Sunday, July 17th, 2011
Way back in February, I did a quick talk at the Show & Tell event on a new side project of mine (slides over here) and forgot to publish this related blog post, hey ho! Here it is in reduced form:
Finder is simple web app to help parents discover and catalogue local child-friendly businesses, something I’ve built from personal need. It currently residing at finder.newdadsite.com and is in need of some content/contributions love (you can sign in via Twitter!). It makes use of some funky browser geo-location to make it extra useful, with fallback to plain old search.
Finder is a simple enough little app, and it gave me a great opportunity to use Python in anger; Previously I’d only really played about with it. I arrived at using Pylons for a number of reasons. Like most people who want to do some Python web-appery, I’d initially looked at Django, which seems to be the most talked of framework. Something about Django didn’t really mesh with me, it’s got its own way of doing things, and that wasn’t an exact fit somehow – personal taste maybe.
Pylons felt, well, much more toolboxy. You could pull stuff in from all over, pick the modules you liked best. Particularly I like the SqlAlchemy/FormAlchemy combo, I’ve always felt that it should be easy to build a form from an existing model if you’ve used sensible naming conventions. Stuff like this:
FieldSet.__init__(self, Location, session=Session)
is a really neat way to just turn a model into a form for editing that model’s data. Not part of Pylons, but I can chose to use it cos I like it (and I’m a fan of easy).
One thing I forgot to mention in my talk (well, I only had ten minutes!) was that Pylons in now merging with Repoze to become Pylons Project with a new framework called Pyramid… It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for it.
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
This is just a random thought that occurred on the train home. A friend was talking about how it might be tricky to do SEO for a plumber or electrician. I didn’t quite agree, but it occurred to me that for a local business marketing such services in the interweb age, there’s some quite clever things you could do.
First, join Twitter. Make sure you mention you’re a plumber and your location. Talk about your work and be generally personable; Being genuine is always a good start on the web. Include your website link so people can check your plumbing credentials, it’s probably best to mention you’re in Yellow Pages too, not everybody believes what they read on the web…
Second, go to twitter search and search for “burst pipe” or better “need plumber” or any of the other hundred complaints you might help with. Check it has lots of results. Go to advanced search, repeat, but with a geographic limit of 50 miles of your location. Say you’re in London (Oh look somebody needs help).
Go to Yahoo Pipes. Create a pipe with all those queries merged together. You could limit them to the last 24 hours if you like, so you don’t end up trying out of date info. Subscribe to the feed. Watch the feed for appropriate tweets. Respond when you see them by an @ reply or by following the tweeter and introducing yourself. Introducing yourself is important, hopefully shows you’re not a bot. You might want to give a special rate for twitter referrals. Hopefully your serendipitous contact will be seen as a boon, especially if you don’t behave in an autofollowy kind of way, get the job.
Do a damn good job. This part is important.
Hopefully your client will talk about the novel experience of being contacted via Twitter at just the right time. It’ll be remarkable, after all. This might net you some interest from friends of friends who need work, or some press attention, all of which would be good.
Repeat until you have a network of satisfied customers who will always remember you as the twitter plumber.