tamberg's Blog

2011-10-23 by tamberg

Side Projects (Software)

Here's part two in a series on side projects. This time it's all about software, mostly mobile applications written at a time the term app was not yet mainstream. Enabling factors were working at Oberon, were we built a set of libraries, our "tool" to speed up app development and Marc who built the hard parts like OSS and SDB (below).

Kfzm – inventory management for used car part dealers (2003 - 2005). To help the stepfather of my then girlfriend, who ran a small business selling used car parts, and did not yet use a computer at the time. While the system unfortunately never made it past the prototype stage, I learned a whole lot about gathering requirements from non-expert computer users. And he at least bought a PC in the process.

Res – a mobile questionnaire app (2004). I am not entirely sure anymore if this was on the job or a side project, but it involved an XML format to specify surveys that could be answered and stored on a smartphone's SD card, thus enabling students to collect data without a pen and paper. And it's named after my friend Res who came up with the original idea.

Po – a mobile notes app (2005). To explore how simple an app could still be useful, I built the note taking software Po, which was little more than a calendar with a text box. Every change was stored immediately and unnoticeable to the user, due to our file based object database (SDB). Nevertheless, I remained the only regular user.

Oh a Show – an art exhibition Web site (2008). My sister had curated an exhibition and needed a small site to document it. It was a quick job, but I still like this site for the minimalistic HTML (have a look at it with "View Source"). And since lately it's also completely hosted on Amazon S3.

Geo – a location tracking photo app (2008). Using the built in GPS of a smartphone the app allowed users to record their location and upload tracks to Oberon's Simple Storage (OSS) Web service. A static page hosted on the same service displayed the track on an interactive, embedded map using client side Javascript. Photos taken on the phone were geo-tagged and displayed on the same track. Shortly after, apps like Foursquare made it obsolete.

Finally, tamberg's Blog itself is one of those side projects I always wanted to do but never did, until now. Despite the Web 1.0 look, its architecture is quite 2011. Each page is generated exactly once with XSLT from custom XML and then uploaded to Amazon S3. There's nothing more, except for a CNAME entry at my domain host, and the comments embedded via Javascript, provided by the fabulous Disqus.