meta: mgoblog iphone app. Beta testers wanted.

Submitted by elaydin on August 14th, 2010 at 12:46 AM

Back in the spring, Brian and I started talking about what it would take to put together an iPhone app (and lay the groundwork for other mobile apps).  After some work with drupal by Brian, and some Objective C fun by me, the basic code is now done.

I'm looking for a few (3?) people to help me test it out.

Requirements are as follows:

  • have access to a device that runs iOS4.  I'd like to get some device diversity (ipod/iphone, various generations)
  • some technical savvy 
  • patience.  Figuring out Apple's ad hoc distribution scheme sounds like a pain.
  • willing to provide constructive feedback and answer questions

Please email me at (at) gmail if interested.  Tell me what device(s) you currently use.

Keep in mind, the app isn't polished or "pretty" yet, so there's plenty of opportunity to shape the app.

Currently the app has 3 sections:  Front Page, MGoBoard and MGoDiaries.

Each section, when selected, loads a list of the recent posts.

Selecting a post will load the post, and its comments.  This looks similar to what a wordpress blog looks like on a mobile device.

There are iphone friendly screens for login, posting to the message boards and posting replies.

Some pics:

Front page:

This page will be redone once I get some artwork from Brian, but you get the basic idea.  The colors might change... buttons might appear, but in the end, you'll select one of 3 things.


Second level menu (this case, mgoboard), looks like:

I'll probably add some more info in there (timestamp).  Selecting will send you to:


This is hard to show without "scrolling", but basically it shows the reformatted original post, with comments.  The reply button pops open a screen to post a reply.

Sizes, colors, fonts are all negotiable.

My focus was on minimizing network traffic and time to load (which is why you don't see things like user avatars).  It also doesn't have any up/down voting (though that might be a future enhancement).

So email me if interested.  I'll post here when I've received enough volunteers.

UPDATE:  Yikes... went to bed, woke up, and now I have a million emails to go through.  I'll go through your emails and send out an update to everyone tonight.  Thanks for the interest.

UPDATE II:  When I said 3, I think I really meant 25.  Beta is now closed.  Expect further instructions soon.



August 14th, 2010 at 2:16 AM ^

Perhaps I'm an idiot, but I don't quite know how to e-mail you to sign up for the beta. I am, of course, interested in helping you out and posess all of the requirements. Translation: I'm a nerd with an iPhone.


EDIT: As it turns out, I am an idiot and didn't see your email address in the post.


August 14th, 2010 at 2:21 AM ^

Any interest in an ipad test? I know it dooesn't have iOS 4.0, and I don't know if it makes a difference but if it is helpful- this thing may actually have a concrete productive use


August 14th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

I assume you have three folks already, but if you need more, I'd be more than happy to offer constructive criticism and/or effusive praise. (3Gs)


August 19th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

Some people have this working, so I'm bumping this to get all the comments in one place.

Please comment on:

  • features you'd like added
  • any performance concerns
  • other info you'd like displayed
  • formatting
  • usability

For those who are having issues, I can work with you over email.


August 19th, 2010 at 10:25 AM ^

Last night was the first opportunity I had to get to it; I'll play with it more this evening. My initial impressions are favorable. It's stabler than I was expecting and has a nice, clean interface.

Some areas to consider tweaking:

  • I seem to get signed out every time I close the app. 
  • I'd like a "my account" page at the highest menu level.
  • I love me some maize, but this is an awful lot of it. 

These are just  my reactions to the 10 minutes I've spent playing with it. I'll post more when I've spent more tie with it.


August 19th, 2010 at 10:37 AM ^

When I login, it seems to stay logged on.  I'll look into it.  I might give an indication somewhere if you're logged on, or just "anonymous" .

That's the second "My Account" request this morning, so I guess I better look into it.

As far as the maize (the color I'm using is actually yellow )... yea... temporary.  I'm taking applications for background pics.  :-)


August 19th, 2010 at 10:10 AM ^

But I'm hoping the pics, embedded graphics and YouTube type links will be coming through the pages in the App. I have one that had MGoBlog as a link that did just that...which was great for the Main Page, but had nothing boards.  I don't think it's available in the App Store anymore.  But maybe we can figure out a way of me showing it to you if you don't get my meaning.

Other than that, I'll be judging it on ease of posting and loading (vs. the straight weblink).  And hope it's going to be a little prettier than the yellow pages it is now, but first things first.


August 19th, 2010 at 10:27 AM ^

Not the B&W one "Let's Go Blue" that just plays the songs (though this does, or did play songs too), but had a rosters page for each sport, and a schedule page (though the links there don't really work anymore since I think U-M squashed it). But it had a News page for each sport, and like The Detroit News, Ann Arbor News (heh) and MGoBlog.  So you click on MGoBlog, and it lists by title (black background, white titles) all the Front Page articles. You click on the article, and it's the text, black background, white text (though the title is in yellow, as are links, that you can click on and go to the webpage version of), with the pictures in full color (for instance, the Tate Forcier Hottie appears in it), then ends with a yellow "full article link" that just basically takes you to the webpage, but in the App, with all the posts included too (at which point you may as well be on it  in Safari).  And likewise, usually the YouTube video pops up, and you can play your favorite Michigan highlight in it without jumping to the YouTube app, and have it close and leave you at the article.  And the little gif graphics mostly work in it too.

I want basically that, but more MGoDedicated, with posting options, and maybe a little more pizzazz. And since I know at least that can be done, that was kinda the baseline I was working from.


