and Relevant Theory
leading to problem statement:
There are a multitude of groupware solutions available. Some
are Web based and some are not. But they are for the most part
in support of communities which are paid to work together and
Communities which do not meet and are not paid to work together
(ie. not in the same company) are relegated to having 'community
portals', chat, email and message boards/forums.
There is no integrated environment which supports people working
on the same goal and who are maybe working in their spare time.
The problem, and project will be to gather a set of requirements
from knowledge workers who work in the computer industry and
have a need for and sense of distance collaboration, put together
a spec and a prototype and further refine all three in a second
Main Questions which will have
to be answered include:
- What is the main problem we are trying
to solve? "We have a tendency to focus on
the solution, in large part because it is easier to notice a
pattern in the systems that we build than it is to see the pattern
in the problems we are solving that lead to the patterns in our
solutions to them." (Ralph
Johnson quoted in Software Requirements & Specifications,
Michael Jackson 1995).
- What are we trying to augment?
People in groups access information through the Internet, thinking,
and communicating, using the Web as the main initial front end,
also utilizing email via mailing lists,Web publishing, with provisions
for future media and technologies, within an explicitly evolveable
- What actions are we working to augment?
See the Augmented
Actions Overview document.
- What are the social and technical implications?
- How can online collaborative work be kept on 'track'?
- Relatedly, how can online collaboration change direction
to become ever more fruitful to the purpose of the work?
- How can information best be readily accessed later (recorded
dialogue, intelligence etc.)
- How do different components (email, newsgroups, forums, to
do, authoring & reading, browsing and document repositories)
add to and degrade group collaboration?
- How is a sense of community fostered?
- What do major thinkers feel?
Initial Main Tools will be:
Initial scope will basically be enhanced web browsing
and mailing list:
- Email via Mailing List.
- Enhanced Web Browsing.
- Enhanced Web Publishing.
Future Main Tools
will have to be able to include:
- Collaborative, hierarchical To Do List.
- Document Repository (FTP, versioning control).
- Calendar sharing.
- Hypermedia Document Authoring. Tools to build your Core document.
- Hypermedia Browsing environment - All levels of documents/files
- Hypermedia Browsing environment - Reading basically.
- Must be able to include future media types including voice,
video and 3D.
- Focus on augmentation, not on simplistic ease-of-use.
- Entirely Web based initially.
- Must be expandable in the future to include different kinds
- Must be expandable to include full applications and environments.
- Complete OHS functionality and philosophy.
- Complete ZigZag integration.
- Vertical, highly encapsulated and explicitly documented code
- Emphasis on relationships, context and access from to anything
through anything in any way..
Aims (what the project sets out to do):
The aim of this initial project (MSc paper) is to provide
a solid foundation for implementing a cynapse.org environment.
The aim of the cynapse.org environment will be to provide
the next generation of information environment for he end user
as described in the www.liquid.org/manifesto and a developer
environment with which will empower the programmer to work in
a dynamic, cooperative environment unlike any seen today, while
making the distinction between end user and programming smaller
Understand what exists in the marketplace, what's available
in the literature and what the real requirements are for a usable
and utilized online communications environment are.
The Requirements Document will come from structured and un-structured
interviews in person and via email primarily focusing on the
Bootstrap community in California.
Interview the user community (requirements capture) while
reviewing the literature and marketplace resulting in the issuing
of 'Requirements Document V1' get feedback.
Issue 'Requirements Document V2' edited based on feedback.
Build and test prototype.
Get initial opinions.
Conduct Marketplace Review.
Conduct Literature Review.
Conduct Requirements Capture.
Generate (user and data) walkthroughs and HTAs.
Build Requirements Document V1. Invite further comments.
Build visual prototype (split screen with notes and feedback
form). Evaluate comments/test speed.
Continue with revised Requirements Capture document.
Build Initial Spec and invite further comments.
Build prototype in HTML & JavScript with some server-side
Java. Evaluate comments/test speed.
Complete Requirements Capture document.
Complete, polished prototype.