• Week 102

    28 September 2014

    Back to work after a week off.

    That meant diving hard into Abberley/Swarmize. We’d run a test of it around the Scottish Independence Referendum, and now I was working out how to re-implement various features so they’d hold up under the strain of a 90k+ dataset; something that Swarmize is likely to have to deal with.

    This meant lots of back and forth, but by Friday night, I’d sussed out how to deliver very large CSV files efficiently – and cache them on Cloudfront for the majority of users.

    I also overhauled lots of the real-time updates in the app. These are still fairly straightforward: fundamentally, it’s a traditional HTML-based application, but it’s useful for editors to have live updates.

    My homegrown caching routines got thrown out in favour of properly implementing a Backbone-based solution. Backbone has always made conceptual sense, but I’ve never seen a way to implement it into my own work. Thanks to a really useful chat with Nat, something large in my head clicked and I finally saw how to use it in a way I was comfortable with. This led to a big rewrite, and now various graphs and tables are updating themselves in a sensible, sane way.

    Other work on it this week: spending some time with Graham overhauling our deployment routines, so rather than reduplicating code, we have a single deploy script that (through configuration) can deploy any component; lots of fixes to code and infrastructure.

    The flexibility and general scope of my work on Swarmize has been great, but there are times when it makes me feel pulled in a variety of directions – and right now, that’s hitting a little hard. Fortunately, I ended the week with a long chat with Matt, who’s sponsoring the project, and he helped shape what the next four weeks – to Alpha – looks like in my head. That’s helped set a brief for what we’re doing, and I’m looking forward to writing some burndown lists.

    Thursday saw my regular mentoring session for CreateInnovate, where we moved some ideas forward, but it became clear that week 3 would be spent with some pens, drawing: getting thinking out of the head and onto paper, to make it clearer.

    I also spent a few hours this week sketching, thinking, and prodding the feasibility of a potential new pitch with a friend I’ve wanted to work with for a while. It feels strong enough that it’s got a codename – Burton – and I’m hoping we’ll find a way to bring it into the world before the year’s out.