Archive for March, 2010

Official Spotify Updates – JSON version

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

For months now Spotify have stopped doing the Google Spreadsheets to let people know what has recently been added to the service. What’s worse, decease it caused a lot of problems for fan-made services like spotify.fm and – until I worked around it – Spotibot. This has upset a lot of people.

Well, story a couple of days ago Spotify developer Rasmus produced a site “Latest Releases on Spotify” which takes a good guess of what’s new based on Spotify’s metadata API. I assumed it was a hack, one health but the latest blog post suggests it’s now the official solution.

Like a top fella he open-sourced his script, so in the hopes of helping to re-ignite the third-party developer scene I’ve made some minor changes to output the exact same list in JSON format. Get the feed here:

http://spotify.andysmith.co.uk/updates/latest_v1.json

If you’re unfamiliar with JSON it’s pretty straightforward. If you’re a PHP developer just read that URL into a string using file_get_contents() then run json_decode() on it.

Although I’ve produced the service, I’ve yet to consume it. Please let me know if there are problems or improvements I can make. Note the version number – if I make a big change I will update that number but keep the old ones running. That way any apps you make will still work.

Drop me a comment below if you find a use for it!

Why not *not* use WordPress?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Let’s face it, advice my old blog didn’t take off. You probably never saw it.

Those who did may remember my second entry, entitled “Why not use WordPress?” (posted 2nd November 2008). Here’s a snippet:

I’m a web developer. I do this not only as a profession but also as an interest. As such I invent. In a weekend I could throw together something pretty spiffy using a php templating engine and a javascript framework, but I’d far rather get my hands dirty and see what happens when left to my own devices.

So what did happen? I blogged pretty regularly for the first 2 months, then faltered, then stopped. In that time, I made one experimental and two practical alterations to my underlying blog code. None of those did anything useful like index it or make updating any more elegant than writing a post in notepad and uploading the .txt file.

My main conclusion from this was simple: I’m just not interested in creating a blogging system. They exist and – looking around my screen as I type this – are pretty damn good. They do everything I need. I might be able to do it better, but I’m just not that kind of developer.

Sure, if I put my mind to it I could read dozens of books on practical design patterns and reinvent the best goddamn extensible blogging framework the world has ever seen. I don’t doubt that some people are probably doing that as we speak. But that in itself just doesn’t float my boat. I read those same books and reference those same blog posts, but my underlying architecture is just that much more satisfying if I’m using it to power something I can’t find anywhere else. That is exactly the reason I – when asked – call myself a “Creative Developer”.

So while I understand those who wish to build better mousetraps, I simply find I’d much rather hunt dragons.

The bottom line: Today I find myself installing WordPress. I had totally forgotten this was the original recommendation, and it only took me 16 months to come to myself. Thanks, Matt!