Friday, January 08, 2010

How To Write Your First Jetpack Extension

I've been meaning to this for months, and I just kept putting it off. So many other things going on, so I didn't think I had the time. I decided to take a look this morning, finally, and put in the energy required to try this cool looking stuff out.

Took me ten minutes.

If you don't care about writing a Jetpack extension, but you have Jetpack installed, you might want to try out what I wrote. "Twitter, Who Am I?" is the name and making your currently-logged-in user at twitter.com obvious is the game. You'll get a nice label above all the pages, so you don't accidentally follow Ashton Kutcher with your business account.

The tutorial is fantastic, so I'm not going to try and rewrite or replace it, but I do want to make some comments about the process of getting into this. Firstly, the tutorial on the website is the same as that in the about page, but crippled. Same text, no interactive features. The tutorial built into Jetpack lets you edit and try out the samples, and the website uses the identical text without those features. It still tells you to push the install button, which doesn't exist. Use the about page.

It isn't obvious enough from the website how to get started. You can get to the tutorial and documentation, but none of it makes it obvious what to do with the stuff when you write it. The documentation for actually installing and distributing seems hidden. Again, the about page comes to the rescue. I'm going to assume they expect you to install Jetpack, get the about page up after the restart, and look at that stuff right away. If you don't, you're going to get lost.

Go to the about page and click the "Develop" tab. This will give you the install and deploy overview, as well as an editor you can test code from without installing the jetpack permanently.

I don't know if anything will come of it, but I created a subreddit for any interested parties.

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I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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