That’s right, Google App Engine! For those of you who don’t remember, Foller.me is a Twitter app I wrote back in 2009. Honestly, I never realized back then that performance is an issue until the day I got featured on Mashable. More about it in a previous post.
If you’re not familiar with Foller.me, I’ll explain it here in a couple of words:
Foller.me is a web application based on the Twitter API, used to gather Twitter analytics from any profile – in seconds! Foller.me scans your Twitter profile, parses your latest tweets and followers. Tweets are separated into topics, mentions and hashtags. Followers are mapped out on a Google Map.
This weekend I made a choice I thought I never will – I’m moving Foller.me over to Google App Engine. It was all after running a couple of experiments in my Juice Toolkit project (note that there’s a GAE branch).
I realized that it wouldn’t take me too much time to rewrite Foller.me using the new language I’m learning – Python. And I was right, the first few tests were up and running on Saturday, and there’s now a live preview including more fixes and updates on App Spot. The clouds seem to work fine, geography is even better than I expected (with a few more updates) and the interface got a few extra buttons!
More over, the new version of Foller.me has been moved over to GitHub which means that it is now an open source project! Anybody can dive into the code, suggest a few patches or updates. Contributors are always welcome ;) Also, if there’s anybody interested in the PHP code that runs on the old version, let me know, I’ll be more than glad to share it.
Now, for the bad news – I’m closing down the Foller.me blog, since there’s not time to post, and not that much I could write about. I hope that the announcements, commits and wikis on GitHub and Twitter would be enough. The API will be temporarily shut down during the move and a few weeks after, but I’ll bring that to life, perhaps with a few more fixes. The domain will probably move to a www mirror, since App Engine doesn’t allow naked domains at this stage (see this issue).
So yeah, Foller.me will live, donations are always welcome. The app will remain free of charge and so will the API. But there’s a plan to launch a premium service on Foller.me – detailed profile analytics. I’m able to give you even more statistics and analytics on your Twitter profile, but of course not instantly – my rough calculations are 1-2 days. This will generate a very sophisticated PDF report about your profile, including much more information about your followers, about people you’re following, their relations, lists, graphs and charts, and even more geographical data.
All this is still in the stage of an idea or a concept, lacking a business plan. So my question to you right now is – would you be interested in such a service? And if yes, how much money are you willing to pay for one report? Please answer in the comments section. Everybody who answered will get their first reports free of charge (if this is ever implemented).