With 2016 behind us, I want to lay out the Big Picture for Handmade Network 2017. The core activities such as hosting software projects, doing the Handmade Dev Show, and engaging in the forums will not go away; we're merely expanding on what we do. Let's actually start off with things we've completed in just this first week of January:
Submit a Project
This was developed by our very own chronaldragon, so I'll let him discuss the new feature:
On Handmade Network, one of our goals has been to build a virtual space that allows the breadth of software development occurring in our community to shine forth. Until this point, access to that space has been limited by an opaque and somewhat inaccessible submission process that involved individual correspondence with a member of the staff and an ad-hoc set of criteria that fluctuated as our own notions of what our platform should be have changed. But no longer; at long last, I've had the leisure of enough free time and mental energy to sit down and write a complete project submission pipeline that allows anyone who has an account on the site to easily apply for access to the features and platform we're building to share their project with the community and join the Network. This has been a long time coming, and we're happy that it's finally ready so that all of you can share your awesome projects with us in a more intuitive, consistent, and transparent way.
There you have it! He tested it with his new library, and we've received some new submissions already. We're in the process of establishing submission guidelines (of how we go about approving a handmade project), but you can still submit right away. However, until those guidelines are public we'll have to approve or reject based on how it lines up with the spirit of the manifesto, and to a significant degree, our personal judgement.
URL Unfurls and more!
This was done by Jeroen van Rijn (Kelimion), and again, I'll let him explain things:
This past month has seen a partial rewrite of the backend to make it easier to maintain going forward, and also enable us to add remaining features more easily.
In addition, I've added unfurling of project and member profiles, forums, blogs, threads and a few other pages. This means when linking to them on Slack, Twitter and a number of other websites, you'll get a succinct summary of the content of the page along with a logo or avatar.
Forum and blog threads now also have their title as part of the URL (optionally - old-style URLs still work). Together with unfurling, this will additionally make our content easier to find going forward.
Upcoming: RSS Feeds
This week we'll be working on RSS feeds and that'll be a great feature to have, especially since most users have requested it. We're on it!
Formalizing Monthly Update
December was considered a free month, so we did not expect project owners to give the community any updates. We do ask that you keep users informed this month onward however if you can!
We don't really have a formal way of explaining what we expect out of project owners. Informally, it's to drop a quick line or making a blog post each month about your current progress (and if you can't write anything, to let us know). It's a not-too-annoying way to keep the community informed of your project progress.
Even so, many questions arise: "What if I completed my project?", "What if it's a library and I'm just doing maintenance?", "What if I'm posting on Twitter and I don't want to write anything here on this website?". All of those are reasonable questions, and the team will be explaining how it's going to work once it's all formalized on paper. Most of all, we want updates to be a fun, unobtrusive experience for project owners and caring users alike.
Plans for 2017
I'll need a separate post for this later this month, so I can go into details, but this year we're focusing on a Handmade Wiki as well as creating educational materials. These things would be an expansion of Handmade Network, living alongside the handmade software projects.
Expect more updates as we move along, especially since we're ending the beta (finally!) for the website by the end of the month. From there, we can work on the new systems that will help host the Wiki system and find a home for authors and programming teachers. As always, you can support our efforts at Patreon if you have a monthly dollar to spare.
Appreciate your time in reading this. Let's grow the network!