Frustrations of ActionScript & Realising Something's Missing

For weeks now, something has been saying at the back of my mind that the Toupix website was missing something. Not just a little something such as a better layout or nicer polished graphics; this was something more fundamental.

I had spent some time trying to develop a Flash map to replace the rather basic and random photo map that currently sits on the site. However, after several wasted hours trying to learn and build an OO ActionScript project, this proved frustratingly impossible. People keep telling me I must learn ActionScript, and I do intend to...but I can't be the only person that finds the Flash/ActionScript combo a bit... messy? Anyway, pushing any ActionScript files aside, I reviewed the Toupix pages....

Then it clicked: what it was missing wasn't a super-slick Flash interface, but just a way of seeing photos where the user was nearby. Surely such a basic requirement for a social project could not be forgotten? Well, yes. Previously, the user could only view photos taken by themself, or photos taken by another (single) user where they were near each other. There was no way to say "see all the photos, by anyone, taken when I've been nearby". To that end, I created a new page (shared photos) that does just that: it maps all the photos where the user was present, and the photo taken by any other user.

sharedpics.JPG

Although it doesn't sound much, it at least allows people to more visually map their connections to other Toupix users. I plan to improve the social aspect of the site - the photography is almost secondary to the social context of the project. I'll also be concentrating on smaller details of the site now, such as showing inline tags for mapped photos.

However, the true test of the platform is how people use it and the social interactions that it informs. So, if you haven't yet done so, head over and sign up for the beta to start using the project. Being a social thing, the more people that use it the better...and please let me know your thoughts on the project!

Meanwhile, I've postponed the idea of the Flash-y interface until I get a good OO ActionScript book...