VigeWeekly: From Candy to Capistrano
We have continued to write as much as we can for our new fangled blogs here at Viget, but we're proud to say that this week, one of us went old school. Ben authored his first book entitled, Practical REST on Rails 2 Projects, which is now available on Amazon and would be a great selection for any Rails developer (not that I'm biased ...). Congrats, Ben!
Also, while we were chatting up the Tech Cocktail DC crowd last Thursday, Viget South was attending the jQuery discussion at the sixth meeting of Refresh the Triangle.
Now, let's get back on track with what's been happening in our blogs this week.
KV gave us the scoop on some delicious prototypes a candy maker made when testing her product idea, then encouraged us to learn from her strategy; most notably, engaging the public for feedback early before pouring hundreds (or thousands) of development hours into an idea. Steph then quipped about frustrations she's encountered when major service providers lead her through convoluted "Contact Us" pages rather than giving users all available options. She pitches a "Contact Us on Our Terms" option for those cases, but something tells me that'll never fly.
Is data visualization the future of the Internet? Samantha asked that very question and reviewed examples of specific sites -- like Twistori or We Feel Fine -- that have taken this notion of allowing the user to physically interact with the data to the next level. Later, Erik reviewed the benefits of Adobe's decision to accounce the Open Screen Project for Flash, which is aimed at helping Flash achieve consistency across various devices from mobile phones to PCs and TVs.
Ben -- who wrote a book on Rails that's available on Amazon this week; oh, did I mention that already? -- shared from experience the right way (building the site completely and tacking on an authentication bit as a last step) and the wrong way (requiring logins everywhere and making registration available only via invitation) for handling closed betas, particularly because the former is easier to manage upon launch. Matt explained his process of building an application's environment with Capistrano 2 after being inspired from a talk Chad Fowler gave at the Pragmatic Programmers Advanced Rails Studio training. SP told us how he uses TextMate for blogging on Extend -- which is built in ExpressionEngine -- complete with tips on configuring both to work nicely together.
Josh gave Facebook's new analytics tool two fauxhawk'd thumbs down in his post, "Hey Facebook Lexicon, Track This: Disappointment." Then, Ryan reviewed YackTrack, "which aggregates our digital comments across Twitter, Digg, Disqus, FriendFeed, Mixx, StumbleUpon, Technorati, and WordPress to create a single conversation stream." It's still in beta, but Ryan argued that the tool holds potential for consolidating the ongoing distribution of communication online. Then, Emily described some tips on how to wrangle overwhelming, old email lists to ensure the real value -- the relationship with the user behind that address -- doesn't get lost amid the sheer number of addresses collected.
Thanks for the posts and comments this week everyone; keep up the great discussions!