So, how should we go about creating and presenting our interactive exhibitions to our documentation’s readers? In order to learn from our predecessors, we should look for inspiration from similar tools that are already available to developers. For example, JSFiddle provides an easy-to-use platform for both creating and sharing code samples of Web development. Many online tutorials link to JSFiddle sessions in order to evince specific points, and the readers can modify and execute these working examples in order to fully grasp the material. So, if it’s good enough to further the coding skills of developers, why can’t a similar paradigm help to further a developer’s understanding of an overall design? Today, many software companies and IT departments make use of a wiki in order to explain their various proprietary software and systems, and there’s no reason that we cannot leverage one of these platforms in order to create a JSFiddle equivalent for our potential audience.
In the spirit of demonstrations that showcase working examples, let’s create one of our own in order to prove the viability of this practice. In a previous article at InfoQ, I discussed the potential of using metadata-driven design in order to build a flexible scheme for your infrastructure. So, what exactly is metadata-driven design? For the sake of brevity, it can be summarized as an approach to software design and implementation where metadata can constitute and integrate both phases of development. (In other words, it’s a way in which developers can employ Agile iteration over the entire software lifecycle.) Of course, the ideas behind using such a design method can be abstract, and some of its finer points can seem less than tangible to the mind at times. However, if we were to offer some way of interacting with these ideas, they could become more empirical to the reader.