Setting up this application for future growth.My pet project iTweet.net has been a great success for me. It gets plenty of traffic, enjoys a steadily growing community of users, and is a lot of fun to work on. The list of things I'd like to explore with this project grows every week, and with all the new additions to the Twitter API of late - OAuth, RTs, Lists, Geolocation etc - there is much more to be done in order to keep up.
The steady increase in traffic means that we've had to spend extra time and money on iTweet's server in order to keep up with all the users. Hosting has graciously been sponsored by The Illusion Factory, but the monthly demand keeps increasing and it's clear that something needs to change. The growing nature of both the to-do list and the server cost has led me to think of ways in which iTweet can become self-sustaining. This app needs to start earning its keep, peoples! One thing that I've decided to try is the insertion of sponsored tweets by 140 Proof.
This company has a very unique system of advertising delivery, promising very targeted content in an unobtrusive format. How does that work? 140 Proof's system scans your (publicly available) tweets and delivers you an ad tailored to your location and/or favorite topics. This means that you'll see content that is interesting and relevant to you. And the ads come in tweet format so they fit right in with the flow of the app. Most of them are real tweets, from a real Twitter account, and behave pretty much like the other tweets in your stream - you can reply, favorite or retweet them too. (I'm giving these sponsored tweets a slightly different style so you can tell them from regular tweets.)
Since a lot of people have asked me what my plans for future development are, here's a nutshell version:
iTweet.net has no database behind it. It doesn't store any of your information, and only uses data from the Twitter (and TwitPic, bit.ly, etc) APIs. In order to do some more "interesting" stuff, such as multiple accounts, decent Lists and follower management, autocompleter, etc, I need to put a database behind the front end and rewrite a whole bunch of stuff. This will let me do a lot more *interesting* things with the app, as it currently operates within the exact constraints of the API.
My immediate goals for iTweet are this:
- Switch to OAuth - this will eliminate API limit hassles
- Database-driven back end
- Support for new APIs - RT, geolocation etc.
- Support for multiple accounts, other oft-requested features
- Support for internationalization (multiple languages)
Cheers, and thanks for helping to make my little project take off. As always the user community will directly influence the direction of future development. Please let me know your thoughts below or by contacting me directly - I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.