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Author Topic: I'm working on a new Bitcoin application  (Read 9353 times)
Eli
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July 06, 2011, 10:06:56 PM
 #1


The Dashboard

I've discovered Bitcoin around two months ago, and like the majority of the users on this forum fell in love in the concept of Bitcoin in such a way that caused me countless hours of sleep, nerves, and friendships, but even so, I'm still in love with this beautiful, amazing, smart, and dangerous project like I've never been before.

Bitcoin is beautiful, no mistakes about it, but it's so young that's it still doesn't have any sense of fashion, and it's not exactly an approachable idea. If you are a techy that has some free time on his hands, you probably will invest the extra hours needed to understand what this all means, but we want all our friends to know how beautiful our new cash is, how smart it is and how it's going to change the world. The problem is it wears the most hideous cloths around, and sometimes theses cloths make it very hard to communicate with Bitcoin and people just don't see it's underlying beauty, and miss out on all the fun they could have with it (and boy, it's hell of a lot of fun, even when you consider Google+).

This introduction is how I view technology and the idea of Bitcoin, it's awesome and genius, it will change the world (at least one of it's iterations), and I simply must tell everybody I know (and trust me, I have) about it. It's like a new girlfriend that you're so in love with, that you just to shout out to the world. The problem is I'm like a fashion designer, and all my friends are really into fashion, and this new girl is showing up with the most hideous interfaces that it could find, and doing something useful with Bitcoin almost always requires a third party (which in turn is not a bargain interface/design either usually).

I want to change that and introduce to you how I see the Bitcoin client, how it should look and behave (let's face it, the current one behaves like a spoiled brat that requires 100% attention all the times, or else it will make you regret the day you started using it).

I've introduced it at first on the Bitcoin sub-reddit a few days ago, and got bothing but positive responses, so I guess it's time to show it here, and let you judge it Smiley

Introducing: Your Bitcoin Wallet (the name and the logo, like everything in this project, is open to suggestions...)

These are two screens I have designed so far for the client (I'm sorry to be so shallow and start with the looks, I'll get to it's brains in a moment):


The Dashboard


The Send and Recieve
It's a little cluttered for now, I know, it will be fixed.


I won't go into explaining everything that you see in the previews, I hope that you'll understand most of it by yourself, and after reading the features below, I'm sure that the rest will follow, so bare with me Smiley

Technology
The app is going to be developed in two stages, first I will start with relaying on the current client and it's JSON-RPC for communicating with the network, and only work on the User Interface and User Experience part of the application, which in my mind are the most two important factors right now for this project, and this is what I'm really good at. At stage two if there is still need, I will work on a custom Bitcoin client to make it work as needed.

It's not set in stone, but I think I'm going to use Python with web.py as the back-end for the application, communicating with the default Bitcoin client using JSON-RPC, for the front-end I'm going to use a Chromeless Chromium (I have three options to chose from for now: Awesomium, Berkelium, CEF) and HTML5, Javascript and CSS as the UI part of the app.

Using Python as the back-end and HTML/Javascript as the front-end will allow for a lot of flexibility, easy extensions from a variety of developers, and it's something I know pretty well (enough to support a nice salary in the past 7 years). It will also mean that this will be very portable, and will run out-of-the-box on Linux, Windows, and Mac. With little adaptations it will also run natively with the new Windows 8 UI, iOS, Android and perhaps even other platforms that I can't think of right now.

The application will be open-source except for some business related stuff (which I hope to make money of in the future, thin Dropbox if it had an open-source client) and code will be available on GitHub as soon as I start coding it, so you will be able to see exactly what's going on under the hood in the true spirit of Bitcoin, and develops will be able to help if they wish to.

Features Overview
There are tons of features I'd like this to have, some of them will make it, other won't. Here's a list of the features that I think and want in the app in no particular order (not listing interface look & feel features here):

  • Easy Currency Display and Payment - Want to know how much you have in US Dollars or Japanese Yen? Need to pay in Israeli Shekel? Directly show the value of your bitcoins in other currencies, send Bitcoin while entering a $ value and the app will do the conversion for you
  • Dashboard - Information at a glance - get all the details you need about your wallet in less than a second after opening the app
  • Human Readable Log - Want to know what your money did last month? Need to see why you have so much money all of a sudden?
  • Smart Address Book - This actually two features in one: a) A server managed address book where users can register and the system will manage Name -> Bitcoin Address conversions on-the-fly, and b) stupid-proof address issuing within the app that will generate a new Bitcoin address every time the user wants to make a transaction - that way we ensure that even our moms and dads enjoy the anonymity that Bitcoin offers and make the network safer and harder to track in general
  • Future Payments - Have a monthly/weekly bill to pay? Need to transfer a weekly paycheck? Want hassle-free monthly donations?
  • Offsite Backup and Safe - Store your wallet on a remote location, use the wallet anywhere you like (not a hosted solution - I don't believe in those, and they don't conform to the Bitcoin spirit)
  • Intrinsic Encryption - Bitcoin wallets will be encrypted by default, and app will periodically make sure that data is not accessible to anything and anyone (who isn't authorized)
  • Offsite Backup and Safe - Store your wallet on a remote location, use the wallet anywhere you like (not a hosted solution - I don't believe in those, and they don't conform to the Bitcoin spirit)
  • Compartments in the wallet - Want to save up for a collage fund? Putting a little something every month for that new iPad you want so badly? Easily divide your wallet into compartments
  • Easy Wallet Loading - The app will not be tied to a single wallet like it is right now, but rather you will be able to easily open and close wallets (securely!)