August 19th, 2010 at 10:49 AM ^

App was a great idea, going to making viewing MGoBlog a lot easier on the go!


Few things:

  • As someone else mentioned, the background yellow  seems a bit much.
  • Open a main page story, pictures don't resize and you cant scroll over.  I would prefer the picture to be shrunk so it fits on the screen of my phone.
  • Just an idea - should comments on main page stores be opened by clicking a link instead of all appearing immediently?  I would prefer to be able to choose to open that.  A lot for for a device to load if the user does not want to look at comments.


With an App, I am guessing you are going to draw new users to MGoBlog.  I didn't see any functionality  for people to sign up for an account for the first time.

Just a few thoughts as I start to use it...


August 19th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

(because I've thought of them too)

I'll need to look into the resizing thing.  My first attempt to resize caused the entire page to resize, making some pages look super thin.  I need to try to just resize the picture.

One solution is to flip the phone 90 degrees to get a little more width.

The "load comments" is a good idea.

What I've noticed with free apps is that you do get all sorts of random downloads (which is why we want to make it free)... so yes, there should be a method to create an id.


August 19th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

So far no crashes or anything. The app seems very stable. Just a couple of things so far I have noticed.

  • There doesn't seem to be a confirmation of any sort when you login successfully. Led me to logging in about 5 times because I didn't realize I was logged in.
  • Mgoboard has no refresh button. Only way I have seen to refresh is to leave the boards then come back in. Would be convienient to have a refresh button. Also it would be nice if the topics had a time stamp or showed who created them.
  • Would also be nice if the main blog showed who the author was, too.

That is it for right now.


August 19th, 2010 at 11:28 AM ^

I actually do print on the bottom of the page the result of the login... though I bet the keyboard gets in the way.   I'll make a little pop up dialog window with the status.

I'll have to figure out where to put a refresh button, since the upper left takes you back, and the upper right is the "post" button... maybe a bottom entry in the list?

I'll add more info to the listings... authors and dates.  Those are easy.


August 19th, 2010 at 11:22 AM ^

Clicked on the six0 post about new t-shirts. 


1.  If the IPhone is held upright in the normal position you can only see about half of the graphics. 


2.  If you turn the Iphone on it's side and get the landscape vision while you still can't scroll you can see the whole picture. 


3.  I agree with khoeks the app either needs to:

resize all media to a set size


have a scrolling function. 


August 19th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

I don't know if you use the iphone twitter app or not, but it has a pull down to refresh feature. You basically drag the screen down then release and it refreshes the screen and posts a last refresh time. I dunno, just maybe something you could look at doing if there isn't space for a convienient refresh button.


August 19th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

A good idea, but a lot of work.  I programmed an iPhone App over a year ago, doing fancy things like dragging something or really working with the accelerometer can be tricky.  Don't know the OP's experience with iPhone programming, so maybe it wouldn't be a big deal.  Just a little food for thought.


August 19th, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

doing it like the facebook app, where you "reveal" the top row and select that to reload isn't too hard to do.  I'll put it on the list, though maybe a little lower since you can always go back and come back in.

I actually automatically reload if you post something.


August 19th, 2010 at 5:10 PM ^

How about including "Donate" and "MGoStore" links and/or functionality, as well? These would serve the proprietors more than the readers, but there's nothing wrong with that, I imagine.


August 20th, 2010 at 7:50 AM ^

  • You should add another front page item that gets you to Tracking for your own account. The board updates so fast, I think that's the main access point for a lot of people (so you can check on the threads you are participating in, rather than roll through the entire board each time).
  • Also also: there should be an option to just read my stuff, because we all know this is really Misopogon's world, and everyone else is just a playa, right?

spicy tuna

August 20th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

late to the party as usual, but thinking it could be cool to get push notifications for "breaking" news. things like wolfolk injury, ncaa investigation results, etc. not sure how easy or hard that would be, but i assume brian could just determine if he thinks something is pushworthy and send. i wouldn't want to get one every update, but that way i'd feel like i was in the loop if something big happened.

spicy tuna

August 20th, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

sorry, just thinking of other stuff that could be useful for a mich fan. like, might as well make it an all-in-one app. also, i dont even have the app so these are just conceptual things that people might like

- rss feed with articles from detnews, annarbornews, etc?

- updated schedule with kickoff times and tv/radio info (something that gets updated as they announce game times)

- a twitter feed could be cool too, like an aggregate of people (angelique, brian, etc)

don' t know if people would even care about this stuff, just trying to make the app more useful than just going to mgoblog on their browser. personally, the push notification thing alone would make the app worth having (and people could always turn that off if they didn't want them)

spicy tuna

August 20th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

sorry i can't stop thinking about this. i just feel like if you make this app the best michigan football app out there (there doesn't seem to be anything remotely good right now), you would probably pick up a lot of new mgousers.

- live scoring updates (would be awesome, probably really difficult - does somebody have a feed you could use for this for just mich?)
- would be awesome to be able to turn something on that somehow pushed updates as any team scored in a mich game (so if you couldn't watch the game, you would at least be up to date)
- something like this
that let you actually listen to the local radio station that had the game on if you're out of market - possibly linked through schedule section?
- create a free and paid (.99) version that do the exact same thing, the paid version would basically just be a donation. that way a lot of people would hopefully choose to give a dollar to help with upkeep, etc.

i'd love to pretend like i'll stop posting on this, but i'll probably have more. and sorry to bombard you, just figured you guys can take/leave whatever you want. you've probably thought about a lot of these already, but couldn't hurt to throw them out there if they're easily done.