Saturday, September 27, 2008

SocialVino launches!

Well, many months in the making, SocialVino is finally live!

About a year ago I set out to learn Groovy, a new(ish) programming language. For me, there's no better way to learn a new language or technology than to actually engineer something with it. Most engineers agree that just reading books or Internet articles doesn't cut it. I think that even running canonical examples like the PetStore isn't much better either.

I've found that trying to solve new problems with new software is the best way to learn. I already had a ton of experience in the digital music industry, most proudly working on Rhapsody and for Liquid Digital Media. The last thing I wanted to do was to build yet another music download site.

But I did want to work on something I was passionate about that had some interesting software challenges and the potential for fun, too. So I decided on wine.

Along the way, I changed jobs and found myself in the social networking industry. SocialVino then morphed into a social wine site, where the members, and the user generated content they provide, completely power the content.

As my ideas and inspiration shifted often, so did the technologies I was most interested in learning.

I was fascinated with Grails, a Ruby-on-rails inspired web application framework powered by Groovy but that would run on the JVM. SocialVino is a Grails application. And I'm more fascinated with Grails than ever.

I also became intrigued by the possibilities of cloud computing, as Amazon was releasing (and improving) their cloud computing platform, the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). And so... SocialVino runs on EC2.

On the front end side of things, the Yahoo User Interface (YUI) library was taking off, and I thought (and still think) that it has just the right combination of simplicity and under-the-hood power. SocialVino relies heavily on YUI for css and javascript.

In future posts I'll talk about more of the technology stack and the Agile development methods I used and in which I believe strongly.

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