Music lover. Technology fanatic. Web developer.
The idea for Project Weekend started with my friend Ryan. We've known each other since 1994. We survived adolescence and lived to tell about it. Music has always played a big part in our friendship.
In early 2011 Ryan mentioned that we should start a website and write about music and iOS apps. I was curious about learning to build a site from scratch. On the job I only work on bits and pieces of web projects. I wanted to experience the entire process. It was perfect timing. I started researching technologies and tools immediately. Work began in May 2011.
Building the site took about four months. There were a couple of false starts near the beginning. I went down some dead end paths while testing ways to make this thing work. After about a month in, I started using Drupal. This flexible, powerful and, most importantly, free content management system was exactly what we needed.
With the web platform decided, the last big challenge was with the music. It needed to be easy for folks to hear what we were going to write about. Hosting our own music files was out of the question. We had no interest in paying lawyers if the RIAA decided to come knocking.
In July 2011, Spotify launched in the US. I had been reading good things about the service in various tech blogs for over a year at that point. Eager to check it out, I started an account on launch day. When I discovered that you could easily link to tracks and albums on the platform the music problem was solved.
Project Weekend officially launched on September 17, 2011. It felt good to finally have something up and running. Early on we did actually write some iOS app reviews. It didn't take long before we scrapped plan that in favor of just focusing on music.
Drupal was getting the job done, but the process for posting new content was starting to feel tedious at the eight month mark. We were manually populating metadata about each song and album as we wrote about them. In May 2012, I started a complete rewrite of Project Weekend using Python and Django.
The primary goal of the rewrite was to streamline posting of new content. It didn't make sense for us to do this kind of data entry when the web was full of the information we needed. I leveraged APIs from Spotify, Last.fm and The Echonest to fix this problem. Starting with Spotify's unique identifier for a track or album, I built a system to automatically collect everything we needed, including images, from these services.
The updated version of Project Weekend launched in late July 2012. In addition to the new backend functionality, the site received a complete fronted makeover. I still work on fixes and new functionality as I have time. This will always be a work in progress. I wouldn't have it any other way.