CarCulatr – A 2006 mobile app in JavaScript

14 May 2006

In preparation for my first conference, XTech 2006 in Amsterdam, I developed a mobile price finder app for used cars and called it a bit jokingly CarCulatr. The app was based on Opera Platform an application runtime environment providing browser/phone integration introduced by Opera in 2003.

Just a bit before this event I co-founded PavingWays to explore and research mobile web technology, CarCulatr was our first project.


The idea: Whenever you go out on car markets and find a car of interest, you might be wondering what the average price for a car like that currently is on the market. So with your phone it would have been tedious (pre-iPhone world) to use online car portals and there needed to be an app for that!

The whole project consisted of a single-page mobile application written in JavaScript/HTML/CSS and a server component getting prices from the portals written in PHP.

Users would use the app's UI to define car make, age and mileage. A request to the server would trigger a crawler searching for matching offers on a big portal for used cars. The average price along with min/max and some other values were sent back in the response and users saw the result on their mobile phone (emulator).

Results looked like this:

CarCulatr Screenshot 1 CarCulatr Screenshot 2



While loading results from the server I displayed animated windscreen wipers instead of the usual Ajax loader - this was probably the biggest success factor of my presentation (aside from being asked to apply for a job at Opera by Håkon himself).

Ajax loader - animated windshield wipers ... loading ... ;)

Please find the original presentation on slideshare.