Forum.Different : Read AppleInsider & (soon) Other Forums on your iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014






Hi all, check out my web app. Alpha testing stage. Feedback welcome but please take it easy, I kinda cobbled this whole thing together in 3 days all using free hosting, googling php code etc. etc. ...A lot of the API is modified from Joe Hewitt's iUi.



Anyway, getting this out there, enjoy! Note: use the URL exactly as it is or you will get a weird page (long story)...



http://flame-research.110mb.com



Remember, load it in your iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, with 2.0 Software.



If you have a 13" screen, it actually works alright using Safari, and it can scale between iPhone 3G and say a 13"subnotebook.



I guess it is a proof of concept, alpha stage, using free hosting all at their "best effort" speeds.



Let me know as well if you feel there are iPhone web apps that you think are really good for reading forums... I am not sure if I have come across any.



News readers, definitely heaps, but I love forums, hate online chat. So... well, you get my drift.



The next step is obviously an API that interacts with the forum itself, for example, vBulletin based etc etc. At the individual-thread level there would need to be posting, quote [idea: like sms chat bubbles], and reply functions.



I am using the "page scraping" technique here because it is the best way to "digest" a forum website without needing time and trouble on the part of the forum operators. I still intend to respect all content owners and their intellectual property, etc.



Of course, if there is any commercial angle the advertising and revenue streams of the forum website can be incorporated into the Forum.Different application...



See www.dapper.net - I was inspired a bit by their big plans. They don't have an iPhone version yet, AFAIK.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    To Kasper and admins, moderators, this is at this stage a non-commercial project, and I thought AppleInsider would be the subject of my first app because it is my best and favourite forum.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    In thinking of iPhone-related business ideas, well, this is kinda my first one... Think of this app for virtually *any* forum on the Intarweb. The power and beauty of your favourite forums - in the palm of your hand. Obviously, forums have different purposes and revenue strategies, imagine if this could be translated and adapted well into the iPhone world. Outside of the App Store, there are certainly, I believe, revenue strategies related to the iPhone web platform which benefit the user without clogging up their devices with annoying or intrusive advertising.



    It is a web app, not an App Store app. I want to bypass the App Store for now for various reasons. One of which is my coding (well, script-hacking) background stems from dynamic web stuff rather than hardcore C++ or Cocoa.



    There are some mods for vBulletin that show up well on the iPhone, however, that requires modification of the original forum code. This app requires no modification of the forum coding during the initial phases.



    Obviously there are a lot of possibilities, so just getting this out there for now. While waiting for funding for my grey-market iPhone 3G business to take off (just kidding...)
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Looks nice so far. Forums are the hardest thing to read on the iPhone and unfortunately a read a lot of fora.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by admactanium View Post


    Looks nice so far. Forums are the hardest thing to read on the iPhone and unfortunately a read a lot of fora.



    Thanks for the feedback... Hopefully over the next few weeks I'll put in Hackint0sh and Macrumors.Com. And build in a few simple news feeds so one doesn't have to switch to a news reader app just to get the site's official news feed.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    can one not just type in www.appleinsider.com into safari on the iPhone and do the same thing? What is the point of this app?
  • Reply 6 of 14
    irelandireland Posts: 17,122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marcuk View Post


    can one not just type in www.appleinsider.com into safari on the iphone and do the same thing? What is the point of this app?



    speed!!!
  • Reply 7 of 14
    irelandireland Posts: 17,122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    To Kasper and admins, moderators, this is at this stage a non-commercial project, and I thought AppleInsider would be the subject of my first app because it is my best and favourite forum.



    Kissing ass are we?



    /s
  • Reply 8 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarcUK View Post


    can one not just type in www.appleinsider.com into safari on the iPhone and do the same thing? What is the point of this app?



    Remember, it's not reading the news, it's reading in real time all the *threads*...



    A simple example is this. Let's say you wake up at 10am. Have a bit of a coffee and on the train you say to yourself, hey, I wonder what all my fellow forumers are up to at iPhone, General Discussion, and Future Hardware... I feel like checking this out.



    Through Appleinsider.com on your iPhone 3G, no offense (see kissing ass below) to Kasper & co... But it would take you much longer compared to my app.



