XProgramming.com is implemented using WordPress. A number of things make me feel I need to re-implement it. It needs a look and feel revamping; my webmistress is moving on; WordPress updates almost always just work; the existing implementation is crufty; it might be fun; I have a pal who's doing something similar; and so on.

Bill Tozier is building a new site for his wife, and one for himself, and suggested that since my site is getting tatty, we might pair on mine. And Laura Fisher, who put the current one together, wants to be sure I'm in good shape before she jets off to California. So here we go.

I've written a bunch of cards to serve as a backlog, which I'll list in a separate article. I'll write a report for each "Sprint", as we do things. Here, I'll just introduce what's going on.

Objectives

When Laura moves on, I'd like to be able to maintain the site's structure as well as content.

I'd like it to be easier to write articles: I'm using Markdown a lot lately and liking it. It'd be nice to just write an article, click a button, and voila! it's up on the site, pictures and all.

I'd like to build something made out of software, and to learn a bit in the process.

Approach

Bill's using Ruby, Sinatra, and the usual suspects, and since I like Ruby, why not. I plan to keep the site with my current ISP, but we might do the building on Heroku, just for practice and to learn how to do that.

Here's a picture I drew during our early chat on the project. I include it mostly so that we'll have to implement pictures.

updown

We'll pair on most everything, and test-drive what makes sense to test-drive. I don't find it easy to stick to my guns on testing things like web sites, especially with small steps, modular code, and very visible effects. So I've asked Bill to be sure to push on that.

We both want to understand "everything" so we're not dividing up the development work, though I imagine we'll both "spike" things from time to time. We're doing our joint work at the BAR, the Brighton Agile Roundtable, at the Barnes and Noble coffee shop in Brighton, Michigan.

Bill has a better handle on installing the stack of stuff you have to have to build things. (He'll be documenting details on that: I plan not to, but we'll see.) And I hate installing development stuff: it never works the way it is supposed to and then you have to run around on the Internet figuring out what to do. His help is valuable in that he has done more of it and seems a bit more patient with it than I am.

Looking Forward

I hope to write a little article like this one, reporting on every day or every couple of days we work. I may put them up on the current site, and will in any case be using them as the core articles for the new site. Stay tuned!