Friday, March 20, 2009

Taipei App Engine Sprint 2009

I went to Google Taipei office to join an event 'Taipei App Engine Sprint' with my team mate 'olv' and 'tick'. We heard this news from 'Ping Yeh' in Tossug and got the invitation from him. It's a whole day event and we would like to build a web site by google app-engine in a day. There were about 20 people and we separated to 5 groups. My team name is 'Dabajianshan' and actually it's a conference room name in their office. They name all conference rooms by famous sightseeing place in Taiwan. Also, we found a new team mate 'Daniel Lin' and he knows web applications much much more than our three Linux engineers.

We launched a new web site 'Sight History'. Using Picasa Web Albums, we can search all their photos by keyword and group those photos by different time lines. Thanks a lot for Google Service APIs, they provide very useful, convenient, comprehensive API services and good readme documents. That is probably the main reason why we can build this site in a day (less than 10 hours). There are only two tricky points. The first one is 'community search'. With this API, we can search photos uploaded by Picasa users, as long as they are in a public album. This function is quite amazing and it means we can search whole Picasa Web Albums in Internet. BTW, Google has a limitation for their Google Data Service API searching function and we can only retrieve 1000 records. When I make a search in Picasa Web Albums, the total results are over 100,0000 photos most of time. I am so glad even only 1000 images are still quite meaningful for our search.
The second one is 'grouping photos by a time line'. Like search 'Cherry Blossom', we can get a lot of cherry images, and you would see most of them 'shot time' are in March and April. Why only in these two months? That is because Cherry blossom time is March in Japan, and April in East States. We also display the images in a Google Map and we can see where are these photos from. For users, they are easy to tell 'when' and 'where' to see Cheery Blossom!!!

Furthermore, we group Picasa web photos not only by 'month', but also by 'day' and 'hour'. Like search '阿里山日出', it's a very famous mountain in Taiwan and people visit it coz of beautiful sunrise. By our search, we can see what time most people can see sunrise in this place. That is a very interested searching result. I can see the images in 3AM-4AM, most of people start to take the train or start to leave hotels. The most images are in 4AM-6AM, then I can tell people can see pretty sunrise in this time slot.

In the end of day, our team won the first place in Taipei App Engine Sprint. I got a very cute 'Google App-Engine' t-shirt and a certification from Google. :)

Here is our web site:

Download the source code:

You can clone this repository with the following command:
git clone git://

PS. some photos about this event in my picasa web album

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