Mockup / Wireframe / Prototype Tools

Balsamiq “Mockups”

Pencil

Gliffy

  • free basic web functionality
  • $$ubscription model for featured version

SketchFlow is apparently coming back to VS2012 – Microsoft seems to be in a bit of a tizzy buttoning down all the loose ends in the latest transition to all things immersive.
Infragistics has Indigo Studio
There’s tons more out there… prototyping is apparently a very hot item

MS Project 101 for Developers

(Emphasis on For Developers)
BLUF: the simple idea here is that it’s quite easy to project your aggregated Remaining Duration estimates into a quickie calendar date.

  1. capture a list of rational tasks – do an initial break down by individual screen if you don’t have something else in mind… a little sub-task depth is good but don’t go too deep at first… in typical software architecture, program functions and/or database objects are good candidates.
  2. then spend a little time throwing out a rough estimate for each task… don’t get too hung up on accuracy here
    • leverage the out of body experience by pretending you’re not the guy that’s gotta do all this work
    • it can be sorta fun in a twisted way and a surprisingly worthwhile organizational moment if you’re lighthearted about it
  3. fully expand your outline (Project > Outline > Show > All Subtasks)
  4. select all your tasks from top to bottom…
  5. and link them together (Edit > Link Tasks [Ctrl+F2])
  6. in the normal task grid, make sure you have the columns: Duration, % Completion and Remaining Duration (right click a column header > Insert Column)
  7. fill out the % Completion numbers as best you can
    • as you’re doing so, the Remaining Duration for each task will go down accordingly
  8. use sub-task nesting to create a task nodes with automatically summed Remaining Duration totals which represent your Milestones du jour
  9. and then use Business Day Calculator > Add Business Days to project some quick and dirty milestone completion dates to talk to
  • to me this approach can give you something reasonably concrete to talk to in an hour
  • there becomes some “safety in numbers” here… it’s harder for someone to throw out the timeline w/o somehow acknowledging the existing one
  • you can print out your task list and a pretty Gantt chart for a little more razzle dazzle than empty hand waving
  • you can back yourself up at the next review by working the old estimates to correspond with actuals

Misc notes:

  • The different kinds of Percent Complete
    • % Complete – deals with time
    • % Work Complete – deals with man-hours
    • % Physical Complete – deals with physical progress (link) … in Development land “physical” of course gets very abstract and therefore makes it fun deciding where to draw the line on what is the smallest “thing” be a trackable task – but for example: screens, stored procedures, classes are granular enough “physical” things typical worthy of tracking completion.

Google Wave – WOW

For all you folks working on any kind of collaboration solution, this seems like THE thing to have on your radar… It’s not just a standalone product but an API to be woven into our own mashups. Here’s the gen-x attention span version… very handy to start getting a quick feel.Watch the long video directly on YouTube so you can maximize it.Seems like this was announced this May (at the Google “I/O”  ’09 conference).

Just a sampling of immediate highlights:
  • EVER-Y-THING is REALTIME!!!  anybody watching the “Wave” space can make edits (think of it as very robust chat) and everybody also gets to see all the updates being made in realtime…
  • folks that are then invited to the wave later can “replay” the collaborative edits from start to finish with change tracking highlights to call out each edit
  • it’s combined eMail & IM in same space
  • Everyone eMail-like response thread get hierarchically structured (ala forums)
  • The “extensions” that have already been developed to run atop the Wave API are amazing…
  • Like at the very end of the demo… they show a chat with instant language translation!! … one person chats in english which translates to the other guy in french (and vice versa) and they can both type and see what they’re saying in real time… the other web mashups where they enhance existing online services (e.g. bug tracker site) with Wave’s realtime collaboration abilities are very drool worthy