Doodle Grouper: A How-To

Posted 28 November 2011, 23:00 | by | | Perma-link

Doodle Grouper LogoWhile it's clearly perfectly understandable to me how Doodle Grouper actually works, I'm occasionally reminded that it's not as intuitive for others as I'd like, so here's a little "How-To" guide, that covers most of the features that currently exist in

Adding Users to a List

The easiest way to add a user to a list is to use the "Add to list..." action the plugin adds to the actions on the User Icon:
The "Add to list..." Action

This brings up the "Add User To List" Dialog:
Add User To A List

Here you can add the user to an existing List by selecting it from the list, or create a new List, press "Add a new list" and then select it and press OK.

The Lists you create with this plugin appear in the User Lists tab of Seesmic:
User Lists

You can display or hide the columns by clicking on them - the order they appear in the main Seesmic space is determined by the order you show them.

Modifying a List

Once you've displayed a list, you can modify it through the column settings, selecting "Modify this list..."
"Modify this list..."

Then on the "Modify List" dialog, you can rename the list, add more users manually (it's Case Sensitive so be careful doing it this way), delete the entire list or remove a user by selecting them from the list and pressing "Update":
Modify The List

The remove function only removes one user at a time at the moment.

Advanced Functions

On the Settings pane for the Doodle Grouper plugin, you can import and export your lists for example for use on a different computer. While you can export the file to pretty much any location you like, note that you can only import a file from within your "My Documents" folder.

Doodle Grouper Settings

The format of the xml is as follows:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ArrayOfUserList xmlns:xsi=""
    <Name>List Name 1</Name>
      <string>User Name 1</string>
      <string>User Name 2</string>
    <Name>List Name 2</Name>
      <string>User Name 3</string>
      <string>User Name 4</string>

I tend to leave Seesmic running, and have encountered memory issues when running with too many lists, so I added the ability to throttle the number of updates that the plugin keeps in each List.

If you "Enable logging", the plugin will add more verbose details into the Seesmic log file to tell you what it's doing.

At the time of writing ( the "Enable grouping of retweets" doesn't currently work.

Filed under: Plug-ins, Seesmic

Doodle Grouper Released

Posted 05 April 2011, 11:25 | by | | Perma-link

Update: There's now a "How-To" guide to Doodle Grouper 28/11/2011

Doodle Grouper LogoA quick update to say that I've recently pushed out an updated version of my Seesmic Desktop plugin Doodle Grouper - note that the marketplace version is a bit old, but is the quickest way to install it, and it will auto-update to the latest version.

Key changes since the last update:

  1. Much smaller download - easy mistake to make, I'd left the references as "Copy Local", seeing as I'm either referencing core framework libraries, or the main Seesmic SDK libraries, there's no need for me to include a copy of them.
  2. Controllable memory footprint - one of the issues with this plugin is that it delivers updates to new timelines, which seems to have a fairly impressive impact on memory usage in the SLLauncher process. I've added a plug-in wide setting that will limit the app to only keeping a certain number of updates in each group.
  3. Controllable logging - as I've added more logging to the plug-in, which no-one else should care about, it makes sense to disable this by default, obviously now that Seesmic uses a database file for persistent storage, it means I can't hack around in an XML file to change this, so I've had to add a check-box to my settings page, and I guess I'll be in trouble if I break the settings template at the same time as something else.


Filed under: Plug-ins, Seesmic, Silverlight

Further work on Seesmic Desktop

Posted 15 July 2010, 22:56 | by | | Perma-link

Update: There's now a "How-To" guide to Doodle Grouper 28/11/2011

Update: I've uploaded a newer version, for more details see: Doodle Grouper Released 05/04/2011

Doodle Grouper LogoSo, with Seemic Desktop 2 hitting Beta this week, I thought I'd just let you all know that I've updated my plugin, Doodle Grouper to work with the current version.

