Humming Bird Widget (my newest Android app)

Humming Bird

Humming Bird is my newest android widget. Most people follow hundreds of people on Twitter and at certain and even though you want to stay on top of whats going on there isn’t enough enough time to go through pages and pages of tweets to do that; Humming bird scans the timeline (what your friends are tweeting), collects what your friends are tweeting about (hashtags as well as keywords) and then displays them in a widget on the android device home-screen.

Humming Bird in Action

When the widget is first loaded the user is first provided a setup page in which the user can pick if he wants to harvest keywords/hashtags or both, as well as the number of tweets scanned and the size of the result set. Once the widget is placed a service checks twitter every 30 minutes (or whenever the widget is clicked) harvesting tweets and then running it through Alchemy to extract keywords/hashtags, which are then rated and placed in a visually appealing manner in the widget. Using a weighted list visual design (TAG cloud) the result is displayed in a way that makes it simple for the user to know whats the buzz on twitter is all about.

The concept is quite simple and deceivingly simple. I reckoned it wouldn’t take me more than 6 – 8 hours to build it, which made it perfect for a weekend project; I ended up sinking 20+ hours into it, the reason being how intricate widget design is. Widgets use this decoupled design decoupling presentation from logic, with the logic running in a separate thread. There is no way to directly reference a widget you have to use what they call pending intent which is quite hard to deal with. Generally speaking it felt like I was building a watch, trying to fit all this logic into a tiny framework. Luckily I completed and published it and you can check it here.

You can check the rest of my applications here.

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