Prototyping

A couple of weeks ago I embarked upon a new side quest: make a list app and use as much JavaScript in the stack as possible. Fighting adversity, I’ve made progress:

Macaque app screenshot

Twitter Bootstrap is a great UI toolkit for prototypes. Don’t let it seduce you, my underlying code ain’t pretty!

Learning Curve

After the excitement of last weekend’s test driven development phase I hit hard times and considered throwing in the towel once or twice. I have very little experience with MVC frameworks. In fact, with the exception of a terrible two days flirting with Backbone, I’ve have none.

What exists in the Ember Guides is very good but far from complete as you’d expect from such a new technology. Ember Data is still under development so little documentation exists. For someone who has ‘designer’ written on his business cards; this is very slow learning. StackOverflow has rescued me many times. Ember Watch is also an excellent resource. Progress may be glacial, but I’m moving forward. Macaque is far from complete but you see the code on GitHub.

Experimental

Although I’m kind of ad-libbing this entire thing, I’m keen to tie in several project methodologies. I started with a half-hearted attempt at agile user stories (user can use to-do app). Unsurprisingly, it’s transpired that development is now meandering through whatever aspects of Ember I happen to figure out. This evolutionary approach isn’t quite what I had in mind. Once I feel more comfortable with Ember I’ll take a step back and refocus the project scope.

This process is very good for agile design. Right now I’m letting development lead the experience and making design decisions as and when required. That’s not much right now, which is a good thing. I’m not over committing to style or interaction that could prove impossible later (or ill-advised). It may be a simple concept but designing whilst actually using the app is a lot better than designing from imagination alone.

Update: Part 4 — Ember Data and MongoDB


Follow @dbushell on Twitter
Return to Blog