Saturday, September 22, 2007

Midnight Oil

I didn't have time to post as often as I would've liked today but such are the challenges of a Startup Weekend.

On the technology front we made a lot of progress on the Facebook, infrastructure and core development fronts. I'll give a brief overview of our status based on the areas of concentration I described in the last post.
  • Facebook research
    • Standard API - Our understanding of the core APIs is good and we tested a lot of the calls.
    • JS - The embedded Javascript functionality is fairly new to Facebook and the documentation is representative of this state but our UI group made some great progress on this front.
  • Data consolidation/management - Solid progress. Initial data schema and data access objects are in place. Spelling correction and external WS libraries are coming together.
  • Infrastructure - Our server is up and running and most of the required production software is installed. Tomorrow we need to finish the install and tune the OOTB applications.
In a nutshell... we made a lot of progress today. The application doesn't look like much right now but we have all the components in place that will let us move quickly tomorrow.

I will say... I'm sweating a bit right now but I'm confident we'll be able to pull this off.

Perhaps next weekend I'll do a one man startup weekend to measure the impact of a large group of relative strangers.

Oh... there is a logo and name for the project.

Alright... there are only a couple of hours left in the day and I have a lot to do...

Progress

From a technology standpoint, we're making great progress. Until we receive a completed functional specification, we divided our time into:
  • Facebook research - Make sure we fully understand all the aspects of the Facebook API.
  • Data consolidation - We're going to receive a lot of customer generated data. We need to make sure the application corrects misspellings (where possible).
  • Infrastructure - Server hosting and production software install.
After we receive the functional specs, we can divide up the coding tasks and bang this out. I'm getting a little nervous about time but overall, I feel confident about where we are right now.

Back at It

After a mere four hours of sleep I'm back in Brooklyn getting ready to start day two. I ended up spending a couple of hours setting up the source repository last night. I wrote some basic build and deploy scripts so that the rest of the engineers could start running today. I tried to get to bed around 02:30 but my mind was racing. I was thinking about the project and what we have to do this weekend.

Today, the major technological hurdle is for us all the familiarize ourselves with the Facebook API. I don't see this is a major obstacle because it's a relatively simple set of commands. I wrote a hello world Facebook application a few months ago but that's hardly the same as what we're building this weekend.

I'm hoping we can make some major progress on the data consolidation application today. Since people will tend to misspell the names of restaurants and food we need to write a process that picks the correct spelling and consolidates data. Not an impossible process but can be difficult when dealing with our dataset (restaurant names and dishes).

Alright, it's three minutes until we officially start... I will be posting every few hours today.

Fun, fun, fun!