Quick Reviews gets its annual update

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 3 min read
Quick Reviews gets its annual update

A couple years ago I made a website for myself, Quick Reviews, and I've used it hundreds of times to create nice reviews for social media. Today I've made a few changes to the site, as I like to do every year or so. It's a very niche product, but I hope this makes it a better tool for me and anyone else who uses it.

New features

There is only one new feature this year, and it's a very basic API. I've always wanted to make it easier to fill out your review, and this change can enable some basic automation, but it's really a BYOA (build your own automation) situation.

Basically, you can provide several aspects of your review in a GET request.

Variable Description
title The name of the item being reviewed
metadata The metadata, typically writer, director, year, etc.
review Your review text
score Your score. Values accepted are the numbers 1 through 4

For example, a complete request may look like this (click the link to see it in action): Creator&metadata=2023 - Gareth Edwards&review=A visually striking film that punches above its weight class, and another very strong lead performance from John David Washington, but it just didn’t do much for me personally.&score=2

That's not exactly pretty, so you wouldn't want to write this manually, but it is something you could generate quite easily with something like Shortcuts, for example.

I'll also note that a few things are not supported:

  • You can not provide an image in the GET
  • I will not provide an API response, the page will simply load and you need to export the image from the UI
  • Themes are not available
  • You may not POST the data, as that does not align with the use case of actually coming to this page in a browser

This is currently in "beta" meaning it may change or may be removed entirely in the future. I had to convert the project to PHP to make this work, and that's actually a bit of a pain for working on the site and increases risk for me, which I've tried to prevent, but if there's an issue, I'm pulling the plug on this API. Let me know on Mastodon if you have used this or if you have any suggestions (and remember that I'm just an amateur developer, so don't get too ambitious πŸ˜‰).

One more update is that I have not run analytics (Plausible, just like what I use here in Birchtree) on this page before, but I have added them due to this change. I simply need to have some basic monitoring in place, but don't worry, the details you provide in this API do not get reported to me, everything else on the page lives entirely in localStorage in your browser, and there is one page on the site, so my analytics will look like this:

Design changes

  • The site theme is dark, and the default review theme is dark as well. This is based on seeing what customizations I and other people using the site seemed to gravitate towards.
  • 2 new themes have been added (pink and forest green), and the previous default light theme has been converted to a theme (ice) if you still want that look.
  • Fonts have been refreshed. The site title, review title, and review scores use Belanosima, while everything else uses Oxygen. These fonts are self-hosted, and do not talk to Google Fonts.
  • The favicon has been updated and was generated by DALL-E

Keyboard shortcuts reminder

These are not new, but they're worth calling out since they save me a lot of time:

  1. Command + S saves the final image
  2. Command + E enters edit mode
    1. You can also click anywhere on the review text areas to enter this mode
    2. Escape closes the editing modal if it's open
  3. Control + 1/2/3/4 sets the review score
    1. Some browsers also allow Command + 1/2/3/4

Thank you to everyone who uses the app! I don't get paid anything for it (still ad-free), but I genuinely think it's a good way to share reviews quickly, and I'm always happy when I see people using it in the wild.