I had a dream, a dream that I could build something amazing. If given the opportunity, I could create something that could change the way we look a the world around us; something that could, maybe, just maybe, touch everyone's lives a little bit. It was a big dream, and particularly difficult considering my biggest creative talent seems to be development for large corporations. Yet still I dreamt on, about building, about creating, about that something just over the horizon.
Time passed, and I continued to dream. Then came App.net, a simple idea that seemed to spit in the face of the Internet as we have come to know it. An idea that dared to ask the question "What if?". What if we treated people as customers rather than cattle? What if we respected creativity rather than try to own it? What if we gave people a platform on which to dream their dreams, and share them with others? To me, it is a simple idea, but one that cries "Renaissance, and Revolution!" An idea on which I could build dreams.
So that is exactly what I set out to do. I put my fingers to the keyboard, and neglected almost all else. I drove on furiously, encouraging others to build their digital homesteads on this brave new frontier. In the process, I began imagining how the dreams of others could become a digital reality on App.net.
I decided to start with making it easier for others to make their digital creations in the only way I knew how. Building C# libraries that would make interacting with App.net much easier for those who could write programs in .Net. Yet as I coded questions still haunted me, dogging at almost all my thoughts. What would it take to make something new here? What does "new" look like? How can we go beyond what has been done before?
Then it hit me, App.net is the Minecraft of social networks. It is a network where literally anything could be built. With the right tools you could create modifications of App.net, just like there are modifications of Minecraft.
With App.net Mods you could build the digital equivalent of airplanes and spaceships, while the other social networks were in the process of tearing down the digital horse-trails that connected them. With App.net Mods you could make social mountains; you could even change the shape and behavior of social fabric itself, just like Minecraft Mods have done. With App.net Mods you could do almost anything... All you would need are the tools to build Mods for App.net, and I had the tools!
So once again I began to code furiously, listening to the imaginations and dreams of those around me. I needed to prove to myself that this was the way forward; that App.net Mods could work as I had imagined. It was excruciatingly difficult work. I was a times frustrated, exhausted, aggravated, confused, and ultimately drained. Yet here I stand, a little less than a week since I started working, with the proof I was seeking.
RapptorMods - Tagging
It is my pleasure to announce RapptorMods. RapptorMods is a collection of Modifications to the App.net API, starting with Tagging. Tagging is a live API for third-party developers that allows any user to tag any post with any text string up to 50 characters. It isn't complicated, and in a very Alpha state (so please be careful), however I plan on updating frequently over the coming weeks, though at a much slower pace than I've been working lately. It is my hope that RapptorMods will continue to provide some amazing functionality on-top of App.net, and stand as an example for future App.net Mods to expand the platform. Most importantly though, I hope RapptorMods shows everyone, developers, and non-developers alike, what amazing things can be done when you put your mind and heart into creating something.
For some technical details, RapptorMods is currently hosted as an Azure website, with an Azure Sql database. The API documents, and client-side .Net wrapper code, tests, and examples can be found at the RapptorMods GitHub. There will also be a NuGet package for the .Net developers to use once the API gets a little more stable. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or need help getting your client code to connect.
A Few Words on Costs
I want to continue to do amazing things on the App.net platform, and I have the ability to host the API for a short time for free. However, in reality hosting will likely become very expensive very quickly. Also, I love build things like this, and making them even better over time, but the time commitment with such a short deadline is simply unsustainable for me by myself. So I am reaching out to the community. Please tell me if you have any suggestions on how to make RapptorMods a financially sustainable operation, so that it can continue to benefit the App.net community far into the future.
I want to first of all thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I want to also thank all of the wonderful people on App.net who have inspired me, believed in me, and encouraged me throughout this process. It has not been easy, and you all have been wonderful.
Lastly, this project is dedicated to my daughter Catherine, and all those who dare to dream. Don't ever give up looking over the horizon, and imagining what may be.