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A Journal about the experiences I have developing little applications in C#, Perl, Html and Javascript and talking about things new things that I use. Always Geeky; Always Nerdy; Always poor Grammer!

I am a Software Analyst Developer working in Southport, England but living in Liverpool. I develop mainly in C# and ASP.Net. I have been developing comercial software for several years now. I maintain this site (hosted at SwitchMedia UK) as a way of exploring new technologies (such as AJAX) and just generally talking about techie geek issues. This site is developed through a host of Perl scripts and a liberal use of Javascript. I enjoy experimenting with new technologies and anything that I make I host here.

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Web www.kinlan.co.uk

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Launching FriendDeck

I have been beavering away at a lot of social network API's recently which lead me first to Twitter's API and then onto FriendFeed's API.  I really like FriendFeed's API, it is very meticulous in the data it aggregates and makes available to developers.

So after a couple of hours playing with the API I endeavoured on my first major project with FriendFeed. I named the project FriendDeck, the basic premise is that there is no similar tool available for FriendFeed that works like TweetDeck.

FriendDeck is entirely hosted on the Google App Engine and in the most part is entirely UI driven through liberal use of jQuery.

The main problem that I have with FriendFeed is that you see all your friends posts, which is great in the most part, but I want to be able to see posts on the general topics that I am interested in as they occur around the world.  So FriendDeck's first focus is to allow you to search FriendFeed and always be up-to date on the topics you are interested without ever leaving the browser or refreshing the page online casinos.

You get an ever refreshing view on the parts of the real-time web that you are interested in, and not what all your friends are interested in.

A great example of its use was described by Neville Hobson, where he was tracking the real-time web using FriendDeck with regards to the US Airways Crash into the Hudson river.  His screen-shot of his Deck can be seen here

I made the decision early on that I wanted as much of the User Interaction to be done through the Query box so I designed a very basic language to support multiple types of queries.

The most basic query is a general topic search and this can be achieved by typing any text into the Query box.

You can post to FriendFeed from FriendDeck, (if you are logged in) by stating the command say:here is my comment.

You can also view a list of a user’s likes by using the query likes:{username} for example likes:kinlan, you can also see a users comments by typing comments:{username} in the query box. A user’s friends can be obtained by querying friends:{username}. A list of posts relating to a URL can be found by using the query url:{url} (so url:www.frienddeck.com) and likewise a list of posts about a domain can be found using the query domain:{domain}.  If you are associated with a room you can view all the latest posts by using the command rooms:{roomname}, for example rooms:frienddeck

Every minute each of your decks will auto refresh (I fixed a bug tonight that was causing them not to refresh correctly) so you will always get the latest information.

A few new features will be available soon, such as inline commenting. You can currently see a list of all the comments by clicking on the comments count. Your comments being highlighted red.

I am always keen to hear peoples comments so please feel free to get in contact.


FriendDeck: www.frienddeck.com


A Topical Search Engine Tags: , , , ,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Twollo – Find new people to follow automatically

Earlier this week I released a new Google App Engine project called Twollo (http://www.twollo.com).  Twollo, allows you to discover new people to follow by entering your interests into the website.  By using Twollo, we filter the Twitterverse and find and follow the appropriate Twitterers automatically for you; taking much of the leg work out finding good people to follow.

The main difference between Twollo and MrTweet is that MrTweet appears to suggest “interesting people” to follow based on their popularity.  Don’t get me wrong, MrTweet is a good application, but Twollo is different, and I believe better.

Twollo, will only follow people that you share similar interests with.  So, for example, you are new to twitter and want to follow people interested in the Google App Engine, you simply insert your interest of “Google App Engine” into Twollo and we will do the rest; every hour or so we will find new people to follow for you.  (see image below to see how easy it is to use)

During the early phase of release I received lots of feedback about what to include in Twollo  Recently added features include:

  1. The ability to see who you Twollo followed for you and the associated interest.
  2. The ability to un-follow a twitter
  3. The ability to not re-follow an un-followed Twitterer
  4. The ability to see who followed you back
  5. The ability to limit the maximum number of new Twitterers you will follow for one of your interests
  6. The ability to only follow Twitterers in your language
  7. Allow feedback through UserVoice
  8. Allow users to completely remove their profile with one click


In a post next week, I will talk about Twollo and the Google App Engine.


I hope you all enjoy Twollo.  Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Moving Blog

I have been using Blogger for many years now on my own server. It has got to the point where I don't find the features of blogger fit in with my needs as a blogging platform so I am moving to Wordpress.

I am keeping all the content here on this site and I may still update it from now and then.

The new blog will still be more broadly focused against all aspects of the development of software not just c#.  The new blog can be found at the following URL: http://www.kinlan.co.uk/blog/

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

DSL Tools Talk

On the 17th of April I will be doing a talk at the Liverpool Users of .Net User group about Domain Specific Language Tools and T4 templates.

