Archive Page 2

First glimpses…

As promised I’ve uploading a visual of how the iido interface might look. The visual is simplified (only showing 2 lists and a single connection), but it’s a starting point for discussion. In actual fact over the last few weeks Andy and I have made several design descisions based on simple prototypes, and a more upto date version of the interface (including more visuals) will be discussed in the next blog, which is concerned with user/object interactions in particular transformations.

So to the visual…

iido interface first visual

A couple of things about the visual,

  • No tree-view association, lists can be linked in parent>child or in sibling format. However, these relationships are then shown by lines, not necessarily by position.
  • Lists are shown in a custom looking window, the window (which I call a Leaf widget) is currently the core subject of my prototyping, the idea is these can be thrown (moved), spun (rotated), resized, and minimized – the look and feel of these has changed a bit over several revisions.
  • The little colour icon on the bottom toolbar indicates that it will be possible to style individual lists, either with preset styles or individually (the resize icon should be ignored as this is something that has changed in the new prototype).
  • The visual only shows two linked to-do lists, the plan is that a Leaf may contain any sort of content, images, a list of contacts, flow digrams, spreadsheets…

So hopefully this will spark something in you guys, even if it’s abject hatred, let me have it all.

A simple JS lightbox

For the project I’m working on at the moment I’ve had to build a Lightbox class (similar in behaviour to the well known lightview library).

I’m listing it here for those of you who might wish to use it – if you do use it then I’d love to know where and what for, other than that have fun.

To customize your lightbox modify the lightbox.html and lightbox.css files, for documentation see the lightbox.js and lightbox-setup.html file.

Download lightbox.zip

The download contains an lightbox-setup.html file, open/view this for the demo. Tested in IE 6/7, Firefox, Opera and Safari.

Initial thoughts…

iido is a graphical to-do list application, or at least that’s the intention at the moment (these things have a habit of becoming more).

As a software developer for over a decade now, one of the most useful skills I’ve aquired (or put another way become better at) is being able to organize my projects and tasks. Any developer who has ever worked on a medium to large project will have used some form of project/task management.

There is a labyrinth of good project management tools out there, both commercial and open-source, many of which specialise in specific areas of project management.

Even though there are all these tools available, the tool I use everyday is the mighty pen & paper (or if I’m feeling patient a plain text document and Dia). Why? Well, from a personal stand point it’s purely down to speed, freedom and convenience.

When I first started to think about writing a to-do list application, I first wrote down a list of things that I like about using a pen & paper.

  • Speed – It’s not just that I can write faster using a pen (my writing is barely legiable to me), it’s that I can write, draw and visually associate various items on one or more pieces of paper, quickly.
  • Freedom – All of us have a different ways of documenting our planning process, alot of the time this means drawing (rough) flow diagrams, tearing or folding paper, writing at an angle, etc.
  • Portability – I can pick up a piece of paper, tear off what I want, put it in my back pocket and take it with me.
  • Collaboration – Whenever I discuss an idea with a colleague I use a piece of paper to explain my idea, and usually in turn they will use the paper to amend my work, and so on and so forth.
  • Unstructured associations – I often write down related information on a piece of paper like, contact information, reminders, ideas, etc.
  • Unobtrusive – My favourate thing about a piece of paper is I can look at it instantly (no load up time), without switching my application.

Obviously there are also a lot of things to dislike about pen & paper, lack of consitency, poor accessibility for other users, no backup or version control systems, etc. This project is about trying to produce an application I’ll want to use instead of pen & paper, and in doing so provide the benifits of an electonic format without (where possible) comprimising on the benifits of paper.

Over the course of the next few weeks I plan to discuss and present ideas for the project on this blog, I’d much appreciate any feedback people have. Currently the team for this project will be myself and my father Andrew – and hopefully a little help from some of the talented friends I’ve been lucky enough to make over the last decade in software.