August 4, 2014

Well – so much for ‘updates coming soon’! I have been so consumed in technical matters for the past two months that I haven’t had time to do much else. The explanatory presentation remains unfinished and I’m beginning to feel guilty about not keeping my small handful of blog readers informed. So here’s a quick post to check in and to give a (hopefully) more realistic estimate of what to expect next and when to expect it.

The beta product is generally on track and is dramatically simpler and easier to grasp than the prototype. The functionality is almost identical to the prototype – no more and no less – but the user interaction is unrecognizable and (I think) a vast improvement. I am aiming to open the beta site to anyone who is interested in the last week of September, following the ONA 14 conference in Chicago. I will be attending ONA14 and demonstrating the beta application there, so if you would like to meet up please get in touch. More details to follow. Really.

The technical foundations of the beta are firmly in place and are working well. I am developing the front-end in AngularJS, with various plug-ins and libraries. The back end remains Node.JS, with data primarily in Redis and serving from Heroku (node) and EC2 (event data). All coding is in JavaScript (and CoffeeScript, my new superpower!), and client-server communication is a fully RESTful API – which really is as zen as it sounds. It’s a stack that is working well and that should be robust enough and scalable enough to last for quite a while.

The central update from the last few months is that Structured Stories is advancing from being just a technology to being a real product – a process that has been rooted in many iterations of the user experience design and that includes deep product decisions that have been forced by the UI development (most prominently the decision to include reporting tools directly in the product from the get-go). I have already begun to demo the beta application and we should be only about 7-8 weeks away from a product that YOU, dear blog reader, will be able to play around with yourself – browsing and entering stories. This is hard. Please be patient. :-)

As always, I invite anyone who might be interested in Structured Stories to get in touch. I always have time to chat or email and I can even set up a web-ex for a sneak preview of the beta. Have a great summer and look forward to playing with a new approach to news in the fall!