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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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I deployed my most recent project at work today. It's a Facebook application that allows Quick Blogcast customers to link their accounts to their Facebook profiles.

I know that bringing a blog into your Facebook profile is nothing new. There are many such applications out there right now that can do that. But I think this Quick Blogcast version is unique in that you can make it so that your friends and visitors never leave Facebook, even to comment! What's more, we leverage nearly all of the Facebook integration points. This allows the Quick Blogcast customer to publicize his or her blog to the fullest extent while still respecting the conventions and norms of the Facebook world. While that may not sound like much, it's been quite a learning experience for me.

For one thing, I had to master the Facebook API. Luckily, I only had to learn it secondhand because I had an excellent framework called Facebook.NET to lean on. After a month or so of experience, I even felt conversant enough to help others and supply patches. In so doing, I apparently really helped the developer of Thugz Passion, a game which I've grown to enjoy.

It was also a chance to get to know memcached better. I used the terrific Memcached framework to interact with a Win32 port of the service. I wish I knew enough C++ to move that project to the current version of the Linux original. I futilely check the danga email archives to see whether anyone's gotten impatient with progress and just did it on their own.

I was (and am) very impressed by memcached, which is an excellent (and free) distributed caching system. ASP.NET is top-notch at scaling but its caching mechanisms (namely, the object bags like Cache, Application, and Session) can easily become bottlenecks after enough usage is thrown at them. I think memcached offers a way out—it's certainly worked wonders in the Linux world.

I affectionately call this integration app Quick FaceBlogBookCast. It cracks me up every time; it's easily the most cumbersome portmanteau I've come across. (I can't believe I forgot the other Facebook app I released today: Domain Center for Facebook! It's a way to spontaneously generate domain name suggestions from the information contained on your Facebook profile. The algorithms right now are pretty coarse, but I plan to refine them each and every release until they're uncannily right some day.)

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