This is a list of books currently on my To Read shelf... literally. I do not suggest or anti-suggest any of them at this time as I haven't read them yet.
This is not the home of dotProject or web2project. It is the home of CaseySoftware, LLC. Any dotProject support questions should be referred to their support forums.
For those of you who don't follow live in the dotProject forums like myself*, you may have missed the announcement that v2.0rc1 is due out by the end of the month. It has been a solid year since the last release, but major development has been happening across nearly every portion of the system.
First of all, the permission system has been completely reworked. This has been problematic in the past as read/write/all access was a piecemeal and completely broke down at times. The concept of permissions has been completely rewritten using phpgACL. It allows a much higher degree of flexibility and much finer control over the user priviledges. It is built from five different facets:
|Access||Provides access to a module, making it visible on a users menu|
|View||Provides read access to records within a module|
|Edit||Provides read/write access to existing records within a module|
|Add||Provides the ability to add new records to a module|
|Delete||Provides the ability to delete records from a module|
Next, one of the authentication methods is LDAP. If you have an LDAP server on your network, you can simply drop this into place, create your users and give them permissions and your users will be ready to use the system without having to remember yet another password.
Next, an entire series of database revisions have taken place to simplify, improve the reliability, and reduce the work of the system. The Users table is now simply that. It does not have all of the standard Contact information, there is a link connecting the two. Therefore, there is no need to maintain a User's contact information in two places.
Finally, the session system is completely rebuilt. Currently on 1.0.2, if your php session is set for a short period, you must login repeatedly throughout the day. In 2.0, the administrator can set this timeout manually in order to allow for a user to continue working on other things without having to refresh the window occassionally.
There are quite a few other features and fixes lurking around in the v2.0 system, but I haven't had time to dig through it completely. I hope to get the chance to do this immediately after the release and post my findings here.
So, if you're looking to help out and your are an active dotProject user, please head over to the forums and check out this post to see where you can help with the effort. If nothing else, go tell AJ, Karen, Cyberhorse and the others that they're doing a great job.
* As has been stated before: I am one of the contributors to the project and highly active in the forums, username: caseydk. I'm 98% biased with a +/- 2% margin of error.
You have just received an RFP (or Request for Proposal) from one your clients. This is a client with whom you've worked successfully in the past, kept in contact with about business trends, and have provided with a great deal of professional advice. You open your CRM tool, log the new information, and pass the RFP along to the responsible internal team. The internal team spends their time evaluating the proposal: distilling the requirements, performing analysis, creating a preliminary project plan, and putting together a budget estimate. After some minor clarifications from with the client, the project is a "GO" and work begins.
Being a diligent and responsive project team, reports and task logs from dotProject are bug tracking summaries from Mantis are delivered to the client on a weekly basis. The project is completed, and everything is right in the world.
Until the next time the client contacts you. There is nothing to demonstrate to you the accuracy of your teams' estimates. You know how much the project cost, but you don't know where the bulk of the effort was spent. You don't even necessarily know who was on the project or what their role was. You don't know what other opportunities for business your team witnessed.
There is a serious disconnect between those who face the client and those who face the project. Even worse, a wealth of information and expertise has been collected for working with the client and it does not get shared. There must be more collaboration between those who win the project and those who complete the project.
For those of you who haven't been following the saga, one of our major projects here at CaseySoftware is to provide a integration module for dotProject and Mantis. It's still moving, but customers obviously must come first.
We believe that dotProject provides a solid web interface for the tracking and management of a project throughout its lifecycle. This works especially well with software projects where everyone has a computer available all of the time and can update tasklogs, upload files for collaboration, and report on project status.
We also believe that Mantis provides a great system for the reporting, classification, and tracking of issues and requirements that come up through the lifecycle of a project. It's interface is a bit unpolished, but the functionality is high quality.
Therefore, our integration effort is once again going fullsteam. The read-only functionaly is complete. A user can submit a bug in Mantis and view a list and all the detail in dotProject. User synchronization is moving towards completion. The goal is to allow users to be created in dotProject and automagically be created in Mantis. In addition, when a username or email is changed in either system, the information would propagate back to the other system. The next - and significantly more difficult - part is being able to submit/edit a bug through the dotProject interface and have all of the relevant Mantis data update correctly.
