April 11, 2016

A Smarter Working Environment

After last months testing frustrations I wrote a simple deploy script for my javascript files. Now I can work on a shared library and the changes won’t be viewable to all the apps until I’m ready to push it.

About a decade ago, when I had half a dozen active websites, I created an admin panel that spanned all my domains. It was designed more for monitoring the health of my domain network, more than for making changes to it. I wrote a simple plug-in system for smoke tests that tested the functionality of each individual domain, as well as the shared libraries between them. Smoke tests are small, often isolated tests design to test specific functionality. The idea is to detect smoke, which could indicate fire.

When I first started serious development on SarahKTyler.com I wrote a new admin panel, but it was very basic, and many of the features where hard coded. At the time I needed something that could be stood up quickly so I could get back to writing new apps. Rapid development has been my approach this past year. I don’t get paid from an app until it launches and gets eyeballs, and it doesn’t get eyeballs until the search engines have a chance to find it and add it to their indexes. The first pass can be quick and dirty. Phase two is clean the code. Three is bells and whistles.

Now that my app library has grown considerably, it was time to iterate. I’m back to the plugin admin panel design. The admin panel also handles the deployment of the shared libraries, and auto generates some code. I can now also easily write tests that let me see how users are using each app. For example, I now know the media average time someone uses my labor predictor is 15 days before their due date. I also know that a non trivial group of users use the app well before their due date. That realization lead me to add a link from the labor predictor to the miscarriage reassurer. Data driven is my favorite way to be. The only thing it doesn’t have? Smoke tests. That’s the next task on my todo list.

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