I hope that this feature list will grow, but even as it is right now, there is enough work for a year, and all of those features is something I know that I want and need, and these kind of features is what in my opinion bring even the lay person types to be able to use Bitcoin without feeling like they don't understand it. It will be just another PayPal for them.


About me and how this came to be

I'm a 26 years old entrepreneur and a web applications designer and developer. I found about Bitcoin a little over a month ago, and as I've mentioned above, fell completely in love with this idea. I've lost countless hours of sleep because of Bitcoin, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Bitcoin is just that amazing to me - I'm sure that at least some of you understand how I feel Smiley

I truly love simplicity, aesthetics and easy of use, and I believe that one of the most important drivers for Bitcoin in the future will be something that is easily approachable, looks good, and works the way people need it to work, and that includes features that I haven't seen anyone even talking about. I think that what Bitcoin needs is an iPhone - a piece of software that makes a huge pile of ground braking technologies go down to the consumer level, and give them the tools they want and need, and let them feel like they've found a gem. The problem with Bitcoin as I see it, is that we constantly need to explain to others how it works and then they think it's just too damn smart for them, or they found the single most important flaw in Bitcoin that no one noticed, and walk away. To use Bitcoin you don't need to understand the underlying technologies or even the ideas behind it the same way that people don't understand the underlying principles of our regular monetary system and have no problem using the money to finance those who do.

The metaphors I used throughout this post are intentional to try to convey to you how I feel about Bitcoin and how outsiders view and perceive it. It is hard to explain and understand Bitcoin, and I think the Wiki is more than enough, and we should start trying to make it accessible to everybody, and the sooner the better.

I have all the will and most of the knowledge needed to make this thing a reality and with the amount of attention this got on the original reddit post it looks like I'm going to invest quite a lot of time in this in the coming future. I'm willing to quit my nicely paying job to work on this full-time with nothing but bills, food, and rent covered, but unfortunately I don't have enough saved up to do just that, so the fate of this project is in your hands basically. The more funding I can get for it, the faster it will become a reality.

And that brings me to the subject of you support - donations!


Show your support!

If you want to help me make this a reality and bring Bitcoin to new levels of adaption and exposure you can help me fund this project or start coding with me!

You can help by spreading the word about this project, the more people join in and help with coding and funding,t he faster it will become a reality!

For direct Bitcoin donations use this address: 1Cm554iqhU9dLnZsi2LA5s1b576DdfM1GM

After I setup a website for the project, donations will be publicly visible, they are visible right now actually over here, and if you'd like your name and link showing up, just let me know.

You can drop me an email with the exact amount you've donated or the outgoing address, and I will add you to the thank-you-page.

If you're interested in investing in this project as a business, please contact me directly, I'm open for suggestions and options, I'm thinking of at two business models that can go with this and still be free and open-source.

P.S.
Moderators: I'm considered a n00b by the forum software and it won't let me post this to the Project Development forum, so if you feel like it belongs there more than here, I'll be happy if you move it there!
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labestiol
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July 06, 2011, 10:22:21 PM
 #2

Nice to see always more developpers at work to help bitcoin grow.

Don't forget, fancy features are not the priority yet. Priority is to find efficient ways to increase wallet security, that's to biggest factor to increase confidence.

Keep up the good work Wink

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July 06, 2011, 10:34:05 PM
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This is neat.

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July 06, 2011, 11:05:34 PM
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<3 this!!


Encryption and multiple wallets have me sold already.

Plus it looks pretty nice.


Only thing i have to say would be that to handle the conversions, you will need to reference an exchange. And since there are multiple exchanges, you should go ahead and plan on putting a dropdown selection of several common ones in the settings. (I'm a fan of pre-planning and setting up apps to have setting options built in from the start. It makes things so much easier down the road.)

As well with the backups, I would assume it going under the Accounts tab, in which you will have things like add, delete, move wallets. An export option as the backup would be nice as well.

As for encyrption, you have one of two routes. Either encrypt it so that accessible with the use of the program. Or Enable different forms of encryption upon export/backup.

I'll be favoriting this and checking in now and again. Keep up the good work.

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Eli
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July 06, 2011, 11:11:12 PM
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[1] Only thing i have to say would be that to handle the conversions, you will need to reference an exchange. And since there are multiple exchanges, you should go ahead and plan on putting a dropdown selection of several common ones in the settings. (I'm a fan of pre-planning and setting up apps to have setting options built in from the start. It makes things so much easier down the road.)

