While working on Puzzle+, my crossword application for Google+ Hangouts, I couldn’t help but notice what a colossal pain it was to develop against the Hangouts API. It has a few things going against it:
- Testing your changes requires pushing them to a remote HTTPS server.
- Your application is buried in a ton of
iframes, which makes the JS console harder to use.
- Opening up Google+ Hangouts runs a browser plugin, turns on your camera, and makes your computer nice and toasty-hot.
- It’s impossible to test multiplayer scenarios without multiple Google+ accounts and multiple computers (since opening a hangout requires exclusive access to your camera).
To make myself less sad, I developed a small node.js server which emulates the Google+ Hangouts API. This lets you do all your development (both single- and multi-player) locally, without any of the AV overhead that Hangouts usually bring in.
In case anyone else finds themselves in a similar predicament, I’ve released this code as Lonely Hangouts on github.