Making the first tool for theystory has been a completely new workflow, for me. I’ve never gone into such an unknown system with someone else, before; I’ve either worked on relatively well-defined systems with others, or I’ve explored unknown systems on my own.
The first thing I’ve noticed is that my code is a MESS. This is pretty normal when I’m exploring systems with code, coming up with an idea and quickly getting the code to just stable enough to test it. But usually, after a while, I’ll seek out the messiest parts, and try to work out the systemic uncertainty there, to clean it up. In this case, the whole point is creating a space for Alayna and myself to explore those systemic uncertainties together – easy solutions to the coding problems would steer the discussion around the systemic problem, so I need to hold back. The upshot is that I’ve done awful things like created database tables that just store lumps of stringified JSON next to IDs. It’s embarassing, but it’s working.