The general flow of the talk will be:

  1. A brief overview of Domain Specific Languages.
  2. What are the Microsoft DSL Tools and examples of toolkits in use
    1. What the Microsoft DSL Tools are not
  3. Where they can be used and how they can help developers and end-users.
  4. And a step-by-step guide of the creation of a DSL Tool (hopefully this can be workshop based).

If you would like to attend it is being held at AIMES (http://upcoming.yahoo.com/venue/123846/) the event information can be found on upcomming: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/454169/

I will make the slides available if anyone wants to look at them.  All I have to do is work out what to say!

If you know of any good tools implemented using the DSL Toolkit, let me know and I will include them in the talk.

Topicala Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Topicala Business Search

I am just about to release some Business Listing search software.  It is called Topicala Business (http://www.topicala.com/business/). If you are the owner of a UK business you have to opportunity to claim your listing and add a description of your line of business, a list of services you offer and contact information such as a URL, Address and telephone numbers for free.

Topicala Business is Unique in that it also searches the web for you so that you can find out what your customers and competitors are saying about your business.

If you know your company number you can visit your page by typing in the follow www.topicala.com/business/{companyNumber}.  Alternatively, you can perform search on the business name from either the main page (http://www.topicala.com/business/ ) or by using a direct query string request. For example, Topicala Ltd can be found using the URL http://www.topicala.com/business/topicala or http://www.topicala.com/business/06512461

The information is pulled from Companies House (http://www.companies-house.gov.uk) and is licenced under Crown Copyright.

I am still in the process of loading business information but there are already 169106 companies listed.  Granted, only the registered addresses are available.  But as more companies use the site, the more information that will be available.

Anyway, give it a try, claim your business and edit your listings so that potential customers can find your business.  All the Business Listings are submitted to Google, so you can promote your listings how you like to give your company information a boost on the search engines.

I will be adding more features as I go, but I am very interested in any comments you have or any features you would like to see.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I am now on twitter.

Twit me. My username is PaulKinlan http://www.twitter.com/PaulKinlan

Topicala Tags: , ,

Liverpool .Net User Group

A few .Net developers have gotten together in Liverpool to form a User Group where we can discuss everything .Net.

We have a web page with a rather snappy URL (http://www.usersof.net/), so if you are in the area and are interested in .Net why not join the Google group http://groups.google.co.uk/group/liverpoolusersofdotnet and come to meetings if you want(The next one is April the 17th 2008 - http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/454169/).  The more the merrier.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Know your Privacy, an Application on Facebook

I have created the "Know your Privacy" application on Facebook.

This application is designed to give you insight into how the data in your profile is available to Third Party applications.

Key pieces of your Facebook profile are available to external applications, this information could be used for purposes that harm you.

The application can be found at http://apps.facebook.com/knowyourprivacy/

Please let me know what you think of the application and if it helps you understand the privacy aspects of letting 3rd Party applications into your Facebook profile.


This application is for your informational purposes only. This application in no way suggests that the applications that you have installed in your profile are in anyway using your data for purposes other than those set out by their privacy statements.

The advice given by this application is common sense and in no way represents the opinions of my employer's past, present and future. The information is not guaranteed to be correct, and the author cannot be held responsible. If you require accurate information contact your local authorities. Informational Links are at the end of this application.

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft contact the police and your banks immediately.

Identity Theft Information

If you would like more information about Identity theft, please contact your local authorities, police, credit reference agencies and banks.


Topicala on Facebook

I have added the Topicala (www.topicala.com/) application in to Facebook (www.facebook.com). 

If you add this application you will be able to search the Internet with directly leaving Facebook.

The application can be found at http://apps.facebook.com/topicala/

The application was really simple to develop and doesn't require that you pass any personal details to Topicala.

Let me know what you think.  I appreciate all feedback.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

IDataRecord Fields to Dictionary Extension Method

I have never been a fan of directly passing IDataRecords, or IDataReaders for that matter, about the place to get simple field values out.

Therefore, with the introduction of C# 3.0 and Extension Methods, I thought it would be cool to write (and share) a simple implementation of some code that I use to convert the IDataRecord Field data to an Dictionary<string, object> object.

namespace Kinlan.Data.Extensions
public static class DataExtensions
public static Dictionary<string, object> FieldsToDictionary(this IDataRecord dataRecord)
Dictionary<string, object> fieldBag = new Dictionary<string, object>(dataRecord.FieldCount);

if (dataRecord != null)
for (int fieldIdx = 0; fieldIdx < dataRecord.FieldCount; fieldIdx++)
string name = dataRecord.GetName(fieldIdx);
object value = dataRecord[fieldIdx];
fieldBag.Add(name, value);

return fieldBag;

It is quite simple really and nothing too complex.

A place where it can be used it Windows Workflow.  If you are injecting parameters into your Workflow instance you need to pass a Dictionary<string, object> in, well now you can (if you desired) simply convert a IDataReader/IDataRecord object into with the following simple piece of code:

WorkflowInstance instance = runtime.CreateWorkflow(typeof(_WorkflowClass_), dataReaderInstance.FieldsToDictionary());

This code should be used sparingly, for instance if you wanted a very high performance access to the field data, you might as well stay on the IDataRecord.