Project TD — Day 183 — user stories, data store design and api list for the api engine

project diary — book 1 and phase has come to a happy end

According to my developer diary, it is now more than 6 months since I started project TD. I am not even being subtle about it because the post photo above shows my diary. Perhaps to indicate that this is the end of an important phase, the book has run out of pages. Coincident? Providence? Perhaps the gods are smiling on me. I move on to the second book of this project, and that symbolically moves the project to the second phase of the project.

Since the most recent update, Day 156, I have been focussing on user stores for the three apps that will be part of the ecosystem. Will these 3 apps be the only apps that will be developed? Perhaps, there will be more apps but as of now, these 3 are all I will be focusing on. In fact, the first phase of the plan (and the book itself) contains enough designs that form an outline for all the work that will be done for the next 10 months.

The user stories talk about how the app flow will happen for the users — patrons, chefs and devops. The iPad has been most useful in drawing these stories. That is also when I (finally) discovered the true power of adobe Photoshop. I always assumed that Photoshop was more for photos. I see now that it has a huge role to play as I digitize my designs going forward. I also realized that the work will expand beyond what the roughly 8 inches of real estate the iPad can offer. That is also where, I ended up admiring the power of Wacom drawing tablets for digital artistry. They are like huge mouse pads, and they are awesome! I got the touch version which supports multi-touch. As time progresses, I will write more about it here.

As I write this, I have already invested heavily in both Photoshop and Wacom. That pushes the already substantial investment (time and money) in project TD. The iPad is still useful for simple sketches (and it will act like a funnel to the desktop drawing via Wacom) but it is clear that broader designs and collaboration can only happen with more powerful tools — Photoshop and Wacom tablet.

One of the things that is making all this possible, are subscription services. I am not new to subscriptions services. Microsoft is my preferred partner with its many subscription services that I use — Office 365 email, Office and Azure cloud services. Thanks to the new cloud based models, I am able to use services which would be not available to me at all. This is with reference to the Adobe’s cloud subscription which provides with the necessary tools. That is just fantastic. The model has its problems (as with any sort of software licensing deal) but my circumstances lend itself to a happy ending as far as these cloud licenses are concerned.

Speaking of new tools, I mentioned Wacom earlier. Based on all the research I did before I purchased it (I started researching it last year, December 2016). My fellow online folks warned me that there is a learning curve involved. Maybe it is the magic of improved technology or I am simply that good, I ended up getting the hang of using it right away. I am sure it is the latter, but if it is the former, I can only thank my stars.

After wrapping up the user stories, I next moved on to designing the data stores. This follows logically from the user stories. They informed me what data will be stored, created and exchanged between the users and online data servers. As always, I keep the modularity in mind when designing these things, so that I can replace and improve these units in the long run. Once the data stores design was complete, it logically followed that I finalize the list of API calls. Once that was done, the initial phase of work was complete.

I am hard at work at ramping up iOS development skills, but that should take a few months. The plan is to finish the above design first (until the API engine is ready, using the above API list, no app that consumes the API engine can be built) by November. Then, I can build the apps in December, which is in line with my original schedule. At this point, it is possible that the schedule may move up or move down depending on what else may go wrong or go right in the middle.

So, that is that.




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