[2] As well with the backups, I would assume it going under the Accounts tab, in which you will have things like add, delete, move wallets. An export option as the backup would be nice as well.

[3] As for encyrption, you have one of two routes. Either encrypt it so that accessible with the use of the program. Or Enable different forms of encryption upon export/backup.

[1] I was planning on using MtGox, but letting the user configure that would be a smart option.

[2] Do you mean like plain wallet.dat export?

[3] I think I'm going to use TrueCrypt one way or another (embedded if possible), that way it's some sort of a standard and also pretty damn safe.
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July 07, 2011, 06:22:49 AM
 #6

Looks nice, seems to be pretty similar in concept to what I'm working on.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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July 07, 2011, 08:39:45 AM
 #7

This looks amazing. And is this just a proof of concept (as in hardcoded) or is it already working a bit? Following this thread for sure!

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patvarilly
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July 07, 2011, 08:49:55 AM
 #8

This client and John Smith's client both look quite interesting.  For managing my money today, I use something called "Budget", which I utterly swear by:

http://www.snowmintcs.com/products/budgetmac/

Maybe its working thinking about the Bitcoin clients converging on something like this "envelope" budgeting interface?
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July 07, 2011, 09:17:10 AM
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Maybe its working thinking about the Bitcoin clients converging on something like this "envelope" budgeting interface?
My take on this is somewhat different. I do not intend to include a full-blown budgeting interface, though export of data to such tools (using CSV, for example) is in the pipeline.

Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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July 07, 2011, 09:23:53 AM
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[1] I was planning on using MtGox, but letting the user configure that would be a smart option.
If you support switching to another currency, you need some provider that gives you an exchange rate. Different such providers could exist, some to USD or EUR or other national currencies, but also to completely virtual ones, such a digit-shifted bitcoin or indexed bitcoin. When exchange rates change, you could add virtual "interest" transactions into the wallet view.

Quote
[2] Do you mean like plain wallet.dat export?
We'll have (restricted) import/export of wallets to/from JSON soon in the main client, probably.

Quote
[3] I think I'm going to use TrueCrypt one way or another (embedded if possible), that way it's some sort of a standard and also pretty damn safe.
The next version (v0.4.0) is planned to have wallet encryption, so it may be unnecessary to depend on another encryption system.

aka sipa, core dev team

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Eli
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July 07, 2011, 12:49:46 PM
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Maybe its working thinking about the Bitcoin clients converging on something like this "envelope" budgeting interface?
My take on this is somewhat different. I do not intend to include a full-blown budgeting interface, though export of data to such tools (using CSV, for example) is in the pipeline.


For me it's less of a budget management, that will be done either by third-party plugins or by third-party apps, and rather an easy "tagging" of your money. The default Bitcoin client comes with a very simple but very useful tagging for address, I want to use just that but with streamlined UI and UX.
Eli
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July 07, 2011, 12:53:09 PM
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This looks amazing. And is this just a proof of concept (as in hardcoded) or is it already working a bit? Following this thread for sure!

It's currently in concept and design phase, I'm hoping to start coding this sometime soon, until then what you read above is what I have Smiley

I'll keep this thread updated with progress (at least I'll try!)
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July 08, 2011, 02:45:50 AM
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I want to congratulate you for you amassing design and creativity. Go for it.
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July 17, 2011, 12:34:49 PM
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I want to track this thread, so I'm replying to it  Grin
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July 21, 2011, 10:48:00 AM
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I still get a kick out of reading the "I found bitcoin and haven't thought about anything else for a month" type intros. I've read so many now, but I never tire.

This is great news, in many ways.

I think integration of buying and selling on mtgox et al. without leaving your gui would be a great addition.  For new users to have to leave a slick application and then go and see mtgox might be a bit of a shock!
Eli
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July 21, 2011, 02:53:32 PM
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I still get a kick out of reading the "I found bitcoin and haven't thought about anything else for a month" type intros. I've read so many now, but I never tire.

Are you kidding me? Smiley This is worse than my teenage crush that I had. My girl tells me that I talk about bitcoins while I sleep. Mind you it's been two months already, still on my mind 24/7 Cheesy
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July 21, 2011, 04:12:52 PM
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I get so little sleep since I discovered bitcoins that my coworkers say I look like a zombie every day.
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July 22, 2011, 04:48:19 AM
 #18

open to suggestions

Hi...

"bitcoin.exe -server"
would be very usefull to see all ip miners connected to the server, with total Mh/s.


Thanks.
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July 22, 2011, 04:53:49 AM
 #19

Beautiful work - I wonder if there might be support for plugins in the future?  For example a Mt. Gox or Tradehill plugin allowing you to exchange other currencies for bitcoins. They'd probably pay a developer (you) to build plugins.

Anyway - keep up the awesome work!   Grin

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July 22, 2011, 04:56:27 AM
 #20

Wow..just wow....can't wait to use this

If you like my post please feel free to give me some positive rep https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=trust;u=18639
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