Now that the election is over and I am well rested, I want to look back at what we have worked on all these months at msnbc.com. A few people wrote me asking about the process of creating a large scale project in a fast paced environment. Here is a longer answer to that question. Since this post will be a bit long, I will break it into several sections.
We put a huge amount of effort into the Decision â€™08 Dashboard data explorer map. Many people had been preparing interactive content for our election coverage for months before I arrived. By the time I started in July 2008, most of the core functionality of the map had been developed. My first assignment was to support other developers and designers, by preparing data and writing small utility classes. Next, I created the polling data display and helped with designing the fundraising data display.
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We wanted to map every data set we could find that came with geographic information. There were at least 10 data sets we wanted to map, but we launched our politics front map with only six data sets. We added user opinion, polling, candidate appearances and fundraising data over the next several weeks.
Most of our data sets were huge and we needed the technology to support and serve them to a large audience. This is where the team that builds our publishing platform came in. They built a new, user-friendly database tool just in time for us to use for the election.