Building Doc Ready: take a look behind the development scenes

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
Building Doc Ready: take a look behind the development scenes

May was a busy month at Neontribe, when we were working on the first digital prototype of DocReady. We like to work in a series of short sprints to keep our pace of work high, and to hold ourselves to our ideal that we should be able to show a working product (even one which doesn’t do much) as early and as often as possible.

Officially the first Doc Ready sprint was about 4 weeks long, but we find it best to break that time down into smaller and smaller sprintlets. Each week we try to get together (usually over Skype, or in a Google Hangout) with as many people involved in the project as we can – to discuss what’s been done that week and try to make sure that we incorporate any feedback into the next week’s work. A week can seem like an awful long time though, so each day we hold a short meeting called a stand up. Each member of the team outlines what they’re working on right now and lets everybody else know if there’s anything they can see coming up which’ll slow them down. Stand ups are a great thing, and they really help coordinate our efforts, but only if they don’t go on too long… The name gives it away – we really do stand up for them because we find that cuts short any rambling ;-)

To try to get all these meetings moving along as fast as possible we make sure everybody can see what we’ve been doing. To help with that we’ve been using a nifty set of online services:

  • GitHub tracks the changes we make to our source code
  • Travis CI runs all our tests for us when we make changes, and publishes the app when those tests pass
  • Heroku shows the work in progress at DocReady Staging

By wiring those together the work we do is visible on our testing server as soon as each little piece is complete. If this build button ->Build Status is showing green it means you can head on over to (http://docready-staging.herokuapp.com) to see how things are coming on. If not, well… Please excuse our dust, we’re working on it.

Since the first sprint of building Doc Ready, we’ve shared this initial version with a group of young people from Brighton and Hove, including some of the people who took part in the earlier stage research and paper prototyping workshops, to get their feedback on how it works, what they like and what they’d like to see improved. We’ll be sharing the outcomes of this session on the Doc Ready blog soon, so watch this space…


The geek bit – you can safely ignore everything under this line


If you’re curious about technical aspects of Doc Ready this section is for you!

DocReady is currently split into two projects:

  1. An API server built on Django using the excellent Django REST framework - you can find the code here: docready_api Looked after by@heidarb
  2. A Javascript client built with AngularJS - the code lives here: docready client. The Javascript get wrangled by @rupertredington whilst the HTML and CSS is the preserve of @heydonworks