Project teams

by havoc

At the New York summit Nat brought up
collaboration repeatedly, and collaboration is the theme of the bounty contest.

A couple of flash demos: Kubi (skip
the boring intro) and
(hope you can survive the horrible music). Slashdot also just posted
this interview
about IM
which is related.

Kubi and Groove have the idea of project teams that share resources
and collaboration forums, something I didn’t notice in the bounty
projects. What if we had a platform library that exposed your project
teams. Teams would be made up of people in your contacts
database. Then your IM client, Evolution, office apps, shared
whiteboard app, panel applets, etc. could all take advantage of this
team information. Perhaps there’s some concept of “project you’re
currently working on” and information relevant to that project would
appear – recently-used files, bookmarks, IM presence of team members,
related email. Perhaps the active project is autoswitched if you open
a document or mail related to a particular project, even. Somewhat dashboard-like in effect.

Here’s another angle to think about it: what if each mailing list
you’re on had associated chat channel, whiteboard(s), files, calendar,
and so forth. So the GNOME release team would be a project, for
example. To have a meeting, the team members just make release team
their active project, and they suddenly see a list of other present
project members in their panel, have a chat window open, have the
release schedule calendar open, have a shared whiteboard.

Better – what if the active project is per-workspace, so you can have
more than one at a time. Or what if we autocreated a workspace for
each active project, perhaps even replacing the idea of a workspace
with the idea of a project? The advantage of a project over a
workspace is that a project has a name and saved state (apps that are
open, documents that are related, etc.) and can be activated or
hibernated. We could also allow scratch projects with only one member
(for that extra workspace full of random clutter).

Maybe that’s not the right approach, but the point is we could
probably do cool stuff by giving the desktop the concept of a project

A hard problem is how to make it easy for anyone (even Windows users)
to join a project. One approach is to have a special Windows
client. Another might be to use standards such as webdav or ical to
put information at URLs, and then email/IM the links to Windows users.
Another might be to have a server that exposed a web-based interface
to the project data.

A much simpler task than this grandiose projects plan – we were
wondering at the NY summit why nobody has implemented a shared
whiteboard app. Seems like it’d be pretty easy, perhaps using Jabber/XMPP.

(This post was originally found at

My Twitter account is @havocp.
Interested in becoming a better software developer? Sign up for my email list and I'll let you know when I write something new.