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This is my next big thing

It’s all a bit hush-hush, but I’m working on something awesome. I’ve wanted to delve into Node.JS (and all of its related shenanigans) for a while now and think I may just have come up with an excuse.

With the proliferation of ‘The Internet Of Things’ and the ever growing desire need for realtime logging and analytics be it web, mobile, desktop, or even that Arduino thats been sitting dormant for months, I have been toying with a creating an open platform for data collection, with a highly configurable wallboard output. Further still these events shouldn’t be restricted to this one view, event triggers and callbacks will hopefully allow a simple tool to achieve a suprising amount.

Of all things this feels like the perfect application of some really exiting new technologies that I’ve not yet had the chance to play with. A backend sat on Node.JS partnered with MongoDB. A SPA front end powered by Angular (or Knockout+RequireJS+CrossroadsJS, opinions welcome) with data pushed to the browser courtesy of WebSockets using Simple!

Lack of time, lack of sleep and lack of motivation have kept this idea off paper and out of code for quite some time but with Winter drawing in it feels like its time to get going.

Note: I’m not a loon, I’m well aware of the existing services out there! I’ve just always felt they don’t do exactly what I want them to. Either that or I can’t justify the expense. I’m not looking for this to be the next big thing, its a journey for me, a utility I want and hopefully a process that I’ll be able to share with you.

##Where to start

Having spent years processing the requests of my clients or in-house superiors I’m a little stumped when it comes to workflow on a macro scale. The order of things. Where to start?

I’ve begun a few projects previously and they have sadly fallen by the wayside when other pressures and influences have been too great. This is where a real concern hits me. To succeed in this I suspect I’ll need loads of little wins along the way to keep motivated.

Do I flesh out a thorough vision for this project first? It seems sensible, but once the UI is lain before me, will plugging it all in feel too big, overwhelming?

Do I start with the bones? Authentication, basic application structure, the API. Once that’s under my belt applying the flesh to this skeletal structure could be really satisfying, either that or it’ll cause massive re-work as I iron out the kinks.

##The non-plan

I’ll admit, and it may not be a surprise, I’m a bit lost. I believe, as this will be a learning process as well, that my path just won’t be all that clearly defined. At least not at the outset.

On each day if I’m interested and focused on one abstract element, then thats what deserves attention. If it excites me then I’ll pore over the code with greater passion, determination and detail than if I’m working soley to tick off the next item on the list.

##Watch this space

So, thats my consciousness on a page. If you’ve made it this far then thanks! I’ll endevour to maintain a loose log of progress on here. No promises.

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Toby Foord - Web Developer

Hi, I'm Toby Foord. A 28 year old developer, wannabe designer, husband, and dad. I ocassionally commit, once in a while I tweet, and on a blue moon I might chat.