Week 129

So. No week notes again last week. It was a week of juggling numerous projects, trying to get the month’s job list under control before diving into the project that is to dominate March. Writing here was the ball that got dropped.

One of the big jobs on the agenda has been implementing a redesign of various parts of the Greenbelt website. It was important to get it under way as it was one of those pieces which are easiest to get a feel for once you’ve made a start. It’s also quite satisfying to work on as it pulls together a number of strands that represent how the organisation has been changing and growing, but which the current site doesn’t really allow for.

Another is codenamed DAPI and is my first deployment on Rails 3. It’s a funny project in that we hope it’ll have a very short life. It’s all about transforming data that’s been stored with very little structure. Once the structured form of the data has been signed off it’ll be time to retire DAPI and build something new focussed on actually using that data. For now, it’s great to have something taking shape and to have a Rails 3 project under my belt.

The scramble has all been to make way for a larger project that dominates this month. We’re calling it Justinian and it’s been fun so far. The core team beside myself is Matt (whose project it is), Ben, James and Jenny and we’ve spent most of the week gathered around a whiteboard (aside from a field trip to the British Museum) figuring out how to represent a fairly complex set of calendar-ish data in a way that encourages both exploration and utilisation. I think we’re moving towards a good product, but it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks trying to translate it all into a functional prototype.

There’s also been a reminder this week that I need to step up the suite of monitoring tools at my disposal. god’s generally doing a good job of keeping processes up and running. Munin lets me see if servers are over capacity. But there are a lot of more fine-grained details (are search indexes updating as expected, are emails going out smoothly) that aren’t well covered by those tools or by my automated testing stack. I’m hoping that somewhere along the line there’ll be time to find a solution for that, perhaps something presenting a status dashboard?

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