Yesterday, I attended CASCON 2009 (Center for Advanced Studies Conference). My team was hosting a workshop on the Technology Explorer, so I attended a part of that, as well as another workshop on Software Engineering 2.0 and Research 2.0 The latter made me realize the importance of being able to pool data from various resources, and link them to one another appropriately, so that we can make useful conclusions and findings. The workshop also talked about how to filter such wealth of information so that we can easily identify what is important and what is not. For example, in an IBM software developing tool called Jazz, developers can be notified if changes to the code have been made which will affect the piece of code they are currently working on. They can also be notified if someone comments on their code, files a bug, etc. Team members can also put other team member names in a flag for a comment, indicating that it needs review by that team member, and indicate the level of urgency. However, the test-run of this product showed that users were getting too many notifications, which slowed down the productivity. They ended up ignoring everything eventually, including the critical notices, simply because they couldn't be bothered by the flood of pop-up notifications. The developers of Jazz solved this problem by creating an inbox, sorting notifications in order of urgency. This level of urgency is initially set by whoever created the notification, but it is also modifiable by the receiver, so that they can move tasks up and down the queue.
After attending that workshop, I reflected on the TE developing team. It's a small team, consisting of 4 people including myself. While Jazz sounds interesting as a tool, I think it would just be a lot of overhead when the team is that small. As it turns out, they were using Jazz at one point, but somewhere along the way, they stopped using it because they needed everything on SourceForge anyway (since it _is_ an open-source project after all), and it was just doubling the amount the work/commenting involved. I do think we could use some sort of rss feed so that we are more up-to-date on what changes have been made to the TE on a more regular basis.
Lastly, my article on a DB2 plug-in support got published on the IBM DeveloperWorks site! I wrote a module for TE that supports a security plug-in written for DB2. The plug-in was written by Gene Kligerman, and is called "db2auth." In a nut shell, it allows for authentication to DB2 by storing the information in a database in DB2 (i.e., DB2 doesn't need an external authentication source if you use this plug-in). Storing such information in the database obviously raises some security loss, but it could prove to be useful as a temporary step when migrating from other database software that also store authentication information within the database. The module I wrote for TE allows users to create/delete/modify users and groups with a graphical interface, as opposed to the command-line interface that the original plug-in provides. It provides four views of the data, as well as buttons to drill down to more detail about each user or group. The article has some screenshots, so please take a look :)
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