The status of all of this will be reported on regularly and hopefully released within the next couple weeks. Our next task will be investigation the export process of Microsoft Project and building an import process for dotProject.
CaseySoftware's biggest project right now involves the integration of numerous XML data sources into a single unified database. Each of the data sources consists of the same type of data, but each is in its own - sometimes proprietary - format. Please don't ask me how unencryped XML can be truly proprietary, but in the schema docs there are numerous "Confidential" and "Proprietary" warnings.
Therefore, I cannot find any examples of these documents online to do simple testing. I have dug deep into Google using the relevant terms and keywords and still nothing. The worst part is that there are actually a handful of public standards available in this domain, but nearly all of the big players have developed their own schemas. Therefore, you need a custom tool/process each and every schema.
I can't see the sense behind this.
XML is a powerful idea. Having a simple cross platform/language data structure that is human-readable goes a huge way towards making things simpler for everyone involved. This all goes out the window when you have every single player pulling in a different direction.
I worked at the Library of Congress and was involved in the creation of their XML Metadata Standards and they seem to have the right idea in terms of creating their XML Schemas by getting all of the major players together and attempting to address needs early in the process. Maybe part of this is because the LoC is the 300lb gorilla of the bunch, but sometimes someone must take the lead.
Otherwise you end up with more XML standards than there are developers to support them.
Q: What's Microsoft's biggest strength?
A: The fact that it is the defacto standard in desktop environments and has a fairly customizable yet standard user interface.
Q: What's Microsoft's biggest weakness?
A: I can't answer this one directly, but one of the arguments against Windows has been the issue of stability.
My answer for years was simple: Microsoft should build a windowing system that runs on top of the Linux kernel. There's nothing stopping them from doing it. It could *probably* still be proprietary - sorry, not a lawyer, it would allow them to keep their huge strength and they could completely kill the stability argument.
After all, isn't this essentially what OS X is?
Well, finally other people are starting to catch up with me. As found on Slashdot today, John C. Dvorak of PC Mag sees this as Microsoft's chance to kill Linux. He believes that this would allow MS-Linux to become the dominant distribution of Linux and eventually developers would drop away from Kernel development due to hatred of Microsoft.
While I think the first half is a plausible scenario, I believe the second half is completely wrong. Sure it would tick developers off, but the kernel hackers are not newbies who will simply roll over and find something else to do. They're a whole different breed.
These people will see Microsoft's involvement as an invasion and will treat it as such. It will turn into guerilla warfare at a code level. There will be active analysis of the API and entire groups to determine creative ways of "breaking" the output of the API for some windowing environments and not for others. After all, look at clauses 11 and 12 of the GPL:
11. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.
12. IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY MODIFY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE THE PROGRAM AS PERMITTED ABOVE, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY YOU OR THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PROGRAM TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER PROGRAMS), EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Now, I can't say that this was the intention all along, but it sure seems like a shield to me.
I don't see the same thing as in the 90's where nearly everyone who had a webpage was getting money thrown at them, but there's enough going around to give me pause.
CaseySoftware is a relatively small development house. We have a handful of sharp developers and a variety of clients, but we are definitely not a major player. Our clients are starting to see the funds roll in so more work, more projects, and more concepts are being floated now than there was just three months ago. Websites are being re-worked from asp to php, open source applications are being integrated, and our project management is well suited to handle it all.
Purely through connections and our involvement in open source projects such as dotProject, we have been invited to bid on a new project nearly every other day. This doesn't sound like much until you consider the fact that in the past two months, we've responded to 21 RFP's and they breakdown like this: Won: 14, Lost: 2, Undecided: 5
Personally, I think these numbers are stunning... and completely unsustainable. We need to start planning and expanding into areas where there is sustainable growth and not these pseudo-random spurts. Therefore, we are working to bring our asp-model of dotProject hosting online as soon as possible.
We can hope to always have more and more clients offering big name projects, but more realistically, I believe that the asp-model (as covered yesterday) is a much more reasonable, sustainable, and mutually beneficial way to go.
Now we just have to make the time to do it...