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Prototyping Weeknotes #60

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Tristan Ferne | 15:58 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

Firstly a bit of team news, there are some new positions in Prototyping for a client-side developer, a development producer, an interaction designer, a software engineer and a senior software engineer. See the BBC Jobs site for more details. Now, onto this week.

We have two main prototypes on the go right now, Watch Later and RadioTAG, both due to finish their current phases over the new few weeks. Watch Later is a prototype that aims to give you one place to keep all those TV and radio programmes you've been meaning to watch. Maybe your friend told you something was good; maybe you saw a trailer on TV or read a review in the paper; or maybe someone tweeted about it. This is a service that allows you to quickly note down those recommendations for when you have time to watch or listen to them. RadioTAG, part of the RadioDNS family, is an application to receive an input from users, identify the service they are listening to, and send further information. Basically a button on your radio connected to the web. We are developing and validating the specification and creating user-facing prototypes to determine the best uses of this button.

This week on Watch Later, Theo, with support from Chris N, has made good progress with the front-end development and has attracted many complementary comments on his page designs. Meanwhile Duncan spent the week wrangling the flat search results list into a nicely hierarchical one matching our /programmes data model. Chris L and Sean added a "resume play" functionality to the RadioTAG prototype, and started to power it from the Solr database. Solr is now shared between RadioTAG and Watch Later, a nice bit of shared infrastructure. They've also sorted out an approach for the "out of the box" tagging experience in the protocol and started work on the listing of tags part of the API. Kat successfully completed Level 1 of getting a prototype service into production. Bonus points!


Akua's been plugging away at our new team web pages and on Thursday pressed publish. So now there's some background on what we do and some of our recent projects at http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/prototyping.shtml. Olivier's been at the W3C Advisory Committee meeting in Bilbao, he ended up giving three talks - one as a new rep, one on the adoption of linked open data at the BBC and one on the BBC's work on Web and TV. George was in Budapest most of the week for the European Future Internet Assembly and Chris G and Paul have been looking a little stressed about the Dashboard project - lots of meetings, documentation and admin.

We've got some volunteers coming in early next week to test last week's experience prototypes. This caused a flurry of activity yesterday afternoon with people refining their prototypes (or, in my case, desperately starting a new prototype). Paper, glue and scissors everywhere. Apart from that I've been working with Vicky on smoothing the way for our next round of projects, both collaborations with News, and we lost the engineering team down an IRC hole one afternoon.

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