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Prototyping Weeknotes #14 (13/05/10)

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George Wright George Wright | 18:23 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

Our latest prototype, Coventry, is ready to go (and get a real name!) on Monday, but in the final checking process we think we've discovered a bug on another BBC service so it's on hold until we find if that can be fixed. We have a Microblogging catchup with Jem from Audio and Music, the basic app is done and we prioritise the next features for this final week's work whilst Theo refines the designs. Chris B has been working on a VOIP service (for contributor ingest) and gets it up on a real server.

Sam's building a simple control panel for a new quiz interface - developed as part of P2P-Next, but potentially useful for other use cases. We've had the first standup for a while - we think we might have team-wide ones on Mondays and Thursdays, whilst daily ones will be restricted to project teams. It's always a trade-off between enough information and information overload!

On Tuesday we have a kick-off meeting for the digital programme guide project. Vicky is leading this and she starts by getting us to answer 3 simple questions: what is it?, who is it for?, what does success look like? - and then broaden it out. There's a long way to go before we have something concrete scoped. We have a good all hands team chat - talked about Shakespeare and the Mythology Engine, privacy online, Facebook's Open Graph...

Tony and Tris get the Dashboard displayed on the office wall. It's not too exciting yet, just a framework with some public transport updates and project status but we'll add bits over time. We'll also need a better screen we think. Chris N is learning Scala, and has managed to resolve shortened URLs in the microblogging ingest chain.

There's more Programme Guide sessions on Wednesday, with some story telling around user scenarios. We don't regularly approach our scoping like this, so it's great to try something different. Chris N has deployed a small change to URIplay so that it points at the lastest OPML feed. Chris G, Chris N and I go to see a 3rd party development company's new office, get a sneak preview of some of their upcoming work, which is looking fantastic, and have a natter about interesting things on our respective workplans. We have a quick review on how these weeknotes are going - we're going to experiment with only publishing an excerpt on the front page.  Duncan has got the synchronous quiz going, with live results piecharts, and a full stack of buzzwords - XMPP/BOSH *and* Strophe, while Vicky's been planning a new second screen development project with a programme team.

The aforementioned bug is fixed on Thursday, so Coventry, now named "BBC Music Trends" goes live, and we're very pleased with the positive feedback. You can read more about it in the previous post on this blog.

The afternoon is spent in another workshop on the Digital Programme Guide, prioritising and thinking about the feasibility of the feature list developed the previous day.

Chris G get all the engineers together to talk about our requirements for sysadmin support. We're interested in what the Dev-Ops movement are describing and it fits with how we work....

Another session on digital programme guide and we narrow the scope of what the first release could be and have a good sense of what the focus for the 2nd would be. Theo's off to a BBC-wide user experience meeting, and then does more work on our quiz. Chris N is being sysadmin this week and so sets up new virtual machines for the ingest chain and Zeitgeist applications, and fully documents this process for creating VMs so we know how to do it properly next time. Chris B investigated more accurate timing info and waveforms for the VoIP client.

Michael S from Vision comes by to present his idea for a new 'digital identity' project. Really interesting, everyone's very exicted by it. Some physical prototyping as well as software which is great. We're starting on this next week (when it will get a code name)

On Friday Sean gets most of the inbound links work deployed onto our staging environment, just needs to be integrated with the ingest chain with some testing and front end tidy-up planned for next week. Hopefully it will go live soon after that. Tris is prepping for next week's kick-off of the digital identity project - sending emails, background research and reading...

I have a whole day of meetings - with partners from around the BBC, working out how their strategy and plans can fit with ours. A telco at lunchtime with other R&D people means I have 5 minutes to grab a sandwich before running to show some recent work to people from Audio and Music. Then there's a useful chat with someone from the BBC's Comms team, then this, then home.


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