Showdown Reboot

Comparing only Facebook-related data wasn’t that much fun, so I decided to soup-up the Social Media Showdown!* app to take into account sharing information from Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg, and LinkedIn. It’s now a lot more entertaining to see which side gets which trophies:

Thankfully all of the services mentioned have public APIs which make getting the share data a piece of cake. This handy Share Counts page details how to do it for all of the major APIs.

The only service I didn’t use the API for was Google+, and that’s because I sadly didn’t find that API page until I was about half done the reboot. Until recently, there was no way to read the number of +1’s a site had gotten, so clever people had found ways to parse that information out of the source code. I took this approach, but will go back and do it the more correct way later on.

Other than pitting sites against each other, this kind of data can be useful for creating your own share buttons or tracking the popularity of a website. It could also probably be used to answer some interesting questions – Are G+ users really more technical, or do they like cat pictures just as much as Facebook users? Are the different services used to share different kinds of information, or are they strict competitors? Does popularity on a particular service correlate with anything? Though for now I don’t see myself doing much else with these APIs.

The only other major change to the app was that I removed my custom built JavaScript library and replaced it with jQuery. For personal projects, I’ve tried to only use JS libraries for GUI components, since I was worried I’d be missing something if I relied too much on a library. However, I now feel pretty comfortable with the guts of JavaScript and the DOM, so writing my own utility functions seems a bit silly.

Over time I think jQuery has won out as my favorite all purpose library. Initially YUI blew me away, and I still think its an awesome library, but I’ve come to dislike the verboseness of its syntax. Anyway, I hope you find the updates to the app entertaining. Let me know if you have any suggestions/feature requests/etc!

* Formally known as “Website Showdown!”. I figured “Social Media Showdown!” made more sense.