Sunday, April 21, 2024

Behind the Twellow Curtain

It’s not often I get to walk down the hall to conduct an interview. That made chatting with Twellow lead developer Matthew Daines all the more convenient. Here’s what I got out of him.

An interview with Twellow's lead developer

What’s up with the name?

Matthew: The name Twellow was something Rich [Ord] and I came up with together. We were discussing the whole concept in it’s early stages, and when I grasped Rich’s vision for a people directory, I made the connection to the yellow pages. While I was looking at the various “tw” apps associated with Twitter, the combination of Twitter and Yellow came together. was available, so Rich jumped on it.

Yeah, it’s all Web 2.0ified, too. Score. You based this on the Twitter API, I’m assuming.

Matthew: Yes. We were receiving the Twitter PubSub feed, but that’s been down for weeks now, so we’ve had to resort strictly to the public API feed.

Was Twitter downtime a problem?

Matthew: It’s only a problem in that updates don’t come into the system when Twitter is down. Our system stores all the data it needs locally, so even if Twitter is down we can still serve our users the pages they want. The downtime on the Twitter PubSub though has made a lot of things more difficult, usability features and Web2.0 coolness stuff.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Matthew: Right now the biggest challenge is to keep the people coming back. It’s great to have a cool new app, but competition exists, and being able to establish ourselves as the “twellow pages” leader and stay there will be an interesting battle. Our issues with Twitter and getting the updates we need are a major part of getting the service up to the standard we have set for our user experience also. But this is a great app, and I think our offering is really quite good, even without all the features we’d like it to have. The intial response has been overwhelmingly positive, so I’m confident we are headed in the right direction.

So, what’s next?

Matthew: The next step is to give the users in our directory more control over their information. I’ve had a lot of requests from people wanting to modify their own listings, so that is really becoming a priority. This is a people-oriented site, so the people have got to come first. It’s individuals that make any system work, and I hope we can provide as much utility to the individual users as we can.

Learn more about Twellow.


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