    Going through Appleinsider.com: Open Safari on iPhone. Open forums.appleinsider.com. Open iPhone section of forums. Scroll, scroll, scroll, zoom zoom zoom... Now lets say you want to check out General Discussion. Go back, scroll scroll, zoom, click General Discussion, scroll, scroll, zoom, zoom, etc.



    With Forum.Different, you're just a few finger taps away from reading the thread titles, thread popularity and most recent poster - for the whole AppleInsider Forums site.



    Also, Forum.Different <begin marketspeak>leverages core user functionality and intelligent interactive capabilities of the latest iPhone hardware and software to give you a smooth, consistent experience no matter which forum website you go to, catering to the exacting demands of iPhone users and simulating through sophisticated web application integration a native, engaging iPhone App Store application that is sure to put a smile on every iPhone or iPod Touch user. Due to its streamlined design, this web app also saves users time and bandwidth allowing rapid access to large amounts of ordinary HTML data which was not intended for iPhone users. In areas where 3G data is limited or expensive, for example during roaming, Forum.Different will save time, money and frustration. Forum.Different in the coming months will also enable and empower popular, high-trafficked geotargeted forum channel owners to extend their content and interactivity to emerging and extremely attractive mobile internet devices. Thus allowing channel owners to rapidly deploy mobile-enabled versions of their products and capture new and diverse revenue streams liberated by sophisticated mobile platforms such as the iPhone 3G. This is additionally achieved through bypassing the iTunes App Store which faces challenges of increasing demand and delays or rejection in applications to Apple. </end marketspeak>*



    Try it



    As mentioned, this is the first initial proof-of-concept. The next step is, for each thread, once you click on a particular thread from the list of threads, to view all the responses in a nice quick digestible format.



    Also this is a little R&D project on what would be a good API for going through tons of forum websites on an iPhone, iPod, sub-notebook class Internet platform.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Kissing ass are we? /s



    It's called working well with your business/ potential business partners...





    *Please don't take this too seriously, I was mostly making this marketspeak stuff up...

    Yes, if only I could use my powers for good...



    *Idea: "iceberg" style diagram showing the wasted data, time, bandwidth sent to the iPhone using traditional un-empowered forum websites.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    I'll need to put together some sort of fancy video demo thingy maybe... Flash version... Maybe. Or just Vimeo/YouTube. Edit: yes, on an iPhone you can use the built-in YouTube viewer to view the demo video. Vimeo for the HQ version on computers. No Flash. Iz evil.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    speed!!!



    Yes. And saving money, time, frustration if roaming, or if you have naughty 3G data plans like Canada(?), or if the 3G coverage in your area is poor...
  • Reply 11 of 14
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    I'll need to put together some sort of fancy video demo thingy maybe... Flash version... Maybe. Or just Vimeo/YouTube.



    That would be nice\



    I'm new to the iPhone 3G and have gone way overboard on acquiring APPs I won't/can't use, but this idea seems a good one.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubit View Post


    That would be nice\



    I'm new to the iPhone 3G and have gone way overboard on acquiring APPs I won't/can't use, but this idea seems a good one.



    Thanks for the support. Extra super bonus points for the Dune quote. LOL.



    So yeah, seriously, necessity was the Mother of this invention.



    You have a good point, a lot of people went nuts downloading apps and stuff of which the functionality is not clear until you buy it from the App Store or try it out for a while.



    A video demo of this on an iPhone and also a normal computer would help someone get the gist of it.



    See, in the iTunes Store for music and so on, you can ''preview" the content. However not with most Apps right now (AFAIK)...



    Well, good thing I don't have a day job at the moment, so... hmm...



    Of course, off-line caching would be the next evolution if it does become a full-blown app.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Just tried it out. I like it, good work so far.



    Its kinda like the diggerific app. Definately the next step would be to condense the actual forums into a more readable/faster format.



    Great job so far!
  • Reply 14 of 14
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    You've identified what I think is the biggest problem in information exchange today.



    It's no API between the desktop/laptop/mobile device and the web.



    To control a forum from your desktop or laptop, there simply is no way to do it, aside from the screen-scraping you describe. All forums have the "next page" button in a different place and there is no way to just simply send a request for the next page - it just doesn't exist. You have to kludge up some hack that "presses" the button on the screen, etc.... and combine that with the screen-scraping.



    Kudos for tackling this.
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