Release One!

Sorry that I neglected this blog for the last two months plus. Working 10-12 hours a day for seven days a week to hit Release One deadline (Sept 2) left no time for things like blogs.

We did release the first version of the new system in the middle of the European night (Sept 2/3). It has been a huge push, with many teething problems, but mostly working ok. Have a look at!

I shall try to write more about the process in due course.

Into the home straight

We have recently entered an intensive phase of development, largely because our long-term web developer, Vitalie Cracan, has finished his final exams and become available to work more or less full-time on our project for the next three months. Over the past few days he wrote the very complicated scripts for migrating pages, blocks and menu from our legacy system - a big step forward.

Our team has changed!

Since my last blog, there have been some changes to our project team. It was a big blow to lose our lead developer Pavel Capcanari, who had to withdraw owing to the pressure of new job commitments. He had been working with us part-time on top of a full-time job, and was finding it too much. We fully understand this, and are very grateful for all he has contributed to the project. We hope he will be able to stay in touch and help us in future.

Waiting for Drupal 6 modules....

The most tangible outcome for our project from the Drupal Conference in Boston was the reversal of our decision a few weeks earlier to build our new system in Drupal Version 5 (itself a change from our original plan, and prompted by the delay in releasing Drupal 6 and additional essential modules). After consulting senior people in Drupal at the conference, it was plain that a delay in our project would be more than compensated by saved time later on, and increased functionality in Drupal 6,

DrupalCon was a blast

The Drupal Conference in Boston was superb. It was my first experience of such a gathering - over 800 people from many parts of the world. A real buzz about the place. Lots of interesting sessions (hard to choose which one to go to sometimes), plus great opportunities to meet other Drupallers. I was impressed how accessible the Drupal luminaries like Dries, Moshe and the Lullaboters were.

The Building has been started. Long live the building!

I am writing this on my way to the Drupal conference in Boston. 800 what my wife calls ‘Drupal Freaks’ will spend four days together talking about Drupal! Should be fascinating, and I hope to learn a great deal that will benefit our IofC project – as well as having the chance to meet lots of people in the Drupal community.

Things are coming together

Sorry, it has been far too long since my last blog. There was Christmas/New Year. Then an intense, clarifying week in Moldova (see below), which I wanted to blog about but could not until now because I went straight into an international IofC meeting in India.

The week in Moldova was terrific. Pavel Capcanari, our lead developer, Vitalie Cracan (our outgoing programmer) and I spent hours every day talking through every aspect of the project. We now see much more clearly what has to be done, and the plan for carrying it out is more precise.

Finalising the project schedule

Writing what I am about to write feels a bit like tearing up my CV. No one might want to give me a job in future!

Take a deep breath. It is now almost three months into our project, and I have only just managed to get our project plan and schedule finalised. The trouble partly is: I am not a trained project manager. I have been doing my best to get the project going, working fortunately with a talented team, but without realising that a thought-through project schedule was essential if we were to feel in control (as much as possible!) of the project.

Migration Priorities

I have about 1 month left in Oxford and so my time is becoming a real premium. So much has come up and prevented me from making a clean go at setting up the migration for this project. Truth is that many of the migration scripts can not be completed until we have a more solid idea of what modules we are going to use to achive our functional requirements. I can plug into that process of evaluating modules, but there is a real time commitment needed for that. It all helps I suppose. The fact is that we know what functionality we need and would

Building a social network vs. Building a "product"

As you know, we work with Drupal. But this post is not about a particular technology, it's about an approach to the way we design and build a solution for IofC “social network” needs.

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