Friday, November 14, 2008

balsamiq, lighthouse, and basecamp

Another application that is making me -- and a lot of other people -- happy is Balsamiq Mockups.  How often have you wanted a quick and dirty way to mockup a visual layout?  Mockups works very well for this.  It is also a wonderful demonstration of how quickly unified web/desktop app development is moving.  Mockups is built on Adobe Air and while the UI occasionally seems a little flakey ("oh, you wanted to click there?  No, I want you to wait a few seconds until I wake up.") it is really quite strong.  It's enjoyable to use and I wish Peldi all kinds of luck in coping with success and growth.

We're switching over to Lighthouse for issue tracking.  While Basecamp was nice and easy to use, it sits at a local minima for how we're working.  Despite weekly and bi-weekly iterations, we still have tasks that are long enough lived to benefit from state and multi-person comments.  Basecamp has made intentional design decisions in order to encourage simplicity and a very project->milestone->to dos approach, which I generally agree with, but they don't alias to our workflow very well.  I'm also finding that adding tasks in as full tickets encourages a more complete brain dump as opposed to Basecamp's to-do lists where terse and cryptic aligns with the user experience.  I suspect Basecamp is better suited to slightly smaller teams, as well as teams who already know each other.

Not that I'm sure Lighthouse is the final solution, either, but so far so good.

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