Scout for the iPhone: BirdDog

Shawn Veader of V8 Logic has released BirdDog, an iPhone application for Scout. The app is on sale for $1.99 through Thursday.

With BirdDog, you can track the health of servers you are monitoring with Scout. BirdDog provides an alert history for each server, highlighting any active alerts. It’s a simple way to stay on top of your server infrastructure for the price of a cup coffee.

You can download the application from the iTunes App Store.

I pestered Shawn a bit about BirdDog and iPhone development below.

What was the original inspiration behind BirdDog?

My primary reason for developing BirdDog was to have a quick view of my servers being monitored by Scout. I love Scout’s web interface when I’m at the desk, but I had moments where I was out and using Mobile Safari on the iPhone just wasn’t quick enough. The secondary reason was to get my feet wet doing Objective-C and iPhone development. I enjoy learning new things but sometimes need a good project to really sink my teeth into a new technology.

Can you give some background on your experience w/Ruby and Objective-C?

I’ve been developing in Ruby, mostly Rails, since 2005. I only started learning Objective-C last year when I started tinkering with iPhone development. These days I spend time trying to figure out how to do more Ruby type things in Objective-C.

Can you give an overview of BirdDog?

BirdDog is a simple view of your servers and the alerts. After authenticating with Scout, the application displays a view of your servers sorted by status (eg: servers with active alerts or failing status are bubbled to the top). Selecting a server will display a quick view of the alerts and allows you to drill in to view the details of each alert.

I have big ideas for upcoming releases of BirdDog, including: multiple accounts, views of plugins and possibly some pretty graphs like those on the Scout website.

What do you like most about Objective-C? Least?

As with most folks, I tend to view new languages through the lens of old, familiar ones. In my case, I see a lot of the way Objective-C works through my experience with Ruby. The C-style syntax doesn’t bother me as much as language features such as the lack of modules/mixins that I’ve grown accustomed to in Ruby. Obj-C does have categories which allow you to extend existing classes. However, I like to be able to abstract functionality in a way the subclassing just doesn’t lend itself to.

A bit about yourself?

I’m a Georgia Tech graduate who’s worked with most web development platforms in the last decade (The big exception, thankfully, was Java). Having been doing the web “thing” for so long, my latest interest is to possibly transition focus to the mobile space. I founded V8 Logic (actually part of V8 Labs LLC) sometime last year to do some consulting on the side and to house my iPhone projects.

Favorite apps for the iPhone?

That’s a tough one. 1Password and Things get a lot of use. Twitter, Reeder, Instapaper, Textie, and a few photography related apps round out the collection.