?> Top of Mind Networks Geeked Out Development update 5/4
Top of Mind Networks

Top of Mind Networks Geeked Out Development update 5/4

New Deadline:                 5/14

Code Complete:               60%

Momentum:                      Medium

Current Roadblocks:       Web of Intertangled Javascript

Confidence Level:           80%

 What’s going well?

 It’s been a couple of days since my last update because we’ve hit our first major roadblock (which I’ll discuss below).  The good news is that this roadblock is not related to call list or contacts pages, so the fast data access and quality assurance we are looking for when accessing contact data is not impacted.  That code is moving along well and is nearly done.  We had a few days delay since last week writing that code (scheduling issue not a technology issue), but we’re at 90% complete and should be 100% complete by end of day tomorrow.  The help area is not fleshed out, but I have created email help forms to at least assist people in identifying and sending in problems.  The help area will be an ever growing area and never really done.  The dashboard also falls into that category.  If we don’t get to it, we don’t get to it, but it’s not a critical piece of functionality at this point.


Area Status Coded Details
Dashboard   0% Fluff, might cut
Call List  green 100% In testing
Calendar  green 90% Almost done, working on integration, shared views
Groups  green 100% Conversion postponed, integration completed, In testing
Campaigns  red 40%  
Contacts  green 80% Working on all the detail pages
Email Service  yellow 60% Review complete, now testing
Company   0%  
Account   0%  
Help   10% Help forms completed, but this area has a large vision attached to it

 What could be better?

 I was hoping by the end of last week to have 60-75% of this work done.  While I think I’m there from a practical perspective, the problems we are having with porting over the Campaigns area makes the practical kind of a moot point because I consider Campaigns to be a critical part of our feature release. 

 Campaigns is essentially written as 5-10 large pages of functionality melted into only 1 page, with thousands of lines of javascript code tying it all together as one unit.  In retrospect, this turns out to be a terrible way to build a complex campaigns/template model.  It is too interrelated and complex to simply take apart like legos and rebuild and expect to have anything work right (which is basically what has happened).  I’ve spent basically a week trying to tease apart all this code and separate it into more easily digestible pages and while my initial tests seemed positive, I ran into some very hard to track down problems related to “cutting these strings apart”.  For the non-technical crowd, I’m kind of trying to get the eggs back from the omelet and it’s much more difficult than I anticipated.  It also looks like we introduced a few bugs right there towards our release date that we didn’t catch and now I need to troubleshoot those.

 The short story is I don’t feel like I have enough time to try and build a new solution, so I’m going to use the old one and just try to make it more “debugable” and fix the issues we have.  This, as I like to say, is still somewhat “non-trivial” as I didn’t write the original code.

 Now I’m just writing out loud, but depending on how much progress I can make in this area in the next 2-3 days, I “might” consider releasing our new CRMS without the Campaigns component until we can get it re-written.  Although not ideal (certainly not ideal for the company), there would be two main benefits. 

 1)      Primarily, the CRMS system is going to be used to enter new clients and borrowers, view opportunities,  etc. (same as the website is used today).  This will help clients get used to the new interface and comfortable with it before I throw Campaigns into the mix.  That could be a good thing. 

2)      Second, if I’ve learned anything over the last year it’s that trying to build and releasing a whole new toolset of widgets can actually cause more confusion and discord than releasing small, incremental improvements over time.  That would allow us to devote the appropriate amount of energy to each incremental release instead of throwing a whole pile of spaghetti at you and hoping you enjoy and appreciate every noodle.   

 Anyway, just thinking out loud.  My goal (obviously) is to get Campaigns completely solid in the next couple of days so we don’t have to go back to the drawing board on a rewrite.  I think what we have, once tweaked and fixed, is still good with a bit of training.  We’ll just have to see, we should know by my next update.

May 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

About Sherwood

Sherwood joined Top of Mind Networks in November 2004 after working seven years at Microsoft; providing rare but powerful evidence that it is possible for an individual to emerge from the collective even after full assimilation has occurred. When he is not listening to ambient, electronica, dance music or reading a scifi/fantasy novel, he loves to transform great ideas into compelling products and services.

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