This is the second post in a series where I’ll dive into all the new features, design decisions and thoughts behind #NewKnowable. This time we’ll discuss how components allow you to manage your project better. If you want to start with the first post of the series click here.
Let’s imagine you are building a robot. Most certainly it will have a basic control system, some kind of motor and most probably a casing. If you look at these - very simplified - parts, you’ll notice that they are all very different form one another: The control system may be Arduino based and you need to write code for it to work properly. The motor requires some mechanical skills and understanding. And you might want to print the casing with your FabLab’s 3D printer.
All these task are vastly different – and it doesn’t make sense to discuss them with your co-makers all in the same place. That’s why we came up with the idea of components:
Components allow you to split your project into manageable pieces.
To stick with the robot example: You could create a component for the Arduino, one for the motor and one for the casing. Each component allows you to describe what you want to achieve, upload corresponding files and discuss all of that with other makers.
A list of components for one specific project
A detail view of one component
But components have another advantage: They allow for version control. Your project will change over time - but you probably don’t want to lose all your previous iterations along the way. knowbale makes it easy to save “snapshots” of your project at any time. This enables you to view the history of your project and download past iterations.
Components allow you to save and download old iterations
This is obviously just the first step for us. There are so many more things we plan to do with components in the future (think real interoperable modules and automatic version control) but I believe that even at this early stage components allow you to manage your projects better.
Last weekend we had the chance to attend Maker Faire Rome. And it was such a treat! We met so many great people, learned a lot about new tools and toys and left with the feeling that the european maker movement is gaining incredible traction.
We also managed to interview a lot of the Makers behind the most amazing projects from the faire - and we’ll publish these soon. So stay tuned!
This is the first post in a series where I’ll dive into all the new features, design decisions and thoughts behind #NewKnowable. This one is meant as a primer - a short overview about the major things we’ve build into our beta - and why.
In Fall 2012 we launched our first prototype of knowable: A rough sketch that encompassed our vision of a collaborative platform where clever hardware ideas could be accessed form around the world and - most importantly - refined by the community. This prototype did an amazing job at setting the general direction of knowable and getting feedback from many brave testers. It led us to better understanding your needs - and allowed us to create a more suitable and practical knowable: The one that is taking shape right now.
With #NewKnowable we are focusing our efforts around one core observation:
Building a hardware product - be it open source or not - means participating in an ever evolving process.
You have an idea, you tell the world about it, you get input and feedback, you start building, you refine, you iterate and somewhere down the line you produce a version that you’ll finally release - just to start the process all over again.
With this observation in mind, we moved away from the rigid structure of step-by-step guides and towards a more open and inclusive way of showcasing, documenting and collaboratively building hardware projects.
Today you can start a project on #NewKnowable with just an idea, search for people who have the skills you need in order to get feedback - or even to join your team. You’ve made some progress? Well, now it’s super easy for you to just grab your phone and upload a shot of project, tagged as a work-in-progress picture. You reached a critical milestone? Easily create and save a new version (or “snapshot”) of your whole project with the push of a button. Your idea is growing too big? Break it down into manageable components and tackle one aspect of your project at the time (or, assign it your team mates).
Showcase your projects with Work-In-Progress images
Split your project into manageable components
Show your skills and projects
But it’s not only that. #NewKnowable is also more open and inclusive when it comes to the tools that you already use in order to create you products. Uploading and storing all you different files - from circuit layouts to CADs - in our components is just the beginning. We aim to embed your files, code and instructions from various places around the web since we know how tedious it can be to repeat the work you’ve already done - and we don’t want to put you in that position.
There is a lot more I could (and want) to talk about, but the post is already growing longer and longer. I promise to tackle all of the new features one by one in the upcoming posts of this series, so stay tuned! Oh, and just in case you’re not already signed up for an invite you can do this here. And, if you’re really psyched - apply for a job at knowable here.
It has been really quiet on our blog over the last weeks – but this is about to change, big time! I am very excited to let you all know that we just released the first beta version of #NewKnowable! It is a brand new take on collaborative ideation, tinkering and making. One that we’ve been diligently working on for the last weeks and are now super eager to finally show it to you.
Unfortunately we cannot make the #NewKnowable beta available for everybody right from the get-go. There are a bunch of things we have to test and try out with smaller batches of people before we are able to scale to, well, everybody.
But fear not: There will be invites and we make sure to increase the number of beta testers significantly over the coming weeks.
If you want to try out knowable as one of our first users, make sure to sign up on our brand new landing page. And for those of you who joined us during the last beta test: There is no need to sign up again - you will be automatically invited!
Happy making, everybody!
This post is a special one. It marks the beginning of the next major step of building knowable, that we are very excited about: This week we kicked off the coding of ‘the new knowable’.
The past months have been very important for us as we had the chance to learn some valuable lessons, to meet and discuss our vision with some very inspiring and clever people, and to find friends, supporters and partners that decided to join us on the way. And first of all: We received your feedback, your ideas, your questions and your critique. And we’re now applying it.
The knowable beta as you knew it was our very first prototype that we launched in fall 2012. It was a first take on the big and ambitious idea of building a global network of amazing hardware ideas, and of bringing people together to work on them. And this prototype did a good job: we learned what worked, and what did not. We had a good basis to discuss and try out various concepts and features. And also, it showed the limits of the mode that we went for to achieve our goals, by it step-by-step guides or file formats.
After running this beta version for a couple of months, we have now decided to take the next step. To apply the learnings we got and push forward in this direction. And we have decided to take down our current platform, from today on. We did this because this is not just a new release for us.
First things first: Of course the content, the projects, the ideas that you’ve contributed of the past months will all be safely be migrated to the new release. And if in the meantime you would like to contribute and engage with knowable, please make sure to reach out to us.
The ‘new knowable’ marks a significant leap towards a vision that is more precise and more aware of solving some quite specific challenges than what we had in mind when we started building our prototype. And it will go way beyond what you have seen before on the beta. There are a couple of core principles that we want to realize with this new release:
With knowable, we want to make amazing ideas for hardware products visible and accessible. That means providing a way for Makers to showcase their projects and their work in a simple, convenient and dynamic way with easy and seamless sharing, and a nifty tie-in into other resources, networks and communities. Also, this means providing a place to browse and explore others’ ideas and projects as well as work in progress and little inspirational approaches. We have taken this feedback very seriously and will to realize this in the upcoming release.
We envision knowable not only as a place to find inspiring ideas, but also as a tool to build upon them, and improve them, and to discuss different versions and techniques. We learned that the mode of these discussions varies with its topic: Collaboration on a circuit-board design looks very different from iterating a CAD-File. Thus, we will provide a space that is just as open and flexible to document and collaborate on hardware, as it’s content, that has a modular structure, and that allows for a transparent overview on the current project state, previous iterations and files.
Thirdly, knowable is a social network for makers. We will expand ways for social interaction, and for sharing and collaborating offline. This also explicitly includes building a tool for professional teams and organizations to manage their design and production process internally (yep, also proprietary and privately) as well as a tool for finding potential co-workers and team members, that bring a required skill or expertise to the table - be it online or offline - based on their location, their engagement in on related projects, organizations, hubs, or local communities.
We are incredibly excited to take these next steps together with you! Of course will keep you posted on how things develop and this very place - and as always we’d love to hear you thoughts and feedback on this new developments. We also invite you to discuss and share these next steps we’re taking on twitter, facebook, etc. with the hashtag #NewKnowable. Anything specific, you’d also like to see in the new release? Let us know! Also, if you’re not already on the list, make sure to leave your email to get updated, once we launch the new knowable.
See you all soon!