The company we contracted with to build Weavolution has delivered the first prototype of the site! It’s still very much in development (sorry, no links yet) but visually it looks right, and you can add drafts, projects, etc., search by tags, and do a lot of other really cool stuff. The volunteer team is currently evaluating the site and offering comments/finding bugs, and we expect to be in alpha by the beginning of May and into beta and/or release in early June! It’s so incredibly close I can’t believe it.
And there are a couple of REALLY cool features that we had our contractor build in. For example, thanks to the generosity of Kris Bruland (owner/programmer of Handweaving.net), we can display images of .wif files. So you can upload a .wif file and instantly see a .jpg preview of the draft. Every draft has a set of tags, and you can search by tag to find everything else tagged “overshot” or “straight draw” or whatever other tags have been used. We will have an advanced search function to help narrow things down, too.
It’s really amazing seeing this take shape so quickly, after so much planning time. I remember back in August, when Syne introduced me and Claudia, and we envisioned a very small project, me doing the programming on the Drupal open-source content management platform, and Claudia doing the administration. We got together a team of volunteers to help build the site, and the vision expanded. We started fundraising, and the generosity of the handweaving community was amazing. Soon we realized that we really could build the site we were dreaming of, and faster than we thought! So we changed the focus of the volunteers to helping us spec out the site (much wireframing, much debate over usability and feature design), and started looking for a company to do the programming. We found Pulse Solutions in January, and they started working on the site.
Since then they’ve been sending us mockups on a regular basis, and we’ve been sending back corrections, but this is the first chance we’ve gotten to see an actual working prototype! It’s unbelievably exciting to be able to push the buttons myself, upload drafts, enter projects, and see it display in living color. I’ve already started entering some of my projects, even though I know it’s only dummy data and will get blown away later when we go to the “real” site. It’s that cool.
Anyway, I need to get back to playing with evaluating the site, as we’re having our weekly development meeting tomorrow and I need to walk through more of the functionality so we can start sending bug reports back to Pulse. But it’s our first working prototype! Now how cool is THAT???