Announcing Glitch: A friendly tool for developing and deploying your projects


#1

Hey everyone, I’m excited to be able to announce a budding partnership with the makers of Glitch, created by Fog Creek software.

What is Glitch, you ask?

Glitch is the friendly community where you’ll find or create the app of your dreams.

Check out their product principles in a post written by Fog Creek CEO Anil Dash.

Marketing speak aside, I see Glitch valuable to Brigades because it provides a user-friendly development environment to create projects that can instantly be redeployed (“remixed”) using tools that are already common in the CfA ecosystem like Node.js and Github.

How can I use Glitch?

Glitch is a way to develop, host, and collaborate on projects.

You can start a new project on Glitch. Maybe you want to make a map with Mapbox. Maybe you want to create a visualization of data from your city’s Open Data Portal. Or maybe you’re looking to learn to code?

But Glitch’s real power lies in its ability to fork a project, which they call “Remix”. You can make copies of all Glitch projects, even without logging in. (No infrastructure needed!) Here’s a video demonstrating how easy it is:

On the technical side, your app will run as a node.js process much the same way as it would run on other infrastructure providers like Heroku (a container in a shared hosting environment). Access to databases can either be through an included sqlite file, or through reaching out to a traditional RDBMS (e.g. PostgreSQL on Amazon RDS).

What’s in it for me?

Glitch’s creators are serious about building a community here, and supporting promising use-cases for their product.

To that end, they will be helping our network with customer support straight from the source – the development team itself. (Join them in the CfA Slack #glitch-cfa channel.)

They’ve also extended an offer to provide engineering support to help deploy a couple projects on Glitch.

  • Perhaps you’ve been considering re-deploying Courtbot but just want a bit of tech help?
  • Perhaps you’re looking to help your government with a quick data visualization?

This is the kind of thing that we can partner with Fog Creek on.

Where you come in

Is anyone interested in giving this a try with me? I’d love to sit down for an hour or two with you to see if we can prototype something for your Brigade. Perhaps we can get something off the ground!

Contact me. Join the Slack channel. Let’s see if we can make something come of this.


#2

Two of the new projects we’re launching work on at NDCH definitely could come into play here. One is a chatbot, of which I previously built a proof of concept with botkit but any bot framework that can interface with a NLP would work. The other would be an SMS service to notify users when a food delivery is arriving. They often only have 24-48hr notice of when the truck will be in town. I’ve wanted to touch base with you on Twilio for that anyway, so if you want to ping me to setup a time, :+1: