One app to rule them all?

Hey guys,

I built a life logging tool over the summer and I’ve learned a lot from building and using it every day. After researching the existing tools out there, I’ve come up with an idea for a project that will could help to focus the quantified self community better toward building an ultra-customizable app that serves everybody’s purposes and that everybody can help build together.

Here is the article explaining the idea in depth.

The short version is building an open source tool with a community and lots of plugins. If you want to import your Google Calendar data, you can write a plugin that lets you do that. If you’ve invented an amazing algorithm for finding correlations between data, you can write a plugin. Etc.

Additionally, you can build and run your own instance of the app such that your data never has to leave your server or computer. You have full ownership and privacy of data.

Please let me know what you think :slight_smile:

“We need a modular, open platform to tie everything together.” See Open mHealth?

“We need a standardized API and data format.” I’m all for promoting the use of standards (like JSON or OAuth) along with best practices to reduce the number of things that are done differently for no good reason. But I don’t think it’s realistic (or even desirable) for everyone to agree on a single data model “to rule them all”.

I’m also wary of services whose business model (or valuation…) depends on figuring out a way to monetize my data, but don’t think it’s fair to lump them together with services like Exist or Zenobase (which I run) that are explicit about not using your data without your permission.

Hey thanks for the thoughts. I hadn’t seen Open mHealth but that looks great.

You are right. Apps that are explicit about not using your data without your permission shouldn’t be lumped into the ones that do. I’ll be careful in the future about how I talk about data ownership/privacy.

What I’m most excited about though is the possibility of building a tool that anybody can build plugins for. That actually doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be open source - no reason you couldn’t allow people to write plugins for Zenobase I suppose. For example, if I want to import GitHub data, I can just make a plugin for that.

Do you know of any tools that would allow me to do that already?

You can use our Web API for that. It’s more limited than being able to directly plug into the application and extend the data model and UI, but also a lot simpler–plus you can use whatever language and tools you like.