Quartz ComposerIt’s one of those unexpected findings! Today when I arrived at work the usual television in the boss‘s office had been replaced by a nice plasma screen, pretty much everybody notice the huge package left on the hall, so you couldn’t actually manage to pass it without noticing it. Anyway, later on that that, as the tribe suspected Celso connected it to his mac mini, well we thought there it goes, we had a Apple Media Center at work, but not only did he wanted that, we wanted to get the plasma to keep constantly showing off information about SAPO portal, stuff like stats, latest photos uploaded, latest queries, etc, but we search over the net for something that might do the trick, nothing!

That’s when I figured out that in my laptop I had the answer: Quartz Composer, this little application that comes with XCode (Developer/Applications/Graphic Tools) does a hell of a job and pretty much easy to get into too!

I’ve used it to build a simple screen-saver for Mac OSX that would show the latest photos uploaded to our photo-sharing site: fotos.sapo.pt, the source would have to be the site RSS feed.

In the end it was incredibly easy to make it with Quartz Composer, the user interface is simple, although the composer lacks a bunch of nice and more powerful functions that would make it simply great! For instance, the feed of the site comes with URL’s for the page photo, not for the photo itself, so I wanted to strip down the last slash, that would make the difference, you don’t have a patch (the name of the available functions in the composer) for extracting substrings, so I had to use 3 different patches (string length, math for subtracting and truncate) to do the same job.

ScreenshotScreenshot

Here’s the result, it ain’t suposed to be pretty (I still haven’t fixed the problem with large images), but it’s a proof of concept rather than an actual product! 😉