Posts Tagged ‘Jim Lynch’

ecoReserve coding momentum!

Friday, June 4th, 2010

On Wednesday, in front of ecoReserve’s CEO, Colin Wiel, our President/COO, Tamara Pulsts, and our new GIS engineer, Will Cadell, I was able to show a demo build of ecoReserve’s web application, with many of the features in place for our private alpha release at the end of this month. As soon as Will has integrated the first version of the Mamoni Valley map, we’ll start extended testing on the alpha among ecoReserve staff and associates. We hope to have our public beta later this summer, and a full launch in the fall.

The screen shot below is from our development server, and shows the left content drawer used for navigating through our editorial content. This blog is currently being mirrored into the live application, so that once we’re ready to show it to the world, all the content we’ve created to date will be available in the new application. Thanks to everyone on my team for their great code, and thanks to everyone else in the ecoReserve community for their support. We’re getting VERY close, and I can’t wait to share our work with you!

screen shot from the ecoReserve dev server

ecoReserve Gifts

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

As Sandy mentioned in her post about the SF Green Festival, we’re adding a feature to our initial launch: the ability of ecoReserve users to send gifts to other users. There will be a page on the site with a form that allows users to select a gift amount, and send it to an existing ecoReserve friend, another ecoReserve user, or to someone who hasn’t joined ecoReserve yet. Users will also be able to access this feature while browsing through Reservist profiles.

We’re also enhancing our “sharing” capabilities for this feature. Users be able to post the page to Facebook, of course, asking their friends to shower them with ecoReserve gifts for their birthday, wedding, or any other occasion. We’ll also allow users to send out a pre-formatted email inviting them to send gifts for those same occasions.

We all appreciate the feedback given to us at the Green Festival. The Gift feature is something that somehow evaded our initial  rfeature list, thanks to those who got it back on the list!

Kismet: a new theory of volunteer recruiting

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Tamara and I met with an outrageously talented woman today for lunch at Amber India next to the Four Seasons in San Francisco. She’s going to take the lead in creating what I’ll call “foundation-level CSS” to aid us in converting Organic’s designs into a world class user interface for ecoReserve.

It wasn’t her talent that prompted this blog post, though… it was her backstory. We walked through the details of a couple of sample layouts, went over some common landmines created when several developers collaborate on UI implementations… then she said something that blew us away.

“I have an external motivation… I was busted on a seatbelt ticket in Marin County… it was either community service or a big fine.” It turns out, in Marin County, and in many other areas in the US, the idea of “community service” means the donation of work to a registered non-profit.

So, all of you out there sliding through the tubes of the mighty internet… especially any linux system administrators, graphic designers, UI developers, marketing mavens… if you have a moving violation, a non-scary misdemeanor, any minor infraction for which you may choose community service as your sentence: ecoReserve… we’ll help you save the rainforest and avoid that big fine, all in a day’s (or 30 hours, or whatever your sentence might be) work.

Progress… day by day

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

We’re moving ahead with coding here at ecoReserve. I am pounding away at technical documentation and data models; Reza is making real progress on both the GIS/mapping layer and the interface between the map and the XHTML layer that sits “above” it. One of my engineers in Pune has started, and the other two come onboard tomorrow night. Later this week we’ll post a video screenshot showing some of Reza’s work.

web performance challenges

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

One of the issues we discuss here every day is how to optimize the performance of the application we’re building. User expectations of site performance differ when browsing a modern XHTML-based site versus a google map.

We’re going to keep the user in a “static” mode as much as we can to maintain a responsive UI. “Static” doesn’t mean boring, though. Our site design will feature beautiful photography and elegant controls.

When the user wants to browse, for example, the reforestation area of the Mamoni Valley, we will switch them into Map View, with controls similar to those featured in Google Maps. In this mode, the user can select parcels for purchase, which would put them back into Static Mode to interact with the shopping cart.

Reza has built a prototype of the map layer with some low-resolution imagery, and we’re all excited to see it up on our development server with the new aerial photography being shot next month.

As we move closer to production, we’ll evaluate our options for caching, content delivery networks, and other performance tuning tools available to the PHP universe… ecoReserve will be a first-class application with excellent overall performance. Stay tuned, we’re just getting started.

ecoReserve tech blogging

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Hello everyone… I’m Jim Lynch, CTO of ecoReserve. I’m going to be blogging on a weekly basis about the development of the ecoReserve application. This is an exciting time for us, as we’re about two weeks from adding three full-time coders to our team, thanks to QuickStart Global. One engineer will be dedicated to developing the user interface, based on the excellent designs donated to us by Organic Media. Another engineer will be responsible for coding core features and functionality, while our senior developer will work with me on the overall direction of the application and the integration of Reza Ghezelbash’s GIS and mapping technology.

The first release of the application will allow users to browse rich imagery of the Mamoni Valley, zooming in to find and sponsor parcels of land, and connect with other reservists within our application and other social networks. ecoReserve will constantly evolve and improve, with many exciting features planned for future releases.

Our engineering team has been greatly aided by the contributions of key volunteers in technical documentation, system administration, QA, and user interface development. Our thanks go out to everyone who has contributed so far, and we’re always looking to add more volunteer talent to our team. If you’ve worked with Symfony (PHP framework), or any other PHP MVC framework, leave a comment below and I’ll contact you.