker Slide was an off the cuff idea blatantly ripped from Reddit Snapshot. After the fad of producing "Instant" sites after YouTube Instant launched, I knew someone would probably make an HN Snapshot site pretty quickly so I decided I wanted to be that guy this time.
Initially I had it only crawling once per day but I realized I wouldn't be able to show it off for at least a few days if I kept it that way so I switched it to hourly and went to bed. On waking there were about 8 hours of data ready to "slide" through.
In retrospect, hourly works great because Hacker News's front page moves so quickly and it's useful to scan back hour by hour to find things that I missed while asleep/working/whatever. Hopefully some of you will find it useful for the same reason.
This afternoon someone posted Hacker Slide to Hacker News so I followed up by posting it to the Hacker News Facebook group and it went from there. It's only been a few hours but it's had around 3000 visitors so far and the feedback is generally positive (though people want to see how the items move around over time more elegantly - I'm still thinking on how to do this). I've also released the source onto GitHub.
So that's it. Nothing too intense. Just seeing someone else's idea, being inspired, and rolling out a "miniapp" after some Googling and head scratching. It's not just a great way to stretch your coding muscles but a good exercise in short term discipline or even a way to promote yourself - just ask Feross Aboukhadijeh about that.