How to Enable Real-time Web Development

Startup Weekend puts your team in the same room for a reason: to facilitate real-time collaboration. With the right setup, your team can develop a web application live. Let’s assume you have a mixed team including developers, designers, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Assume everyone has a laptop on the same network. Using git and Ruby on Rails (the example can apply to any source control and web framework), you could have each laptop run a local web server. Everyone would be able to connect to any team member’s server and view the application as it changes with every code tweak. Now the developers can build the infrastructure and add styling, the designers can drop in images and icons, the teachers can edit the content, and the entrepreneurs can proofread the text and give feedback on design–all at the same time.

This is possible today because my team did it in a limited way. The designers didn’t run their own copies of the server but merely connected to one of the development machines to view the live changes. Teachers and entrepreneurs watched changes happen live as well, suggesting content and copy fixes in realtime. Furthermore, although some team members did not change the code directly, with minimal setup and training, I believe anyone should be able to easily update content or copy at least since web frameworks strive to separate logic from static content. With this level of collaboration, product development can happen in real-time.

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