The Gippy Pages


Collaborating with ease

Mar 16, 2005 | Web Design & Development | By Shawn Parker

With Fuzzy Coconut coming into focus (yes, every pun included) we decided to have a live meeting to flush out some ideas and get the ball rolling on the project. But with all of us residing in 3 different time zones our options looked a bit limited. Well, that was before thinking about it.

The four of us each have laptops with built in microphones and we all have broadband. Put that together with Skype and SubEthaEdit and a trusty plaintalk microphone we were all able to talk with each other and type into the same document all using free software and services. Not bad really. We probably have a few configuration issues to figure out with Skype but overall its voice quality was very good despite our one disconnect and our need to wear headphones to help cancel echo.

I think SubEthaEdit was the star of the show though. We could all type within the same document, each have unique highlight colors to see who wrote / changed / deleted what, had markers to see what parts of the document others were looking at, and each could save a local copy of the file. It worked out fantastically.

Now my next step is to set up a CVS & test server on OS X Server and an MDD PowerMac so that we can all check out and submit changes to project files and we’ll be in full collaborative bliss (well, aside from actually having to do work).

I’m pretty excited about the CVS server portion – the ability to combine changes from multiple people into a source tree of documents that also maintains a changelog and history states is pretty exciting. I was pretty worried about how we were all going to keep the documents straight since we had already had some weirdness with just an OmniGraffle file (at least, I had some weirdness – I was hesitant to do much work on a file that was complex and any of my changes could easily be overlooked when submitting my changes for consideration). Now, at least with the plain text documents, we’ll be secured against overwriting other’s changes and losing rollback states.

So, that leads me to ask a question. Anyone else who reads this have any success stories with collaboration and the use of software/hardware used to do it?

Tagged as: collaboration, version control