A few members of the T1M development team were lucky enough to attend the Develop Denver 1.0 conference a few weeks ago. This was a great chance to mingle with other developers, hear some great presentations, and continue the often contentious debate between Star Wars and Star Trek. Somewhere in the middle, we had a chance to do a one-day coding session, where “Haikwitter” was born.
It’s a simple application that allows people to enter a haiku and view other haikus. When viewing an entry, we pull photos from Flickr that match certain keywords from the haiku. While there isn’t much to the site itself, it was the process of building something in a single day that blew our collective minds. Here is what we learned:
Build it quickly. Refine it later.
With the crunched timeline, we had to hit the ground running without much prep-time. This meant we had to start with an idea and build on it as the day progressed. Build it fast, and refine later became the mantra for the day and that was quite the departure from our normal process. It definitely helped us remember the value in prototyping. Throw something together really quickly and you can find out how feasible it is, before investing too much time into it.
Expand your skill set, and your bad-assery.
Since we didn’t have to build a production ready site for a client, it allowed us to experiment with features and frameworks. We used techniques and processes that we weren’t very familiar with for development and it turned into a crash course of sorts. It’s similar to getting thrown into a swimming pool to quickly learn how to swim…or how to be rescued, at least.
Being stuck in the daily grind can sometimes make you forget why you do what you do. This coding session reminded me that I love the technology field. When you can do something just for the hell of it, and find it enjoyable, it gives you an extra spring in your step for the next project that comes your way.
If you get an urge to write a haiku, and you don’t use Internet Explorer, check it out at haikwitter.com. If you are a developer and want to discuss why Star Trek is Bantha fodder, check out the conference at developdenver.org.