Monday, February 7, 2011

My first Mac application

For every new computer platform, programming environment and language that a prospective software developer encounters, this is the time-honored first step:

It doesn't look like much of a world-shaking achievement. However programmers know that, once you've mastered the famous Hello World exercise, the rest is relatively easy. Only dimensions and details change...

My plans have evolved considerably over the last few days. I first became interested in the Apple development environment last year, when I purchased an iPad. Floating around in my mind was the idea of developing a blog reader for Antipodes. Google (owner of the Blogger system) makes available a so-called API (application programming interface) enabling software developers to access directly the actual blog files.

My future software device (whose name I prefer to keep secret for the moment) will make it easy to consult the archives of my blog, containing over 1700 posts. Well, over the last few days, I've decided that it would be a better idea to produce, not an iPad application, but an ordinary Macintosh tool, which could maybe enable users to print out parts of my blog in some kind of book format. Later on, once the basic Macintosh software is fully operational, I could look into the idea of creating an iPad version.

Initially, I intend to develop this tool specifically for my Antipodes blog. But I would soon propose a tailor-made version, for a low price, to any blog owner working with Blogger. This would enable bloggers to send copies of the tool to all their friends with Macs. Meanwhile, if bloggers wish to show their writings to friends and relatives without computers (I believe that such people still exist), they can use the printed-paper solution.

ADDENDUM: Having described my intentions concerning the development of a Mac-based blog reader, I hasten to add that I'm perfectly aware that many bloggers and their readers might find my project ludicrous, in that they see the blog phenomenon as totally ephemeral, on a par with Twitter, and hardly worthy of an archival dimension. I certainly don't see things in this superficial light. On the contrary, I believe that a blog is a serious and interesting autobiographical document, capable of charting the blogger's personal evolution over a period of months and years, at a psychological as well as a practical everyday level. It can function as a timeline of events.

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