Archive for November, 2007

Calendar goes MooTools

I don’t know about you, but I got MooTools fever. I love it. It has turned me on to Javascript. To make matters worse, there are some great 3rd party developers making some really cool stuff. Like Calendar. It is a “Javascript class that adds accessible and unobtrusive date-pickers to your form elements”. All done in MooTools. Wow, now that is incredible! Could we possibly see it override or take the place of the current Joomla 1.5 JS Calendar?


Google provisioning API and integration with Joomla

Many of our organizations are using Non-Profit Soapbox for their CMS, and when doing so also elect to utilize Google Apps for their email services. This means they receive two great tools: a content management system and an email administration system. Unfortunately, it also means that they have to utilize two different systems to manage these functionalities.

What if we could bridge that gap? What if we could provide an administrative control panel for Google Apps within the Joomla administrator?

After a point in the right direction by a good friend, it seems like this could become a reality. Google provides rather detailed PHP API for their provisioning system, including even an API for the Zend Google Data Client Library to access the Provisioning API functionality.

Using the API, one could build remote functionalities such as:

  • managing user accounts
  • managing nicknames
  • creating email lists

Anyone built on top of this yet?

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Pizza, Bugs, and Fun – Bringing the Joomla! community together to get 1.5 out the door

Joomla! logoThe Joomla! core team has done an amazing amount of work over the past 2 years to bring Joomla! 1.5 to life. This group of dedicated developers have given large portions of their daily lives to make Joomla! a powerful tool to empower millions of individuals around the world.

On this Thanksgiving Day, there’s no better time for the Joomla! community to show our thanks and give back.

Last week I wrote a blog posting about how the community can help get Joomla 1.5 out the door. Now just a week later, we’ve got a plan of action. On the weekend of December 8 and 9, the US Joomla! community will have an opportunity to come together in New York, Washington, and California for the first ever Pizza, Bugs, and Fun (PBF) bug squashing event!

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The great Joomla 1.5 bug hunt challenge

JoomlaAs big supporters of the Joomla framework, we’re extremely excited to see Joomla 1.5 go out the door. Of course, with any application development project, that unfortunate 80/20 rule comes into effect and finds us spinning our wheels in the mud. We at PICnet would like to see an end to that, and are beginning to ruminate on bug hunting ideas that can pull in a community effort to step-up the pace of the action.

Be it a bounty, paid development, or a few key code sprints, we want to see the 1.5 bugs squashed and are willing to help organize the next steps to seeing it happen. We’re looking to the community for examples of other homestretch coding exercises that have helped push code out the door in the open source community, and are interested in seeing how this process can be managed.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more, but the challenge is out there: let’s squash these 1.5 bugs with the help of key stakeholders and developers in our Joomlasphere.


Predicting project launch dates with FogBugz

FogBugzGrowth provides an amazing incentive to work smarter. At 12 employees today, PICnet’s growth spurt has reached the point where working longer hours isn’t going to cut it. While I get few hours of sleep each night, PICnetters know that I don’t want to see the company follow down my path. It’s the “do as I say, not as I do” approach to sleep.

One of the most critical pieces to working more efficiently is better forecasting, and we’re taking a stab at a powerful tool called FogBugz to help us better track tasks as well as to more accurately predict completion dates. FogBugz 6.0 includes an amazing feature called Evidence-Based Scheduling (EBS), which our project management department is drooling over. Here’s the scenario to help understand why PICnetters are excited about EBS:

Imagine a reality where project managers and developers can agree on the release schedule of a project based on past performance data, predictive complexity data, and corporate calendars. Imagine a meeting where project managers can leave a scheduling meeting saying, “I know with X% probability that this project will launch on time”, and developers can leave saying, “man, it feels great to not have to make guesstimates that are force fit into PM’s schedules”.

As the FogBugz site says:

You can find out how realistic that official date is, so you can tell your boss with a straight face: “Yes, we can ship on time. With 4% probability.”

From what we’ve seen so far, FogBugz’s EBS functionalities has a good chance of making easy forecasting a reality. We’ll do our best to keep you posted on our experiment with FogBugz, and track our overall response to the effectiveness of EBS in project management.


Converting emails to tasks brings sanity to my inbox

Ryan's InboxI get a ton of email. I truly believe that there are small gremlins in my laptop, building hundreds of emails a day for me to try to keep up with. Everyday, I lose the battle against email, and find myself flagging many of them for follow-up. This isn’t too helpful though, because:

  1. they’re not actionable (there’s no task associated with them)
  2. it increases my blood pressure to see my follow-up email count rise to the current 424 level

In the rest of my Outlook life (that’s right, I use Outlook 2003) I have created a task management system that allows me to create actionable items in my Task manager by categorizing everything I do into Musts, Needs, and Wants. This has actually worked pretty well, and has kept our Post-It note supply noticeably higher. Flagged emails, however, just make me look at the mess that is my inbox and realize this is a losing battle.

Until now.

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