As I’ve discussed on a couple of occasions already with Daniel and Imran, it’s becoming clear that a parallel process of Pararchive is to record our stories of exploration, development, and community discussion. As well as blogging about our community research process and progress, I’m generating the documentation required to rebuild my project in the future – constructing, programming, and modifying the radio etc.
Interestingly, whilst making a record of my prototype schematics using Fritzing – an open-source tool to document and manufacture electronic circuits – I noticed an opportunity to contribute to another community resource. Fritzing has a core set of Parts; individual components and collections of existing circuits that can be used to construct larger projects. Hardware manufacturers and champions of open-source culture can independently contribute to this library of components, and companies such as SparkFun and Adafruit have gone to great lengths to make their product lines available for users of the software.
Unfortunately, Adafruit haven’t yet created a Fritzing Part for their VS1053 breakout – the board that plays back audio inside my radio – so I decided to start putting it together myself. Fritzing’s documentation is little fragmented at the moment, as they’ve had a major version change fairly recently, but I’ve now got a part to use in my documentation (see above). Once it’s complete – and much better looking – I’ll contribute it to the collection.
Side note: this has also got me thinking about how the process of open-source development documents its own story. Various discussions, issues, and pull requests show the path of a project’s life as it becomes more refined. I think this qualifies as a type of community story telling, and it generates a unique, widespread spirit of collaboration.