Starting in September of 2014, CQT founder Lynn Cyrin began work on Quirrell–our QT social network which we crowd-funded during the holiday season of 2014. Since then, we have have significant progress on Quirell, adding lots of new features, customization, and several beta versions of the site for internal testing. This post serves as a general update as to Quirell’s current state and where the project stands to-date:
From October 2014-January 2015 we starting laying the basic infrastructure for the web application, and made a bunch of fundamental content and styling changes. The updates were focused around the visual accessibility and navigation menus. Content updates also occurred in late October, with color scheme changes to the site, branding added, and smaller aesthetic customizations. We also began to work on the ‘meat and bones’ of the site, including how Quirell organizes user data, creating the database backend, and linking it to the web application layer.
Moving into December, the site was almost ready for the first wave of test signups! We also added some tests to the web application to make sure it’s up and running more often. By mid December Quirell was nearly ready for logins. We fixed some package dependency and import pathing errors, and continued to work on the site’s login issues. By Christmas Eve, signups and logins both were functional. As the new year of 2015 approached, we added the ability for users to create posts. The navigation menu went from being a mockup to being functional. We also enabled Amazon S3 uploading, though it still needs to be worked on so that one can only access photos by pathing through Quirell’s servers.
As January came to a close, we fixed some errors related to running Quirell on different development setups. We also updated the site to fix some white space issues, and optimized the CMS so that it was better at finding file paths. We added the 401 error page, and made the 404 error page sound a bit more human. We also added a function to check that users actually existed, made the text render simpler, and changed the organization of views.py
In February, we simplified the HTML rendering system. We also improved the user account pages, and users were now able to change profile pictures. Users upload pictures which are saved to Amazon S3, and given a pointer in Quirell’s database. User profile pages were also updated to include a description section. We also fixed an error where random people (i.e. people not logged in) were allowed to upload photos to the database, and streamlined how new posts are created. By mid February, user timelines were active. Timeline creation is currently in its simplest implementation, which is a list of post nodes created by a single user. Eventually timeline creation will be modeled after an inbox system where whenever someone makes a post, that post is mailed (ie. sent) to the inbox (ie. the timeline) of every user following the user who made the post (assuming sufficient visibility privileges).
March saw us hard at work on the user API, timeline objects, user page rendering, complex database queries. We starting doing internal testing, which exposed some bugs related to timelines not having any content in them, the placement of certain user interface buttons, and timing photo uploads so that they actually upload before users try and save them.
As April 2015 begins, we are currently working version 0.2 of Quirell, which should be active soon. We thank you for your patience and support over the last 6 months as we worked on this project, and hope to bring a new social network to you soon*!
* The current plan is to have a public testing version up in May, and a stable version up in August