Monday, September 29, 2008

Launching Puzzazz

A month ago, I attended a Hackathon for Google App Engine at Google in Kirkland. I came away pretty impressed. During the Hackathon, I started a brand new project, Puzzazz. I literally started from scratch. I had to learn Python, Django, App Engine, and a few other things. I built a puzzle tracking system, a mini social network, and a bunch of other things. I even wrote some new Django middleware in the process that I'll probably release as open source.

After the Hackathon, I stole time in the evenings and weekends to finish the project, with the result being that I launched Puzzazz this morning at 12:01 AM Pacific Time.

I'm still impressed with App Engine. Sure, there are some limitations, some significant. Some limitations are because it's a preview release and some are fundamental design decisions related to the highly scalable architecture. Others have written plenty about the limitations, so I don't see the point of rehashing that here. But, as a result, App Engine isn't for everyone or every app. However, for those that fit the model, it's a powerful, game-changing tool.

I like App Engine so much that I'm going to use it for a very intensive project that I'll be starting in a few days. I'm not ready to share the details quite yet, but I will be blogging about it every day once I get started.

If you're wondering what exactly Puzzazz is, here's a brief summary from the About page:
Puzzazz has a simple mission: to give people who like puzzles a quick, fun diversion every day. Whether you're a casual puzzler or a serious puzzle addict, Puzzazz can fill the bill.

As a bonus, Puzzazz users can invite their friends to join in for some friendly competition. If you're a Twitter user, you can even have Puzzazz automatically tweet for you whenever you solve a puzzle.
If you like puzzles and, particularly, word puzzles, check it out. If you have any feedback, I'm happy to hear it. More details can be found in this post on my thisTangent blog.


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