Walking Through Time Project Summary - Development


In the spirit of Chris’s post on SWOT’ing.   I thought I would give a similar post from the development side.

Strengths

Web Application - After some initial wobbles we were set on doing a Web Application which paid of for us in many ways.  We originally thought that we would have to create  a bespoke application for a particular mobile application to access the GPS features of a device.  Chris had originally put us on the iPhone track and we looked into Objective C but as neither Petra or I were Apple developers, we got lucky and the geoLocation object came out for both mobile safari and desktop browsers; which solved that problem.  This small turn of fate turned out to be the ultimate strength of the Application.  The original goal was to create a field work tool but in making a web application we were able to open it out to a wider audience.  We were able to quickly turn around changes via the Web App - just using HTML and Javascript.

Java - Petra’s decision to use java on the backend also paid off.  As she is a much better Java programmer than me, she was able to quickly get a flexible framework up and running without too much fuss.

Creativity - Working with the Art College for the first time was a real breath of fresh air for the project team.  Working on an application which was both creatively and technically rewarding was a very pleasant side effect of working with our colleagues.  The team from the Art College were able to provide both help in terms of technical ideas  but also the much more conceptual ideas of what the project could offer.  This is a fairly rare thing to get when working directly with a customer, one I found particularly rewarding.

Design - We were able to explore some rather radical ideas which; didn’t manifest but we were able to use tools like Balsamiq to articulate these ideas quickly and easily to the other members of the team.

Weakness

Mobile Platform - The platform of the phones as a real issue.  Screen size and speed were the 2 biggest factors.  We were able to overcome a lot of the issues but it meant that we were spending a little longer than we would have liked looking at solving speed issues rather than coming up with features.

Workload -  I for one certainly was working with a number of other projects while developing this and Petra was developing this full time, and I was not able to spend as long on it as I wished to.  Also we were perhaps a little ambitious in scope, I for one was keen to try some rather odd things which perhaps were shooting a little too high given the time.

Opportunities

EDINA - we were able to work with EDINA for the first time which was very rewarding.  Our colleagues there were extremely helpful in getting us started and providing solutions.

Agile - we were able to explore working in a very Agile style way with this project.  We deliberately tried to work with the customer to get as many ideas from them as possible, we also gave ourselves fairly strict schedules to accomplish our “work packages”, dropping or adding features as time would allow.  This was a very developer centric way to work - which for us as developers is great but it would be interesting to explore this in a slightly more controlled situation.

Mobile Devices Development - This was  a great exposure to work with mobile devices and explore what is possible.  This is not something that we would have been able to explore without the funding.  To have some time to do this with some leisure has been a great learning experience.

Threats

I am not sure that I can really add any threats to the project from a development perspective after the fact but I think I can easily say that when we started we had no idea how to do this.  It was based on some ideas, scraps of paper and some bits of code.

Well that’s a very brief round up of some of the development process of this little prototype

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