• Weeks 105-106

    28 October 2014

    A busy couple of weeks. These were the last two weeks in the run up to the delivery of the alpha of Swarmize. That meant lots and lots of small things – all the things you tend to remember in the final few weeks.

    Firstly, completing and polishing the documentation. This wasn’t a last-minute thing: it’s been something I spent a while on. As well as some decent enough READMEs throughout the git repository – enough to help other Guardian developers – I also focused on delivering a set of case studies.

    You can view them all on the Swarmize site. They cover basic usage and form embedding, advanced-usage (with the storage and retrieval APIs), and a real-world case study. I’m particularly pleased with the use of animated GIFs to explain interactive process – not endless instructions on how to perform a mouse gesture, nor a slow video with interminable narration. I think they’re a really useful fit for documentation.

    I tested the API which, after I’d sketched it in Ruby, Graham built a more robust version of in Scala – and removed a few wonky features. That all went pretty smoothly. I also spent a while testing the embeddable forms in a variety of browsers, and learning a lot about <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Window.postMessage">postMessage</a> as a result of trying to build a smoother experience in mobile browsers.

    A few new features also snuck their way in. Dangerous, at the last minute, but they were relatively straightforward to implement and definitely turned out to be worthwhile additions.

    And, of course, we spent some time at the Guardian offices demoing it and explaining it. We also got a particularly nice write-up and interview on journalism.co.uk.

    I’m hoping to write up my own project page on Swarmize shortly, which will touch a bit more on the process and my involvement (as well as providing a clearer answer than these weeknotes to What It Is).

    Some good news regarding Burton: it got some funding. Not a vast amount, but enough to achieve what Richard and I would like to – so that’s going to be a focus before the end of the year. Really looking forward to it.

    And, finally, I spent a good while working on my talk for Web Directions South. I think that’s all come together reasonably well. Some of these Things are not like the others is an expansion of “A Lamppost Is A Thing Too“, and covers Hello Lamppost, Columba, and various thinking about designing connected objects and services, expanded into a longer, more wide-ranging 45 minute session.

    I hope it goes down well. I’ll no doubt have more to say in week 107 – which is going to be spent in Australia.