Bridge Troll: An Update!

A renewed effort to build out Bridge Troll (open source event management software) started in late November 2012, but mostly inside my head. As a new product manager, I wanted to define ALL THE THINGS before we started to build it. A kind developer-friend reminded me that that is very un-agile, and I should really get something out into the world ASAP. Luckily, there were extra volunteers at the December RailsBridge workshop,  and a few of them were willing to code instead of teach. Our official kick-off  took the form of a hack day in January, and awesome folks came out and made major contributions to the project. So where are we at now?

What We’ve Done

Here are the stories that have been completed & accepted since December 10, 2012:

  • Upgrade rails
  • Events should have Organizers
  • Only an event’s organizer should be able to edit that event
  • User should see only the RSVP’d participant’s names on event page
  • Organizers should see RSVP’d user’s email addresses and teaching preference
  • Event detail page should show organizer volunteers by teaching preference
  • Organizers should be able add details to Event
  • Event organizer should be able to specify co-organizers
  • User should have an Account page instead of “Add Your Skills” page
  • User has both a first and last name.
  • Organizer can format Event Details to have line breaks.
  • Organizer can specify that an event spans multiple sessions which can span multiple days
  • User should see an RSVP questions page
  • Users should have a Profile page
  • event dates should be rendered in the event’s time zone
  • User session should not expire
  • Manage Organizers page should have a link back to the event page
  • A volunteer can edit their RSVP preferences
  • Add teaching preferences checkboxes to volunteer RSVP form
  • Volunteer can specify which sessions they are attending

Doing all of those things required a lot of love and sweat and database decisions and migrations. This community is awesome.

When will Bridge Troll be ready for a trial run? Our MVP is that volunteers can sign up for an event and organizers can assign them their tasks & check them in at the event! It’s not too far off, but we could use your help. Plus, we’ve got a couple of designers working on the visual design & UX of the application, so that’ll take some major implementation work. (Pull requests accepted here; we also have something like a roadmap for adding student registration and class-level sorting. And of course, here’s our backlog.)

Who Is This Thing For? How Many Bridge Trolls Will There Be?

At the January hack day, I ran around answering questions and having conversations about where the project was going. A particularly fruitful one took place between myself and Sarah Allen, who was one of the original Bridge Troll product manager-types (and co-founded RailsBridge). I had been thinking that each RailsBridge community would have its own Bridge Troll instance — one each for SF, Boston, NW Florida, Seattle, and anybody who started holding workshops in their area could spin their own up.

The angle that I hadn’t considered was the huge opportunity we’d have for collaboration between cities if we shared an instance. Sarah pointed out we don’t always know if workshops will happen more than once in a given city, and that having a bunch of individual instances of Bridge Troll would probably not be very helpful. Certainly if a city wanted to have their own, they can go for it. But generally, it wouldn’t be an engineering challenge to allow filtering / sorting by location, and it would have major collaboration & data benefits to have everything living in the same place. I’m *really* glad that conversation happened!

Sarah and I also talked about bigger-picture hopes and dreams for Bridge Troll, which you can read through on the project wiki here: I’m excited to deposit big ideas there so we can focus on slimming down the Bridge Troll MVP and getting something out the door.

Bridge Troll: An Update!