When I go on vacation to different places, I snap a lot of photos of scenery – mountains, rock formations, etc. When I got into playing Skyrim, I so enjoyed the landscape that the first few hours of the game saw more screenshots captured than monsters defeated!
A few weeks before my virtual hiking excursions began, the ASP.NET Web API was released in beta form along with a whole bunch of other beta-bits goodness. These different bits enable developers in ways that would otherwise require a lot of effort to create bespoke. These two otherwise unrelated events enjoyed a confluence when they met in my brain, forming what would eventually lead to the conception (perhaps an Inception?) of this project.
A Combination of Ideas
One evening of play, I was positioning my ‘camera’ for a particularly stunning sunset shot when I had a sudden image of that picture on a postcard along with a pithy catch-phrase in bold coloring extolling the virtues of some vacation spot. My concentration slipped, causing my unfortunate hero to plunge to his death from the top of a mountain, but good thing for him that’s he’s a plucky fellow. His long fall gave me time to ponder: the name PostcardApp flowed naturally, as did ‘Postcards From Skyrim’. Great, but what about it? I ended up purchasing the domain just in case while I pondered the what, how, and why of my idea. It didn’t take long to merge the idea of making a postcards web application with my desire to share and learn how to make use of all the shiny toys available to a modern developer.
Thinking about what I wanted the app to be able to do, I brainstormed some goals and stories to help sharpen my focus.
- Simplicity. Only use what’s needed to satisfy the stories, and keep it simple. Did I mention that I wanted this to be simple? Yeah, more an ideal than a likelihood, but a worthy aspiration nonetheless!
- Useful. It has to be able to accomplish some actual task, regardless how contrived that task might be.
- Serve as a reference guide for myself and for other developers looking to Get Things Done
Though the concept is relatively simple, I could always use practice in identification and authoring of user stories. Here are a few I came up with:
- [As a user,] I want to be able to choose a background and salutation for the front of my postcard so that I can create a custom postcard.
- [As a user,] I want to be able to write on the back of the postcard so that I can taunt my envious friends with how awesome my virtual vacation is going.
- [As a user,] I want to be able to save and share the postcards I create so that other people can be bedazzled by my creativity and wit.