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Gluing it all together: progr.es Behind the Screens – Part 2

Combining Django and Node.js

An overview of the progr.es technology by Herman Schaaf, lead software engineer.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I discussed how, in choosing the frameworks to power progr.es, we realized that it would be best to combine the strenghts of two different frameworks in particular: Django and Node.js. Django to power the application, chosen for its robustness, thousands of libraries and our experience using it, and Node.js for real-time (also called “comet”) capabilities. Combining these two was an unusual choice – one probably not attempted often up to now – and so we had to figure out a way to have the two frameworks communicate with each other. The common denominator we found for both of these is a messaging library called RabbitMQ.

The progr.es Architecture

The progr.es Architecture: How the different frameworks communicate with each other.

Read More…

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progr.es Behind the Screens – Part 1

An overview of the progr.es technology by Herman Schaaf, lead software engineer.

This forms part of a two-part series on some technical aspects behind progr.es. I will try to give some insight into how we chose the technologies that we use, and how we managed to make these technologies work well together and perform some of the intricate features of the main progr.es application in a simple, efficient way. The latter will specifically be discussed in Part 2: Gluing it all together.

Choosing Between Buzzwords

In the building of progr.es, we had to make a number of technology-related decisions. Most importantly, we had to choose only a few core technologies – from the swarm of buzzwords that invade our daily vocabulary – to power and assist in the development of progr.es. I need only throw a few names out there to give an idea of the overwhelming number of choices even when merely deciding on a backend application framework: Django, Pylons, Flask, Node.js, Express, Ruby on Rails and Scala are merely a few examples. In evaluating every framework, we gave careful consideration to a number of factors, before settling on our rather unique stack. Read More…

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hello!

Welcome to progr.es!

This is a quick introduction to our new application progr.es that we are proudly releasing today.

What is it?

Basically progr.es is a web application that lets you manage projects very easily.

You can quickly create a project, define the big steps (milestones) and the small steps within those (tasks) and run through a project by checking off items as they are done. You can share this project with friends and co-workers and write each other notes on any of the steps to make sure you are all aware of what is happening.

All sorts of projects can be tracked – from the more formal projects within businesses (such as order processing) to less-formal or lifestyle projects (such as giving your babysitter a series of tasks to do).

After some time of running such projects you may notice that many of the steps are the same and repeat themselves; the project steps become well enough defined and standardized to make the project a process project, or more simply, a process.

This is where progr.es really shines: once you have defined processes, it just takes a couple clicks to kick-off projects with the same steps – you no longer have to remember all the steps involved and recreate the project from scratch, just click and go!

So it is project management software… much like MS Project and 1,000 other apps out there?

Not quite.  All the complicated stuff has been jettisoned. You don’t need to know about GANTT charts or resource allocation or pre-requistes or contingencies. This is very light-touch project management, which has been optimized for processes.

Our users are either non-technical, but want some level of project management for the work they do, or are technical but can’t be bothered with the complexity of other solutions.

How does it work?

The best way to learn how to use progr.es is to sign up (http://progr.es) and start building projects.

Check out the demonstration project that is created for you if you want a very quick introduction – click around, check off items, add notes. Most of the advanced functionality is hidden behind gear icons – so click on those to see your options.

If you want to see how the sharing and collaboration works, add a friend to a project (click on Add Users from your project Participants panel). Then watch in amazement as the stuff they do (checking off, adding notes) is show on your browser in real time!

So what will this cost me?

All the functionality that you see now is free. There may be some limitations in the future (such as how many projects you can run at the same time or how many collaborators you can have), but the basic functionality you see now will remain free.

In the future we will be adding business-focused functionality such as time-based projects (due dates and deadlines), notifications, and project metrics and reporting. You are then free to pay us if that interests you!

Sounds fun… but I don’t see features I need…

This is early stages for progr.es. We have some big plans for the app and will be implementing new functionality as soon as we can. If you have ideas, feature requests or just want to discuss the app with us, please contact us – we want this to be a very powerful, useful, but still easy to use application – and would LOVE your feedback.

Test out progr.es and let us know what you think!

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