In many different meetings there is a common cry for some type of community sharing resource to serve the needs of distributed developers around Yale.
I have long admired and benefited from content and other resources provided through various web-based developer sites
These types of sites make it easy to tell the community about your skills and interests – which can then be used to connect with fellow developers who are working on specific types of projects, or have particular skill sets.
The Yahoo Developer Network is one of my favorites. The site is a resource for internal Yahoo developers with some content also made available to external audiences. Note the focus on COMMUNITY, with the expectation for active involvement such as DISCUSS and CONTRIBUTE. The site also links to other news/information resources.
This example from CUNY shows another desirable feature – easy ways to keep in touch with the latest contributions on the site through ‘Activity Streams’, RSS and email notifications.
These sites work best when it is easy to make small contributions. See this example on the Drupal community site with the notion of sharing snippets rather than fully developed solutions. Note that these are provided ‘as is’ by well meaning community members – no formal approval process is used. Note the focus on ‘MY’ – the site is not just outwardly facing, as in individual shares with community – it is also inwardly facing, providing tools to help an individual developer organize and manage their projects.
In late November I approached Chris Kielt with the idea of trying to implement some type of developers network here for the Yale community. He agreed it was a valuable idea and asked me to take the lead in getting it going. We need to start somewhere, and with the rise in interest around utilizing Drupal to build web sites, a focus on Drupal resource sharing seems a good place to start. Drupal is the technology behind the new YaleSites and SimpleSite offering, as well as being used by a number of other developers around campus. For instance at YSD we’ve been using Drupal since 2006 for some of our web based applications.
The Yale developers network will be targeted at Yale’s distributed web developers community. And will rely on participation, contribution and communication within that community.
We have a web site address underway now.
And I’ll be working with Lou and Jane to plan and implement the initial site features. Any and all interested collaborators are welcome!
We’ll draw on the examples of other developer resource sites and meet the needs of the Yale community
Important distinction #1 – This is not a help site in the classic sense. Help sites are intended for the end users of a product or service. And ‘owned’ by the provider of that product or service. They address specific issues related to the use of that product or serviceA developer site has a broader audience, which can include users of a service, but primarily people creating their own services and products. The resource is owned by a community of individuals. The content is driven by the individual interests and the collective direction of these individuals. Help is only needed when there is a problem. Developer is an important tool for daily work. For instance the YaleSites service has its own service-orientated help pages different from this new developer-focused resource.
This community will be created by the collective actions of individuals working in their own self-interest. We need to provide tools that helps these individuals do their own work more effectively – such as an easy way to collect and reference code snippets – which when shared will open up possibilities and synergies that advance the collective aims of the community. Individuals come first – then community.
We are just getting things off the ground. A timeline hasn’t been formalized, but my goal is to have this up and available publicly by sometime in April with some smaller beta testing before that. The goal is to have 100% participation from the Yale web developer community (i.e. log in and complete their profile) by graduation.
If you have ideas to contribute, or would like to be involved in getting this started please let me know.
Yale Developers Network
Presented at the web developer’s roundtable
March 15, 2010
• Need a community resource for Yale web
• Opportunity with Yale's new focus on the
open‐source content management software
• Focus initially on Drupal resources, both
within YaleSites and across other Yale projects.
Store and (by default) share:
• Skill sets
• Code snippets
Serve the need of a community…
by meeting daily •My Notes
needs of individuals.
teams and other
structures, need to
that makes them
What lessons can be stolen from the Yammer
experience at Yale?
•Informal discussions – Chris Kielt, Lou Rinaldi, Jane
Livingston, Randy Rode 2/19, 3/2
•Presentation and discussion – Randy Rode to distributed
support providers 2/25
•Concept & Requirements Brainstorm – Dan Lovins,
Victor Velt, Carmine Granucci, Pem McNerney, Lou Rinaldi, Lei
Wang, Pam Patterson 3/12
•100% participation by graduation
You're the woman that I've always
Well, not really...
but you're good enough for now..
Brainstorming Session #1:
•Shared our personal use experience
narratives – look for common
function/feature requirements coming out of
•Created a list of functional and content
requirements to share with the Web dev
Targeted at the needs Yale people interested/involved with web
information/application projects that utilize Drupal. Eventual expansion
beyond this group/content focus expected.
Yale Developers Network is a web‐based information tool that allows
individuals to store and access elements of their own work, find similar
examples from other members, and engage in discussion and
communication with the member community.
•Encourage small, frequent contributions through multiple channels
•Easy to search/find my stuff and other people’s stuff
•Easy to access for following/adding content
•Allow individuals to self‐organize informal groups/ private conversations,
but default behavior is to share community‐wide
•User Experience Explorations – Members of the Web
Dev Round Table 3/16
• Documentation – audience, concepts, content &
functional requirements, visual design
•Alpha Development Group – volunteers to
explore/create taxonomies, objects, functions, behaviors,
relationships, wireframes, layout, visual design, test,
•Beta Release– Members of the Web Dev Round
Table/distributed Yale web developers (May 3??)
We sketch thumbnails
using a multi‐page
template, to quickly
force out a half‐dozen
(or more) approaches actions
to a problem, or to
convey a flow of an
• Focus the designer’s time and attention
on the big problems that need solving
before tackling the details
• Quickly explore many different
possibilities to find the right solution
• Involve others
• Do it all pictorially!
Sketchboards: Discover Better + Faster UX Solutions
Don’t spend time evaluating
or critiquing sketches, just
work on getting all the ideas
out onto the sketchboard
where everyone can see and
help make improvements.
Types of content:
•My Projects/Sites ‐‐ list sites/projects you've worked on/are
•Personal Profiles ‐‐ developer likes, dislikes, skills
•Notebook‐ notes, code snippets, themes, bookmarks,
•Questions ‐‐ have a dedicated community‐wide discussion
•Activity Streams ‐‐ for all, for set group of people (friends?), by
search term, etc.
•Announcements/News ‐‐ of interest to community, member‐
•Discussion – can comment on all content
•Tagging – can add own tags to any content
•Organic Group formation – private or open
•Relationships ‐‐ between members to aid with
searching/discussion needs – 2 way (friends) and 1 way
•Write once ‐‐ post from external sources, distribute to
•Easy to find things ‐‐ defined tags, Google search,
facets, by person, flag useful items
•Tagging/taxonomy ‐‐ everything can, in some cases
must, be tagged according to pre‐set list of terms ‐‐ also
allow free tagging
At Web Developers Roundtable…
Groups 3 – 4 each ‐‐ 20 minutes – then one
idea with group.
Each has a big pad and markers
Groups evenly divided into:
• Mobile experience:
• External access experience: i.e. desktop
client, RSS reader, email appearance
• Main web site experience
All ideas and input welcome