It’s good to talk

Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing with some forum based technology, trying to find an ideal platform to take and add lots of modifications too to integrate fully with another app. The idea is that in said other app you will click “help” and it will take your code and post it directly to a forum, where people can offer up code solutions which you as the original poster can click the “try it” button that then puts it back in the other app and allows you to test it against your test systems.

There’s a whole other bunch of features and gamification that needs to happen to help build up a desire to help people with rewards for those that help the most, needless to say there will be a lot of customisations so I spent a little bit of time playing around with a few technologies and the one we’re going to use is NodeBB. It’s also worth mentioning they have a nice indiegogo campaign going and more support is required!

Everyone we’ve shown the forum to likes it, it is still quite immature, they only started in mid May (2013) and the code has come a long way, and it is continuously improving. With help from me ;)

Building a stable platform for the future

I have some constraints around what I’m doing, one is I’m still new to Javascript, learning, but new; luckily I have people I can bug if I get stuck which really helpful. I also have to make the discussion boards easy to support for the people that will be looking after it and easy to integrate it with our exiting app as and when needed.

The next biggest issue with building a solid platform is a good choice of frameworks, using a frame work like PassportJS rather than writing individual login methods, implementing configurable logging with something like Winston and using templating solutions like Dust (Dust seems really god but not maintained any more, I guess it’s perfect?) or Jade (Jade is only server side but ClientJade fills that niche)

All of these frameworks will just make my life easier in the log run, I’ll hopefully be able to work quicker and it should give other sone thing less to learn assuming I choose libraries they are familiar with anyway.

So there’s a few things that need to be looked at from a supportability point of view and to enable easier development by us and then there’s all the extras we need to work on, because of the level of integration and needing to poke almost all elements it will be interesting to see how the plugins will work for NodeBB. I’m desperately trying to work out how I can maintain heavy customisation of the code and still contribute back shared goals, I’d prefer not to fork and become so separated that we can’t push back contributions, hopefully we’ll be able to work out how we do that!


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