links for 2007-05-31

31 May 2007

Not my immediate expertise but having playing around with data driven applications & websites many years ago, I was keen to see how they’d evolved and also to learn a bit more about rapid prototyping in the software world. Andy Parkhouse and Ben Whitnall from Team Rubber stepped up to the challenge.

Andy introduced agile and rapid prototyping as a very practical requirement that they adopted as larger projects were no longer sticking to the original plan and budget. Being a relatively small company they can’t afford to let projects wander, rapid prototyping and an agile approach meant they were able to get closer to the clients actual wish list (rather than their published tender specification) and to have more control over the development process from there out. Andy didn’t adopt a formal approach (e.g. Extreme Programming), preferring an approach that was organic to his company.

There was a short comedic break while they installed a vanilla Plone on the laptop and found the working folder (some bright spark pointed out the more straight forward install on Windows).

Starting with 3 discovery meetings to establish what client really wants, Andy and Ben pretty much dove straight in. They asked for audience members to be the client and began with an exploration of what the web site would be, who it was targeted at and some of the functionality. After that there was a short filmic interlude from the Kensington Report courtesy of Rubberductions (part of Team Rubber).

Plone was used as a wire frame prototyping environment. Although Plone was also used as their product delivery platform, Andy was very firm that they threw the prototype away and began again from scratch to prevent hacks used in the prototype finding their way into release ready software. There was some talk about Druple as a Plone killer (apparently lots more folks code php than Plone) but Andy was sticking with Plone for the time being because so much is already built which leaves time for design & run.

Then it gets technical – but they set up up a new cms driven site and started editing in real time (i.e. prototyping with the client in front of the laptop). Others have highlighted the speed of prototyping (most noteably for me was Rick Segal) but to see it in real time was still pretty cool.

Thanks also go to Ed for organising SkillSwap in Bristol, Watershed and Knowledge West for the room and Netsight for the beers. 🙂

links for 2007-05-30

30 May 2007

Just saw on Simon’s blog that Pushhit (or Pusshit which sounds even ruder) has survived its first year of being social.

I guess this means we should ‘wet the baby’s head‘ at the next Open Coffee / beer?

Just had a job interview (link to the spec on C4 pages) with University Central England, Birmingham (yesterday, followed by a couple of beers in Bristol to relax). Always stressful, more so since it’s a fantastic opportunity that I’d really like to build on the digital and games capability in the region.

A lot of the project reflects the Government’s recent thinking in their Creative Economy Programme (CEP). Of course, with Regional money there are peculiar strings relating to geography but given the cluster focus (serious games, interactive digital media, etc) its hard to see how this could genuinely get in the way of a great idea.

I was slightly taken aback when the project was described as being funded for 12 months but no longer. You’d think that having built a great reputation and delivery they’d want to sustain it by whatever means (certainly my plan). Two really interesting ideas was the industry information unit (market research with a mix of contracted and self-delivered IP) and a micro-finance fund. I’ve begun to bang on about this because I think there is evidence that such funds encourage innovation & entrepreneurs in a way that traditional British business plan competitions don’t. Plus they can provide sustainable funds for future investment (if you can pick enough winners).

Sky News has a Digg feature (its on silent in the Knights Templar, Bristol where I’m having a post interview beer and dinner)?

links for 2007-05-29

29 May 2007

links for 2007-05-28

28 May 2007