Rod Welch wrote:
> Just curious why do you suppose "awesome category" capability noted in your
> letter today doesn't show up in Traction work product? Chris sent a lot of
> stuff, but the quality of everything was like email: cursory analysis, no
> structure, no alignment, no summary, no audit trail on follow up that
> demonstrates command of the microcosm explained in NWO....
> ....and reviewed in depth on 890523....
> Any random sampling of your work the past two years shows far more
> analysis than anything seen so far in Traction.
Thanks for that, Rod. It means a lot.
Unfortunately, I don't think that the demo he did for the group as a
did justice to the real strength of their offering. I really only saw it
gave me another demo a few days later. I'll try to recapture the salient
features here, in a list, although it's not quite the same as seeing it:
1. Categories appear to the right of paragraphs in a "recessed font".
Like purple numbers, they used a light blue or purple, so they
weren't too obtrusive. The categories a node (paragraph) belongs
to was listed in a column to the right of the paragraph.
2. Categories were links.
Clicking a category took you a list of items with that category.
(At least I think it did. There was also a multi-category search
3. Categories were hierarchical.
So you could have ToDo:Maybe and ToDo:Definitely, where
Definitely and Maybe were subcategories of ToDo.
4. Categories were selectable.
A tree-widget displayed the possible categories, so you could
choose which you wanted to apply.
5. Effects of re-categorizing visisble to all
Easy for them, since it was a single-server system. Much harder
in a distributed system, but it is the right functionality. So
I recategorize a node, it shows up in your space when you do
a search for items in that category.
6. Categories were changable.
So you could change "ToDo" to "FeatureRequest:Open" or
7. Effect of category-changes were controllable.
Lets say you had 25 ToDo items, and you decided to change
"ToDo" to "FeatureRequest:Open". When you change the
category name, the system shows you a list of all items in that
category, with a checkbox next to each. By default, all are
selected. If there were 10 bugs in that list, you would uncheck
those. The remaining 15 would become "FeatureRequest:Open".
You would then change "ToDo" again, this time to "Bug:Open".
The 10 bug items would now be selected, and you click ok to
put them all into the new category.
This was the part that really bew me away, because they had
allowed for intelligent change-management, making it possible
for categories to evolve over time, instead of being fixed and
immutable. With a system like that, it would be relatively easy
to experiment with different structures for IBIS-style
8. Category changes produced an audit trail
Actually, category changes were just a subset of the normal
audit trail, which also showed who added or changed nodes,
and who applied which categories to which nodes, and when.
It, too, was searchable, so that when your favorite ToDo
category turned up missing, you could find out who did away
Here, I think they were astute. Rather than doing a full
versioning system, they simply did an audit trail. I suspect
that is the "right" answer when the issue is not so much
reconstructing previous versions (as in a software system)
but rather in producing one "right" version and either (a)
figuring out how you got there or (b) being able to use
parts of a previous version, when it makes sense. Full
version control may well be overkill, in such cases -- the
simpler audit trail may well be sufficient.
As I say, it was a uniquely well-thought out interface for dealing
with categories, for applying them, and handling changes to
them. It's too bad that the demo to the group didn't focus on
that area. I believe it would have been useful and instructive to
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Mon Nov 05 2001 - 12:03:35 PST