Ferret is a proof-of-concept app for journalists which helps find the first relevant tweets about a breaking news story. Ferret graphs the number of tweets for a given search term and allows you to retrieve only those tweets sent in a time period you choose, most often just before the explosion of noise on twitter drowns out the rare, relevant tweets. Ferret (originally called ‘Low Pass’) won the Build the News Hackathon. It was further developed over two weeks by myself and one other developer, hosted by the Times digital team.

I was responsible for the entire front end development of Ferret. For this I used Google’s web component library Polymer. The front end codebase is incredibly modular and DRY as a result. Polymer and web components are incredibly nascent technology and while building a proof-of-concept, cross-browser support was not a priority.

I wrote a blog post following our winning the original hackathon. There is also a post on the Times Development blog about our first week working at The Times.

Ferret can be demoed here and its source code is available on GitHub.