finally a bnode with a uri

dooit - a live Getting Real experiment

I created an RDF app following the Getting Real approach
dooitI've probably read Getting Real half a dozen times since the release of the free online version last year. The agile process seems to fit quite nicely with RDF-based tools (Semantic CrunchBase was the most recent proof of concept for me). I'm currently writing a DevX article about using RDF and SPARQL in combination with Getting Real and wondered about quantitative numbers for such an approach. As I usually don't record hours for personal projects, I had to create a new one: sillily named "dooit", a to-do list manager.

dooit follows a lot of GR suggestions such as "UI first", not wasting too much time on a name, that less may be enough for 80% of the use cases, or that usage patterns may evolve as "just-as-good" replacements of features ("mm-dd" tags could for example enable calendar-like functionality).

I started the live experiment on Friday and finished the first iteration on Saturday. Below is a twitter log of the individual activities. I was using Trice as a Web framework, otherwise I would of course have spent much more time on generating forms and implementing AJAX handlers etc. So, the numbers only reflect the project-specific effort, but that's what I was interested in.
  • (Fr 08:24) trying the "Getting Real" approach for a small RDF app
  • (Fr 10:51) idea: a siiimple to-do list with taggable items
  • (Fr 11:02) nailing down initial feature set: ~15mins: add, edit, tick off taggable to-do items
  • (Fr 11:02) finding a silly product name: ~5mins: "dooit"
  • (Fr 11:27) creating paper sketches: ~20mins (IIRC, done yesterday evening)
  • (Fr 11:42) got unreal by first spending ~30mins on a logo
  • (Fr 12:07) Setting up blank Trice instance and basic layout to help with HTML creation: ~25mins
  • (Fr 13:52) first dooit HTML mock-up and CSS stylesheet: ~90mins
  • (Fr 17:14) JavaScript/AJAX hooks for editing in place, forms work, too, but w/o data access on the server: ~3h
  • (Fr 18:12) identifying RDF terms for the data structures: ~30min
  • (Fr 18:13) gotta run. time spent so far for creating RDF from a submitted form: 20mins
  • (Sa 14:40) continuing Getting Real live experiment
  • (Sa 14:41) "URIs everywhere" is one of the main issues for agile development of rdf-based apps. Will try to auto-gen them directly from the forms..
  • (Sa 19:04) rdf infrastructure work to auto-generate RDF from forms and to auto-fill forms from RDF: ~2h
  • (Sa 19:07) functions to send form data to RDF store via SPARQL DELETE/INSERT calls: ~1h
  • (Sa 19:09) replacing mockup template sections with SPARQL-generated snippets: ~1h (CRUD and filter-by-tag now in place, just ticking off items doesn't work yet)
  • (Sa 20:09) implementing rest of initial feature set, tests, fine-tuning: ~1 h. done :)
  • (Sa 20:14) Result of Getting Real experiment: http://semsol.org/dooit Got Real in ~10 12 hours
I think I can call it a success so far. One point about GR is staying focused, working from the UI to the code helps a lot here (as does live-logging, I guess ;). But I'm not done yet. Now that I have a first running version, I still have to see if my RDF-driven app can evolve, if the code is manageable and easy to change. I'm looking forward to finding that out, but my shiny new dooit list suggests to finish the DevX article first ;)

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