Monday, 25 February 2008

The time has come

I've been working on an Erlang project at home for a while, and it has reached the first public version! Here it is It's a simple utility that can make your life easier.

It ticks some of the boxes that Paul Graham related recently in Six Principles for Making things:

(a) simple solutions I hope so. This was one of the big design principles - to make it as simple as possible. That's why, for example, it leverages email instead of using some fancy social networking/address book features. There's also no login, since your email address already identifies you. TripIt uses the same idea
(b) to overlooked problems nothing that I know of addresses it
(c) that actually need to be solved, and This tries to help with a real problem that I've encountered myself. Feedback on the idea has been quite positive, so I know it's something that people will find useful!
(d) deliver them as informally as possible Hope so
(e) starting with a very crude version 1, then Relatively crude
(f) iterating rapidly. We'll see!

It's implemented on a Lyme stack (Linux, Yaws, Mnesia and Erlang). This project has generated some interesting questions, that I will relate in a series of posts. For example:

Why Erlang?
Why not ErlyWeb?
Why not Rails?
Why did I abandon the fully functional Lisp version?

So, use it, it's free. If you like it (or more importantly if you don't), lemme know at

P.S. To the Internet Explorer users: You will notice that there's a javascript error on the page, because some function is "not implemented", which means you'll see check boxes and not coloured boxes in the calendar. The current versions of Opera, Firefox and Safari have no problem with it. Maybe you should consider an upgrade...


darynholmes said...

Great idea and an excellent implementation!

I think there should be a section stating that users email addresses will not be made public or sold to third parties - unless you are planning on doing that... :)

Does the site show which date was eventually selected?

- Thanks

Benjamin Nortier said...

Two good ideas!

The first is easy to implement.

And the second is a feature that someone else requested as well, which is scheduled for version 0.2 :)

Immo H√ľneke said...

I'd like to endorse everything Daryn said. Well done, this is an excellent demonstration of what's possible with Erlang and I shall certainly be using it in the near future!

In the "How it Works" bit, it would be nice to see some mention of Erlang (I know it's implicit in the reference to YAWS, but it takes a bit of insider knowledge to work that out). Also, why not provide a link to the source code to prove how elegant the implementation is?

Benjamin Nortier said...

Yes, I will make a more prominent mention of Erlang. I don't plan to open source everything, but I do hope to open source at least some of the modules at some point. That will motivate me to keep the code tight and tidy :)

darynholmes said...

It would be great if the site could indicate which days all people have said yes to.

Also, it would be nice if people could register to get notifications when a user has modified there days.

- Thanks!

darynholmes said...

And another thing...

Maybe a forum on the dayfindr site, where people can make suggestions?

I know you don't want to clutter your nice clean interface, but maybe this will encourage more feedback from users...

Laurian Gridinoc said...

Hmm, pretty similar with

Benjamin Nortier said...

Yes, unfortunately it doesn't look like I'm as original as I thought I was! There's another one that I was unaware of:

Laurian Gridinoc said...

I think this is a sign that people are thinking again simple + usable things.