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44UCD of a workflow system

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  • Jason Elliot Robbins
    Apr 3, 2000
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      Hi everyone,

      I have been your loyal moderator on this list since it started.
      Unfortuately I have never had much time to participate because I was
      finishing up my Ph.D., etc. (actually, you can see the fruits of that
      at argouml.tigris.org).

      Now I finally have a chance to start a the UI design of a new system,
      actually several projects all related to web-shoted software
      development tools. I was hoping that people on this list would enjoy
      being involved in working through a real-world example of the
      usage-centered methodology and sharing their expertise along the way.

      First some general background: open source software development is a
      method of developing software in public forums. The basic idea is to
      gather people from around the world who want to work on the project
      you propose. This works great if the project is really somthing that
      needs doing and that developers and understand and agree on. When
      these conditions are met, the result is typically very high quality
      software that meets the needs of its developer and user populations.
      One example of this is the apache web server, a web server baically
      built by webmasters in the public eye, which now has over 50% of the
      server market. One problem with open source is that it does not work
      naturally in as many places as one might like.

      UCD implication of open source approach: particiapants are volunteers
      who need low hassle ways to get things done, they need to feel
      empowered and secured that they have the authority to do what they
      want to do (do first, ask questions later), and they need ways to
      gradually buy-in and get more involved in the project.

      More specific background: the goal of the Tigris project is to build a
      set of web-hosted development tools for open soruce software
      development. See www.tigris.org. The tigris.org web site is about
      building tigris. But the software can be used to build other on-line
      development communities, for example, see www.e-speak.net. The
      tigris.org site is in the tradition of other open source project
      organziations such as apache.org and mozilla.org. But the tigris.org
      site is about building a better project hosting infrastructure, not
      just building enough to get by and getting down to work on some "real"
      project like apache or mozilla.

      The problem: I am trying to define a workflow system to be used in
      open soruce projects. We have already funded a project on
      sourcexchange.com to implement an initial version of the system. This
      initial version is not binding, it is just there to get the ball
      rolling, we can define the way we want v2.0 of the workflow system to
      work now without being overly concerned about the effort invested to
      date. For more info, see

      Are people interested in talking through this example?
      Has anyone worked on a workflow system before?
      If so, I'll post some initial descriptions of users and tasks this

      On a related note, I am also helping to build an issue (bug) tracking
      system. For more info see the annoated UI mockups at


      Jason Robbins, Ph.D. Collab.Net is hiring open source developers!
      Senior Software Engineer http://www.collab.net/jobs