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No Diggs for DiggTop Yet

Posted by Sravan | October 21, 2008 .

I realize that this AIR application has been around for a year and a half, and I expect it to have been at its most popular around six months ago when it had been placed on the Adobe AIR Marketplace, but DiggTop caught my attention only now.

When Digg announced its Digg API Contest last year, the developers at GSkinner used Adobe Flex, Adobe AIR (then still Apollo), and Digg API to create a useful little app that allows Diggers to get their custom feeds from Digg to their desktop. Not only the summaries of news stories, but also images and videos can be seen right on the DiggTop view window. Very useful.

DiggTop Screenshot

On top of this, DiggTop has some interesting features like the bad words filter (especially useful to screen NSFW feeds), or the notification of articles based on a minimum number of Diggs or specific keywords, or even the highly customizable feeds itself. The MiniMode, IMHO, however, is inconsequential because users can’t navigate across feeds in this mode unless by switching back to the original mode.

The tiny AIR app (580KB) in its version 0.5.0 already has too many features packed in it, which is great. But there are two big problems: the app windows are too small and not resizeable, and the memory management is extremely poor. The latter is especially surprising and begs GSkinner’s attention. It is the most memory-consuming AIR app I’ve tried so far, capable of even giving stiff competition to Mozilla Firefox.

Actually, the app being in version 0.5.0 even eighteen months after its first release makes me wonder whether its development has been abandoned. It would be such a pity.

Coming to the tinier bugs, not all videos can be played, the images slideshow seems to pause between slides longer than the set time, the “Always on top” feature doesn’t have a checkbox, and the word “articles” is misspelt in the “Bad Words” settings panel.

I don’t digg DiggTop, but I am not burying it either, not unless the folks behind it have. Diehard Digg fans can try it from here.

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2 Comments so far
  1. Grant Skinner  December 18, 2008 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the review Sravan. Poor DiggTop has been neglected for awhile. It was originally built primarily as a tech demo, with no real thought to a long life, which is the main reason the memory usage is so bad – no real attention was paid to this by the developer that worked on it here, and it was never tested like a normal app would be. I think it might also be precaching images from articles, which would cause a bit of a memory glut (particularly if it isn’t releasing them properly).

    We might revisit (or more likely rebuild) the app some day soon, time permitting. Clean up the design, make it more usable, code it to be memory / CPU friendly from the start, and address some of the many feature requests we’ve had since it was released. No promises, but I guess that’s advantage of an economic downturn… more time to build fun stuff. :)

  2. Sravan  December 19, 2008 9:41 pm

    You’re welcome, Grant. Rebuilding or even revisiting is a great idea. I look forward to trying it again. Let us know when you do it.

    And you’ve a cool website. :)

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