Several weeks ago, I was preparing for an event and was looking to collect some basic information as I was preparing my presentation. I started to hunt around the Internet to locate these bits of information that I needed. Like many I quickly became overwhelmed with the variety and quality of content that I found. I certainly don’t think this is a unique phenomenon. The Internet has a tremendous amount of great content. This got me thinking about event attendees and trying to digest the huge amounts of information that we covered. This led me to start thinking about the idea of questions and post event information. Personally, I know that I am looking for various nuggets of information that either I heard, saw or even asked at an event. I wanted to figure out a possible way to solve this problem and enable an easy to use repository for helping to solve this problem.
Of course, in trying to tackle this problem I had to make a few basic assumptions. First, for all events we always try to provide both the code and samples that are covered. This shouldn’t be considered a nugget. Second, things like whitepapers and blogs are great sources of information. In no way should they be considered a nugget. My goal was to provide small manageable bits of information that could either help to prepare, add to or retrieve follow up bits of information from an event or around a topic. This led me to an idea that I called DevNuggets that I want to try a beta test and continue to improve on.
What is a Nugget?
Dictionary.com defines a nugget as:
1. A small, solid lump, especially of gold.
2. A small compact portion or unit: nuggets of information.
With what I think is a simple definition and direction I begin developing some ideas. For example, if you are attending an event and want to get some basic information like definitions or some simple code snippets then a nugget is the answer. I have been thinking of it as a short burst of information or a nugget of information that you can use.
The target of the information is developer and developer based content. With that in mind, as I started to develop this idea it made perfect sense for this to be a Web Service based infrastructure. My goal is to provide the Web Service interfaces and the initial content as a start. As a developer and because the information is exposed through Web Services you can define your own client or use the one provided. As a start I have provided a sample client interface with the code.
The Idea Defined
The idea is relatively simple I hope. This is just a beta test with some ideas that I have thought about. I want to hear what you think! Currently, I only have three small nuggets in the database. My initial goal is start to build this out with ideas and contributions from the community.
I am looking for ideas, contributions and feedback. What type of nuggets do you want to see? What other features do you want? My hope is that with the upcoming events we will be able to capitalize on this idea and content further. The idea is that anybody could download the nuggets collection before an event and then update these with additional content during and after the event. For example, at the event you asked a question. I think this would be a great place to put that answer.
What else would it be? Web Services provide the key to this architecture. All data is served up through a SQL Database on the back end. The sample client provided below is a smart client application using VB.NET.
How to Get Started
For those that want to check it out here are the important links:
This is just the Beta and a beginning. I am hoping for feedback, criticism, ideas and Nugget authors! Of course, like all good Beta’s I need to work out the inevitable kinks and things that occur.
Want to Develop an Interface?
In order to develop your own clients you will need to request a developer key. This is a painless process. This can be done through the client interface from the Help menu otherwise through the Web Service interface through the InsertDevToken interface.