On Monday I started with a coffee at the Black Cat, and by sorting out a mess I’d made of PickletDraft forms on the weekend. Needed to get my ‘admin’ interface out of the way of making a good ‘author’ experience.
Back home I designed and implemented a basic draft review process in order to display a list of ‘Featured’ picklets; an author creates a draft of their picklet and tests it. When the author is happy with it as a finished work, s/he submits it for review. Store reviewer looks at it and either a) rejects it with comments, or b) accepts it for the picklet store. Accepting a draft creates a product code for it, and a record that will be manually transferred to iTunesConnect as an In App Purchase. Not currently doing that, but the store site now lists the ‘product’ when the iPhone client requests it.
On Tuesday morning I took my laptop down to Rosamond to plan the day. No wifi there, so back home I installed PIL for image processing to later play with rendering panel previews on the server when a draft is created. Did some design work for storing local BlobProperty copies of layer images from the public dropbox url when a draft is created.
In the afternoon I was at the AIM studio in the city adding thumbnail saving to the PickletExport script. The thumbnails will be used in the interface instead of page names. The idea being that where possible the interface should be more graphical than textual. Panel thumbnails might also be useful in the picklet player as a visual index for in-picklet navigation. Added dropbox thumbnail metadata parsing in the server.
Wednesday I met with James (once again at the Black Cat) to catch him up on the project. He’s one of my animation/interactive media alumni colleagues and on my very short list of tech-savvy designer type beta testers. He gets it.
Later on I renamed ‘pages’ to ‘panels’ everywhere that is visible to the author. This represents a conceptual change which is a much better fit for the sequential art medium. It will be more helpful for authors to think of each two-state composition as a panel, rather than a page. Simple global text change in the source, but not so simple to stop myself from referring to them as ‘pages’.
Then I started moving the Dropbox browse workspace into a popover and ‘picklet create’ into a dialog, with progress status. These functions have both been linked off the ‘welcome’ page, which was really just an arbitrary couple of links that didn’t have a home. This solution puts them into a popover triggered by the ‘+’ in the sidebar header. A very iPad-inspired design. Props to Julien Guimont for the jQuery popover code.
Thursday I started with a decaf flat white at Min Lokal, just down the road. I spent half an hour drafting an email to a famous cartoonist, introducing the picklet concept. I won’t send it until the site’s stabilized and the iPhone app is launched, but he’d make a great picklet author, and has a huge audience.
Then I went to my other office and spent most of the day making the Dropbox browse/create and ‘duplicate existing’ functionality much smoother. Now displaying thumbnails (if they exist) from the selected dropbox folder before the picklet is created.