Why Matchbox, and how it connects people through music

There’s no doubt that music defines us. It influences our moods, for example, making us happy by releasing a chemical named dopamine. It can affect what we wear, what we eat, and perhaps even who we enjoy being together with. It affects our thought process too (it’s well known that ambient noise can improve productivity).

In a study conducted amongst couples who were eighteen years old, it’s been found to predict personality traits. According to the same study, it’s what we’re most likely to discuss about when we meet somebody new, within the first few weeks. Psychologically, men and women who listen to similar music tend to be better communicators, and have longer lasting relationships.

It’s probably one of the most important things in our lives. If I were to place music on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I’d place it at the physiological stage. It’s a fundamental part of our society. Even the Hollywood movie directors (e.g. the scene from Interstellar) would agree.

Why not extend this to the social discovery apps we use today? None of them base their core on this. One of the most popular apps for social discovery, Tinder, uses Facebook page likes and interests, to match people together.

This is why Matchbox was created. It bridges the gap between “truly anonymous“, and “hey there“. The app shows you the top ten artists that are common between you and the person you’re looking at, giving you a fair knowledge of what that person would be like:

Matchbox showing the top 10 artists
Matchbox showing the top 10 artists

You’re more likely to be at ease knowing that the opposite person is a little similar to you. Matchbox was crafted with the sole intention that music is the key that connects us, and binds us together. It has evolved for over 9 months, before being made available to the world.

As it stands right now, Matchbox has a hundred active users, and is growing slowly.

Go ahead and test drive the app, and see for yourself how Matchbox re-defines the social discovery platform.

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Sending notifications via Apple’s new HTTP/2 API (using Jetty 9.3.6)

HTTP/2 is still very much new to Java, and as such, there are just two libraries who support it – Jetty (from 9.3), and Netty (in alpha). If you’re going the Jetty way (as I have), you’ll need to add their ALPN library to your boot classpath.

Note: Jetty 9.3.x requires the use of Java 8.

A full library for this is available here, on GitHub.

Here’s a quick example:

Discover – my second iOS app

iTunes Genius is a great feature. However, it lacks music discovery outside your own music library. Sure, you can always do a Google search for similar tunes, but let’s face it – who has time to do this anymore?

There weren’t any great music discovery apps on the App Store either. All of them either looked ugly, or had to be opened by the user. The content wasn’t available readily.

Then I thought of Discover. I wrote this app keeping in mind that the app would never have to be opened by the user, to see any content. Instead, why not present it in the Today screen itself? This way, the widget can refresh it’s content quickly and present it, in a beautiful manner.

Unobtrusive. Simply genius, isn’t it?

How can this be made any better? Provide buttons which directly search the iTunes Store or YouTube for the song recommended. This way, it’s easy for the user to try out new songs, with zero effort. Eureka! The effort of typing on the device is now gone!

I’ve submitted the app on the App Store for review, and I hope it will be accepted and published soon. Here’s a sneak peak of it:

Highlights of Discover
Highlights of Discover

Discover took a total of one month to complete. Although it was a simple app, I couldn’t give it much time day to day.

I love what it’s turned into. There’s so much that I’ve learned about iOS – auto layout, GCD, and the language itself.