It all began when we wanted a custom photo gallery.
Towards this goal, we rebuilt the same site once each year for five years:
Making money is good, so on the side we built three versions of an eCommerce site, for a company that made t-shirts:
By this point we'd seen that we were solving the same problems on both sites. We started thinking about a digital asset manager that could directly support our web properties.
We called our project "Moonrise."
The first working version was a glorified asset index. At the time we still thought exporters/importers to move assets into a Wordpress front-end was the way to go. But then it hit us: we were already using Django -- a web app platform -- for the developer interface on our glorified asset index. Why not build the whole frontend out of Django too?
We had no idea what sort of a monster project we were getting into.
Some experimental projects happened here:
The frontend and backend individually worked, but under the hood shared few connections. The next version was all about bringing them together.
After this we began making smaller, feature-add versions, as opposed to megalithic redesigns.
Starting with v1.8 we have a better idea when versions launched because each release got new wallpaper art, and image files have timestamps built in!
We were tasked to build a new, photo-based app to run lost-and-found operations at Burning Man.
The lost-and-found problem gave us opportunity to explore an excellent real-world use-case. Many parts of our system, most especially our taxonomy models, grew in complexity as a result.
Fiindex went through two versions:
Version 1.10 started out as a brush-up on the visual look of the system. Code-wise, it never deployed, but blurred seamlessly into a v2.0 where we rebranded the project.
Project Moonrise was now Octoboxy!
Our system still had a lot of room to mature in every existing component.
At this point the core was more or less stable. It was time to tackle some bigger problems:
To kick-off the next arc of our story we set out to fix every long-standing annoyance we had with system architecture.
Some of this was simple module renames with few semantic changes. But on another level, some whole modules got rebuilt. This became a megalithic redesign version, perhaps our largest one ever.
New codebase was alive! Now it became time to move in and try out the features.
Our work in progress today involves a new dialect of markdown called Rightdown. In short, we've out-grown the standard python markdown library and undertook an effort to make a new one. Not to hoard something so fundamental, we opted to make this and some other base layers of Octoboxy into their own open-source spin-off!
Check out our open-source spin-off: “OctoBase”
That brings us to present time, present space -- v3.2 is what's running this site.
Thanks for walking this journey with us!
~ the Octoboxy crew