Bloglines to Ask.com as well, but that doesn't mean he's going to stop making software. And it's not just any software he makes, either. Those two projects changed millions of peoples' lives.Mark Fletcher builds software, that's just what he does. He may have sold the system that became Yahoo Groups for $400 million, and then made millions selling
Tomorrow morning Fletcher will unveil his newest creation, a lightweight group communication tool called SnapGroups. We first wrote about it two weeks ago but hadn't been able to take a look until tonight. We're happy to report that you're probably going to like it a lot: it's easy, it's clear, it's got good social design and it's real time. Check out the screenshots below.
Update: Just after we posted this, Fletcher says he's lifted the password from the site and it's live!
SnapGroups makes it really easy to create a group discussion around a particular topic, invite people, set variable privacy controls and then participate in that conversation as part of a whole "newsfeed" style stream of updates from all your various groups in one place. Fresh comments, likes and dislikes get pushed to your browser live using a home-made bit of AJAX and the whole thing couldn't be much simpler. It's a lot of fun to use, in fact.
Fletcher says this is only the beginning, that all kinds of features are still to come, but he's focused on the basics for now. He started working on the site in October and says his favorite part of the project was "learning about the new technologies that have sprung up in the past couple years." "The various databases that have come out recently are great," he told us. "I'm using Mongo, but there are many interesting projects now." The core of the site is written in C++.
Fletcher says SnapGroups will go live tomorrow morning. You should try it out when it does. Invites to groups will no doubt be flying around Twitter and Facebook. It may very well become something you want to use regularly. Hopefully there will be a way to export your conversations easily. Fletcher is a pretty straightforward guy and will probably implement just about anything that enough people ask for and that isn't too hard to do.
Mark Fletcher has a habit of building relatively simple things, like the first major email list system and the first popular RSS reader, that end up being a defining player in the rise of a new era online. Simple, real-time group communication? Not at all hard to imagine that being a big new thing as well.