When Applications Go Right

There are times when it’s cool being a developer. Both Lisa and Sarah are being my sort of beta testers for CONGO, my conference management software. We’re using it to manage registration for Arisia. So far things have been pretty smooth, with only one serious “It keeps crashing!” situation.
Since I’m the sole developer of the system, I rarely get to enjoy hearing about other people using and testing the app, so sometimes it gets lonely doing all this cool development without a lot of feedback (the program is not in wide release yet).
A week or two ago I finished adding a “Template” function into CONGO. This lets you set up text templates for things like web forms and email notifications. If anyone has gotten email confirmation from Arisia pre-registration, that was all generated from my templates within CONGO, automatically.
I haven’t really told folks much about the templating engine inside CONGO, since I did all the setup for the mail notifications, and just told Sarah and Lisa how to get CONGO to automatically send mail when registering. This afternoon, Lisa sent mail to the registration alias saying she had built a new template, to be used to notify folks asking for babysitting at the event how to arrange it.
This is EXACTLY why I wrote the template editor, documented it the way I did, and put it online, so the registration operators can configure it without having to recode, recompile, or even edit the app. It’s all done through the web interface. Lisa did this with no coaching or even a nudge from me. She saw the value of the templates, how to use them, and implemented it without my involvement at all.
This so rocks my world. It not only means it was a useful feature, but it also tells me I did it in a way that someone could use it with minimal documentation, -and- could see its use without being prompted for it. WOW!
There’s a slight caveat here. The templates used in CONGO are very similar to how Movable Type, our blogging software, works. But still! Way cool!


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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