Considering Avatar Images For Syncing App Metadata


What if we use our profile images to store metadata for open-source apps?

Starting Out


With that goal in mind, I've been thinking about how to sync the app across devices. A standard route is to set up a database with a user account for each person that holds the sync data.

That's a lot of work. None of which I'm interested in. So, I've been thinking about alternatives. Specifically, alternatives that don't involve me administering a database or passwords.

My mind went to profile images.

QR Codes And Steganography

Nothing in the Spotify API is set up to store external metadata directly. But, you can upload avatar images and data can be stored in those images.

QR codes are a real world use of storing data in images. Humans can't read them. The software in our phones can. Using Spotify (or other services') avatars would work in a similar way. Encode data into an image and make that image the user's profile pic. Apps pull the image and/or updated it whenever they need to read or update their data. QR codes would be relatively straight-forward to implement. Of course, that would mean you don't get a friendly profile image.

Enter steganography: "the practice of representing information within another message or physical object, in such a manner that the presence of the information is not evident to human inspection"

Basically, an app can encode metadata and hide it inside your actual profile pic. It gets what it needs and folks still see your avatar.

RSS Reader Sync

Syncing data for my app isn't critical. Frankly, it may make little difference. RSS readers, on the other hand, could see a huge benefit.

One of the killer features of paid RSS feed readers is the ability to sync across devices. Finding a way to enable that sync in a free, open-source manner would be awesome. And, with all the various services we use that include profile images, it's very doable.