Since the last version, talked about in "Playing with Seesmic Desktop", I've tidied up the interfaces a bit, so they are more in keeping with the main shell theme. This was actually a fairly simple process, as simple as binding the style of the ChildWindow declaration to the main theme:

<controls:ChildWindow x:Class="DoodleGrouper.View.TempModifyGroupWindow" [...]
                      Style="{StaticResource CustomMessageBox}">

And that's it, pretty much, nice, grey dialogs, with pretty buttons on them. The only other thing I had to do was ensure that the Foreground colours of my text blocks were white so that they showed up:

Add User To List Dialog

So to sum up the changes:

  • The plugin now inherits the theme from the parent shell.
  • Groups can be renamed.
  • You can now add and remove users from a group - simple click on the Settings icon for a group, select the users you want to remove from the group, and press "Update", no additional tweets will be shown in that group, and next time you open Seesmic Desktop all their updates will be gone.
  • You can add users to the group at any time, no need to wait for them to post - just add them in, and the next time they post they'll appear - ideal for those infrequent posters that you really want to flag up.

Next on my list to consider is a way to enable popup toast on a per-group basis.

This plugin has two main advantages over the "user lists" feature in Seemic:

  1. It's not tied to just Twitter accounts - you can add Facebook and Google Buzz users in there too, in fact any account that shows posts on the "home" timeline should appear in the group timeline.
  2. It will auto-update - Twitter lists don't (didn't? I've not tried them much recently) update automatically, because each one needs to be requested individually, and this will eat into your api usage quite quickly. As these are updated as posts arrive, they don't use up that precious resource.

If you want to get your hands dirty:

  • The source - you'll need to update the references to the Seesmic.Sdp.* libraries.
  • Doodle Grouper (a repeat of the link to the compiled plug-in from above)

As always, let me know how you get on with it.

Filed under: Plug-ins, Seesmic, Silverlight

Playing with Seesmic Desktop

Posted 05 May 2010, 17:16 | by | | Perma-link

Update: There's now a "How-To" guide to Doodle Grouper 28/11/2011

Update: I've uploaded a newer version, for more details see: Doodle Grouper Released 05/04/2011

Update: I've uploaded a newer version, for more details see: Further work on Seesmic Desktop 05/07/2010

Doodle Grouper LogoI've just spent a couple of evenings playing around with the Seesmic Developer Platform - an early release of their Silverlight 4 based, out-of-browser Social Media Client Seesmic Desktop.

In terms of history, I'd started with the Adobe Air based Seesmic Desktop, moved to Seesmic for Windows as soon as it was announced, and missed some of the features, but none of the resource hogging of the Air version.

The latest version of Seesmic Desktop seems like it will be able to address many of my issues - and if it doesn't, well, then it's built with extensibility in mind - the Seesmic team have taken one of the key additions to Silverlight to heart - Seesmic Desktop 2 uses the Managed Extensibility Framework, or MEF, to enable developers to easily create plugins.

With that in mind, here's the beginnings of the fruits of my labours - a plug-in for Seesmic Desktop that allows you to group users into columns that auto-update as new tweets/updates come in - yes, I know, the previous versions can all do this, and I'm sure the Seesmic guys will add it soon enough, but I always find that having a goal in mind drives me to learn about stuff more than just hacking around with no real direction.

This is currently version 0.0.1 - so it's very raw around the edges:

  • I need to work out how to pick up the parent's themes correctly (the buttons are nicely themed, but the forms aren't.
  • There's no way through the UI to remove a user from a group.
  • There's no way through the UI to remove a group.

Certainly the last two will be resolved fairly shortly Wink

You can download:

  • The source - you'll need to update the references to the Seesmic.Sdp.* libraries.
  • The compiled plugin - Save to Documents\Seesmic\Seesmic Desktop 2\Plugins

Thanks go out to Tim Heuer for his Seesmic Developer Templates.

As a basic overview, this project uses:

  • A global TimelineItemAction to allow the user to add someone to a group.
  • A TimelineItemProcessor to deliver items to the correct timelines/columns/groups.
  • SidebarActions to provide access to each group.
  • The StorageService to save group information.
  • The LogService to write rather a lot of information to the logs - I assume at some point we'll be able to say "don't write out Info level logging" or some such, but while we're all debugging this is invaluable.

The log file can be found in Documents\Seesmic\Seesmic Desktop 2\Logs and you get quite a bit of detail about loading, etc for free.

As ever, let me know how you get on, or come and join us all making it better.

Filed under: Plug-ins, Seesmic, Silverlight