Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Brief review of Informative-workspace

Informative workspace is a project to utilize a 9 monitors LCD screen to provide development team some kind of software engineering information. Detail can be found here.

It is mainly a Java web app project using Wicket framework. I am just start learning Wicket and found it amazingly cool. It turns web app elements such as page, form and text field into java classes. Developers can handle these components by handling java classes, which they are much more familiar with. Then the code turn out to be more resemble to Swing application. Another cool thing is Wicket does not introduce specially HTML tag. all its tags are simple standard HTML, which means we can use all kind of HTML editor such as Dreamweaver to design our pages. This is extremely cool.

Back to the informative workspace project. Their main component is a project overviewer, which intend to show some overview of a project we are interested in. The viewer looks pretty nice, and its code is good written, with rich documentation. But when importing the project into Eclipse, I found that the project's build path is empty. I have to add all the Wicket and Hackystat libraries manually. It is not a big deal to me, but might be a big deal to some new developer that not quite familiar of Wicket or Hackystat. Hope the development team will settle this problem. 

Another issue I notice in that the developer just left his Hackystat account and password in their code. It is OK for a on going project does not have a external configuration component. But at least they should change or remove their account information temporarily before making the release distribution. It might not be a big deal in this case. It is just all about good developing habit.

About the functionality of the viewer, its idea, which shows the files editing state of the project, is good, but the implementation, based on file tree, does not emphasis the goal. I will suggest to separate the viewer into two: a file viewer and a developer viewer. 
The file viewer shows when and by whom is the file last modified and how often it is modified, and the files should be able to group by the last modified date. Then we can tell what files are active and what are stable from change. 
The developer viewer shows what file they are working on, and highlight it if there is some other developers are working on it as well.

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