Three months ago I wrote about the changes we were going through in the Apostrophe project and how excitement played a central part in that. I'm happy to report that excitement is at its peak this season and the core team keeps growing.
As Apostrophe's features continue to get more robust and we start thinking about the (in)completeness of our documentation, we can't help but ask ourselves... What's next? When are we done? What is this all leading toward?
We've been so caught up in these development cycles that we haven't done our duty telling the world about it. When we look at our public-facing sites– particularly apostrophenow.org and our sandbox demo– they don't feel like they've been given the same attention to detail as the A2 interface itself. It's time to change that!
Ilyssa & team have spent a few years crafting P'unk Ave's workshop tools. They're designed to build consensus, get to the heart of good ideas, and facilitate collaboration across disciplines. Every once in a while we have an internal project that we can't make a decision about and then we have that "aha" moment... We should use our own design process!
We started running some internal workshops to understand what the Apostrophe brand is and where it could go. Apostrophe 2 was never given a full brand treatment; a logo appeared and has been revised several times but no concerted effort has been made to pull it all together.
Some of our workshop exercises were designed to get us on the same page about our vocabulary. Others were focused on understanding the various audiences we need to account for. There was one just for finding visuals that resonated with us– we learned in this one that images of workspaces are a powerful way to represent the hard work that people devote their lives to.
All of these exercises reinforced the reasons we believe in this tool.
Apostrophe is a chance to show our community and our industry what we care about: supporting passionate people and organizations who do good work. Yes, it's a tool for creating websites, but a tool in isolation is somehow insignificant; it's about what the tool can help you accomplish.
These ideas were around years ago when the original PHP Apostrophe was created. I don't think we've ever strayed from them, but apart from Tom the development team that crafted A2 wasn't around for the first version. This process has been a great way for us to reconnect with and own that original intent.
The phrase we've come up with to represent Apostrophe is "Stay On Mission". The organizations that we aspire to work with are the kind that are driven by a singular goal, whether it be revitalizing the city, educating the next generation of artists and thinkers, helping create opportunities for underserved groups of people, or another inspiring cause. Apostrophe lets these folks make changes to their site quickly and get back to the work that matters most, staying true to their mission.
We want more developers to use and contribute to Apostrophe because that will make it even better, but there are other reasons. The world of web development we imagine for ourselves is one where we work in service of the organizations around us that have difficult problems to solve. Some products aspire to have a big market share; I think the job of Apostrophe is done when our industry is synonymous with doing good everywhere.
Apostrophe will be getting a refined look and a new universe of websites soon. Stay tuned for more!