And Now for Something Different

It’s been a few months since I began pushing further into the world of designing for the screen, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace. One of the things I find the most fascinating is the ability to make my own tools. To clarify, building tools isn’t always necessary, but the experience gained in making them is priceless.

Currently, I’m working on an app for my day job. It’s basically a to-do list, but with a few modifications that tailor it specifically to my work environment. When it’s done, it will hopefully streamline the creation of my daily job progress report, nicknamed the Hotsheet. Basically, the Hotsheet is just an HTML email of work project tasks, when they’re due, as well as other bits of information that are important to the progress of a particular job.

The idea to build an app was born out of a persistent problem that bugged me. One day I was entering in project information and realized how much I was repeating myself. The project managers I work with print out production sheets that contain due dates for all major milestones of each project, and I found myself hand-keying each item into an email, finding the due date, and then manually updating the status (e.g., late, need item, etc.).

I’m a fairly careful person, but nobody’s perfect; I would forget to update tasks, projects were missed because they had been added after the latest production sheet, dates changed, etc. Coupled with an outdated and very WET system for tracking each individual project, this presented a great opportunity to simplify and automate.

I read this great 24 Ways article that inspired me to learn Ruby on Rails by digging deep into the trenches. So, that’s what I’m doing. When I’m done, I’ll hopefully have something of value that could possibly help out my print design compadres. Or, at the very least, I will have gained invaluable experience. I’ll keep this blog posted on my progress.