REBOL Technologies

Better Developer Communications

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
20-Nov-2008 1:36 GMT

Article #0378
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As R3 moves toward larger test releases this month, we've been having various discussions about how to improve developer communications, but we've yet to find the perfect solution.

I think part of the problem may be that we've not defined our requirements well enough.

With that in mind, here's a list of requirements from my viewpoint:

 Developer audienceIt's intended mainly for developers to discuss topics related to R3, including design, docs, code, bugs, etc.
 Low overhead, rapid flowMeaning we can easily discuss things at a rapid pace. We've been using AltME for this so far (but it's not the perfect tool).
 Web visibleAlthough the forum system need not be web based, it's useful if most discussions can be found on the web. (We did this with AltME in the REBOL3 world, and it works pretty well.)
 ThreadedCode development normally focuses on various topics for short periods of time, until the code is design is decided, the code is written or the bug is fixed. Thread mechanisms work best for this; however, they can be inefficient because they require users to jump around to the different topics to see what's been posted.
 SectionedThread topics can be grouped into sections. For example, threads related to graphics.
 Multi-associatedWe want to see discussions in the chat area, but also next to their focus of attention. For instance, a discussion about a bug report would appear in the chat area, but also in the bug system view itself.
 Open and scalableMore than just a few dozen developers have access to the discussion. I'm not talking about technology here, just the concept that any developer should have quick access. We don't want to create barriers to developer growth.
 TagableA way of tagging messages that are key, have future relevance, or need to be flagged to the attention of someone.
 SearchableWe need to be able to search prior messages, with various control options for dates, tags, etc.
 Carl must use itThis is perhaps the most difficult requirement. I do not like to waste time, and if I feel I'm wasting my time, I stop. I've been using AltME because it's fast and partitioned. I can quickly scan the top discussion groups.

So, now that we know what we need, we can find the best solution now, right?


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