Earlier this month I gave a talk titled "A robot will do your job one day. You should start building it." at the Develop Denver conference. The "you" in that title was other developers, and I spent the first half of the talk defending the idea that development can and will be automated. It's commonly accepted among developers that technology is making a lot of jobs irrelevant, as we're often the ones building this technology. But I've been surprised how few developers believe their own jobs might be made irrelevant by this same automation.
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A technical architecture document is not only helpful for planning, but can also be used to automate the creation of content types and other site elements. This cuts down on development time, allowing for rapid prototyping. This process plays well into a content first approach to web development and helps the client understand the power of structured content.
As information architects, we love tools that help clients think about the structure of their content. One which we’ve found particularly helpful is what we call our Technical Architecture document. It’s a spreadsheet that defines the structure of the site. This approach is not uncommon, especially within the Drupal community; however, we have promoted this spreadsheet from information architecture tool to site generator. By automating a once manual process, we’ve introduced some really exciting opportunities around rapid prototyping and efficient product iteration.
One of the greatest challenges when starting a new project is determining how best to align an organization's content with both user needs and business goals. We look to the Core Model approach to guide user behavior.
The second annual Drupalcamp New Orleans will be held at the Launchpad co-working space on March 28th. I'll be presenting Taming the Project, an Agile Approach.
A while ago I made a tool named Sheet2Module, which uses the Config in Code (CINC) module to allow Drupal site builders to make content types and fields directly from Google Spreadsheets. This made a lot of people interested in CINC, but I've found much of that interest was based on a misconception that CINC is focused on spreadsheets.
Photoshop presents a handful of limitations when it comes to getting your ideas out. I don’t even want to mention how the general tidiness of my layers suffers when I’m in serious idea-barf mode. Luckily, there’s another, less complicated option: sketching.
When I first started working on the web, my entire process for figuring out how something worked was the "view source" menu option in my browser. Sometimes I miss that simpler web. But nostalgia notwithstanding, the web is more complicated now, browsers have more complicated tools for figuring out how things are working, and developers need to know those tools. So let's learn.
Google has developed a wide range of products to help teams collaborate on projects. Here at Aten, we use Google Drive to foster collaboration between Aten employees and the awesome organizations we work with on a daily basis.
Agile works extremely well on products under ongoing development that never really ends. It is more challenging to use Agile for building Web applications. However, many of the techniques and strategies used in agile development segue extremely well to Web development.