dia . Re: if not visio, then?
there is an open-source alternative to visio.
Dia supports UML, standard flowcharts, and a few other diagramming systems. it's fully user-extensible, and has XML support -- including SVG graphics support, so its data-files should be usable even from an MSFT OS.
looks like a start at building some project-documentation software
political as it might sound, this is another example of why it's great to be on the open-source side of the fence, and to have a public forum here at [fm].
i haven't had an opportunity to develop software in a commercial setting, but have been wanting to develop something for keeping the work more organized when doing so; it could be used on open-source projects, but the commercial focus is a plus. sketched out some plans, but didn't have a sense of how it actually works -- the devshop dynamic. this editorial has plenty of information fo getting a handle on it.
i guess i'm looking for something more formal than a wiki.
for what it's worth, here are some project ideas for discussion:
- KOffice has XML support. maybe that could be used with some server-side XSLT, for generating HTML out of whatever categorized documents.
- the wiki method, of making a page editable by all the users of the wiki, isn't a bad idea, but seems like it could get out of control.
- a single author, or an author-group, should have sole write access to any given document. this is more like the "cathedral" than the "bazaar", but some formality isn't neccessarily bad.
aegis might be worth looking at, regarding this. it has a system of "developers", "administrators", and "reviewers", each having certain privelages and certain roles in the development of a project.
- a web-based forum approach could be used, for letting the team-members provide feedback about the project.
with a case like sourceforge, the comments from the developers might be made so as to be hideable from the everyday visitors. the same could be done with the admins' discussions, which could optionally be hidden from the non-admin developers.
- for the writing: keep it off the web. a browser-based form doesn't offer nearly as much editing power as a real text-editor.
for the reporting: keep it on the web, at least in an archival sense.
- the w3c has been using a sort of document-management system.
- i don't know if they have any special apps for it; there might be a web-based interface, for moving things between the various stages of a document draft.
- the draft process is explained at
- the whole thing is explained at
- there are probably different types of documents that would be passed through the system.
this, here, is an example of something like a whiteboard doc , or some sketches. [it's a "note" but that seems too general of a term for identifying it.]. it might or might not lead to a more formal document, or it could lead to multiple documents, on different topics.
- with version control on the docs, each document could have multiple versions within one draft-stage [linear branch, or release-tagged file].
- a search engine could be used, on a per-project basis, with further organization for filtering out "everything not a note" or "everything not a final draft". it could have support for a semantic search, perhaps based on XML meta-data, but it should at least have a simple interface, like google.
- each document could have a set of 'notfication hooks' assigned to it. some could be automatic, as with an "author group" or a "reader group" redeiving notification about significant changes to the documentst that are related to their work; others could be added by developers, at will [e.g.: by developers working on different projects in the same company].
- some things come up when you're in the middle of writing source-code.
every file in the source-code would need to be linkable from a document within the system, with something for sending the reader to a specific line/column number
1) tree-based indexing, with ~symlinking ability
2) something quicker than a web-browser, for navigating the tree
- the system would need support for footnotes, though the footnotes should not be heaped-up at the bottom of a displayed document. they should be available as seperate files
if any of this sounds useful, there's sourceforge for the new OSS projects, and collab.net is an alternative that might connect the project with some funding.
i could use some regular input from folks who've had more experience than i have, with development oin commercial and OSS projects.
http://csdl.ics.hawaii.edu/techreports/99-01/ , "reflective software engineering"