Twitter + J2ME = Fun App

June 4th, 2007

When I first started writing mobile applications for fun (I was writing C++ desktop apps for my day job), I looked at three options:  Symbian C++, J2ME, and Windows Mobile/.NET Compact Framework.  The first thing I did was create the requisite Hello World application in each environment.  The app took about two minutes to create using the .NET CF, about an hour using J2ME, and I could never get the darn thing to work under Symbian C++.  At the time, .NET was just gaining steam, I was already mucking around with C#, and the notion of using the same libraries (at least a common subset) to build desktop/web/mobile apps seemed brilliant.  I had also heard that the promise of “build once, run anywhere” with J2ME was a myth as each flavor of VM was slightly different or flat out broke.  I picked Windows Mobile/.NET CF as my ticket to building fun mobile apps.

I bought a Windows Mobile device (which I still have and still love) and started to build apps that I wanted on my device.  I am still a big Windows Mobile fan, but also recognize there are lots and lots (the majority) of mobile devices out there that are not Windows Mobile like Android. I have always been intrigued by J2ME and was always looking for a chance to build something simple that I would use.  I wanted to see for myself  if it was really possible to build a mobile app that could run on any phone and put the various JVM’s to the test.  Enter Twitter.

I signed up for Twitter way back in the early days (so long ago… like back in November) when Robert Scoble started blogging (thanks man).  At first Twittr (there was no ‘e’ back then) didn’t really add any value for me.  It seemed like it was cool for Scoble and his friends and early adopters in San Francisco; Twitter life was lonely for me at the time.  All that changed  after SXSW; soon lots of my friends started popping on Twitter and the utility of the app became apparent.  A friend who was in town for a business meeting, led to an impromptu lunch.  Twitter helped me connect with Alex King, who I had met before but hadn’t had a chance to really get to know (that alone was worth getting on Twitter).  I also get an idea what my friends are up to – I know when David and his awesome Tech Stars have been working ’till 3 am again.  Often you can find about what is hot before It becomes hot – sweet new site Michael!  And Twitter is just a great way to get thoughts out there w/o requiring a big time investment (Wirefly’s Twitter is pretty cool).  Twitter is one of my favorite apps!

And then my long awaited J2ME app became a reality… I turned on the SMS feature in Twitter and was getting constantly buzzed with incoming messages.  Knowing what Tim had for breakfast is a small piece of what makes Twitter so cool, but getting constant texts about things like that is a pain in the arse.  So, I decided to build a J2ME Twitter client that would behave similar to the web app – simple, simple, simple but useful.  I built Tiny Twitter to solve a few pains I had, a few friends started using the application as well, and you can get it too!  Even my great buddy Adam the bio VC guru is tiny twittering!  Keep in mind that this is a hobby for me, so if you have any problems or feature requests, I’ll add them to the queue and on the next rainy day, I’ll bust them out!  Happy mobile twittering!  Also, let me know if it works on your device – I am trying to prove/disprove the “build once, run anywhere” theory :)   I know it is currently borked on Ari’s Moto and is a bit sluggish on Danny’s Nokia, but hey got lots of open weekends coming up this summer I hope.
Oh, yeh, a VERY special shout out to my buddy Andrew Hyde for creating a killer landing page and being a great dude.  And there is also a sporum… that would be a spam forum.  Guess I should clean that sucker up.

Entry Filed under: Mobile

1 Comment

  • 1. Kevin Cawley Goes Mobile &hellip  |  December 16th, 2007 at 2:56 am

    [...] Earlier in the year I started regularly using Twitter… soon after (aka pre-iPhone era) I built a mobile Twitter client for my Blackberry. I built Tiny Twitter for several reasons, but mainly I wanted a way to avoid the SMS traffic. On nights and weekends over the past year I have tuned Tiny Twitter – mainly adding features and fixing things for me and my fellow Tiny Twitter users. The latest version, 0.9.9, is looking pretty good! [...]

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