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Bugbears, the Finite State Engine and MagicMVC


Bugbears is finally live. The application developed for CBBC provides children with a platform to air their views on a number of topics anonymously. They are provided a voice recording studio where they can select a creature to which their recorded voices would provide the voice track. An animated creature is then created and posted to the site. Visitors to the site can play back these 'bugbears' and tag then with 'hugs', 'respect' or 'feel the same'. A few more features on the site provide the visitor with the ability to leave advice or feedback on the various subjects.


This CBBC project has taken half of the year in development and required nay demanded my complete attention over the time. For the most part it as been 1 long 6month week with lots of 48 hour development sessions generously sprinkled with lots of hair pulling and head scratching and very hairy moments. Lots of lessons have been learned during the process from development and project management perspectives. All I can say is that I now know what it must be like to be a shirt in a washing machine in a hot wash. Nonetheless it has been a wonderful experience and seeing the project develop from use-case diagrams to release version has made all the work well worth it. My colleague and co developer Valentyne Derkach has been a boon and a dream to work with and I often wonder what it would have been with out him on board. Valentyne you rock!!


On a personal note this project allowed me to test the efficacy of MagicMVC (an mvc based scaffolding I developed for Magic Lantern Productions) and explore the possibilities offered by a Finite State Engine and the State design pattern. Indeed the Bugbears application is a Finite State engine managing a number of states (views) which are pulled in at the users request. It provided scaleability and robustness to the application and allowed us to deal comfortable with team development and the constant stream of changes to the application spec which inevitably come as the application was being developed. The use of an interface for state change rather than the use of concrete classes provided the flexibility to manage the intricate retrieval and removal of various classes required to make the system work.


Magic MVC provided the scafolding for tthe large views and because it provides a Flash Media Server hook in its model it allowed us manage NetConnections and Nestreams very comfortably. There is still a lot to be learned and as we put the in finishing touches, Val and I muse over how much better the site could have been if we had done things differently, if we had more time, if we planned better. I guess this is a good thing as it shows we are still developing and are searching to improve. We hope to release MagicMVC in the near future, as we have both found it very useful.


aYo Binitie II

2 comments:

Emi Burgos said...

Hi there,
i came here from the google code magic mvc repo...just curious about the framework but did not find anything to download. Wondering if you could tell me when it will be released. Regards,goliatone

aYo ii said...

Hi,
I'll be putting up the code this weekend - My bad, I've been a bit swamped with work

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