Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Enter, Trello Dojo

title_page_small With over 1.5 million users, Trello is one of the best and fastest growing websites for managing projects of all types and sizes. My new book, Enter, Trello Dojo will introduce you to this amazing free service, and then quickly show you how to build awesome Trello boards to slay waste and effortlessly manage any project or process you may have at home or at work. If you're still not sure how to get started, Enter Trello Dojo gives you over a dozen templates for starting Trello boards you can use today!

Leanpub books, by design, are meant to be works in progress, and this one is no exception.  Several free updates are planned, but after several months of tinkering and tweaking, I’ve decided it’s time to release Enter, Trello Dojo into the wild.  My goal for this book is for it to be the unofficial guide to using the awesome Trello service in a variety of work and home scenarios. 

What is Trello?

I’ve blogged about it before, but Trello’s website describes it well: Trello is the fastest, easiest way to organize anything, from your day-to-day work, to a favorite side project, to your greatest life plans. People run work projects, name babies, plan meals, and more using this versatile free tool.  Even if you don’t get the book, you owe it to yourself to check out the site.

What is Leanpub?

I probably need to do a whole post on this, but in a nutshell, Leanpub is the best way in the world to write a book.  I started Enter, Trello Dojo a number of times as a Word Document, but kept getting bogged down in formatting and how to publish and sell the book.  Leanpub took away all that ‘cruft’ and let me focus on the content.  If you’re interesting in writing or self-publishing, I’d highly recommend this site.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

In Which Azure Makes WebSockets Switch-flip-easy and I add WebSockets to DrawThing

imageI’m finding myself eagerly looking forward to Scott Guthrie’s Azure announcements.  Their team is powering out multiple new features in a 3-week cadence, and always has some real gems each release cycle.  That in its own right is a blog post some day- THAT, my friends, is how to run a project. But for now, one gem that stood out to me in the latest drop was WebSocket support.  I did a little post a while back about using SignalR + Canvas to build a realtime multiplayer tic-tac-toe engine whiteboard, called DrawThing.

What’s nifty about SignalR is that it provides a high-level abstraction of “realtime communications” to your website.  You wire it up, and _it_ handles _how_ to provide the communication based on browser and server support for the common methods for doing this. 

This meant that enabling WebSocket support for DrawThing was simply a matter of flipping the WebSocket switch to ‘On’ for the site in the Azure management console.  Checking Chrome dev tools’ “Network” tab reveals that websockets are indeed being used, and the app seems more responsive.