Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 13/14 Update

After completing the Wetpaint wiki tool, I decided no to do a 4th. Reasons for this being largely time constraints but also because a 4th tool will not affect the results of my study in anyway. It would have been nice to have picked a tool that covered some of the design patterns that the others did not, such as one with full synchronous editing support, but it's difficult to find such tools that are free and of reasonable quality. In hind-sight I should not have used so many design patterns (54). Had I picked only 10 common ones, I would have had time to cover 6 tools, but as mentioned, I don't believe the results will be significantly affected.
Efforts now are focused on final write-up with the intention of handing my paper in on Friday. Have a couple of important things on at work this week but will push hard to meet the deadline.
Looking forward to having it finished.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week 12 Update

I finished off Groove completely last week - it made use of some other patterns that Google Docs did not, which will definitely help the study be more interesting with a broader scope. Groove handles artifacts much better than Google Docs, but does not handle concurrent editing very well.

I have also completed most of the design patterns for a wiki (wetpaint). This also covers off many patterns that have not been supported by the other 2 tools. Wikis cover Schummer's Community Support quite well, whereas Groove and Google Docs were both lacking in this area. Will finish off wetpaint this week along with another tool by Thursday - have yet to pick one - have several choices - ideally would have liked one with real-time editing. Groove and wikis do not support this at all and Google Docs only partially supported it.

I have 5 days of annual leave from work from Wednesday this week, giving me 7 straight days to finish the project and write it up. 5 days will be spent writing everything up. Fortunately, section 3, Own Work will be almost done once the 4th tool is complete. I have made quite a few notes for section 4, Synthesis so should be fine. Section 1, Introduction should be quite easy to put together. Section 2, Background is what I'm concerned about at the moment because I have a big mess of notes to put together. The first day of my 5-day write-up plan will be spent organising everything for the background section. Intro and Synthesis should require no more than a day each.

Getting there, but will be a hard push until the end.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week 11 Update

This week was supposed to be spent on analysing wikis as a collaborative writing tool. Instead I focused on Microsoft Groove 2007. It's another tool that was quite interesting because it supported a lot of different patterns that Google Docs did not, which is much better for a broader perspective.

I have not quite finished Groove yet. I have only focused on the first 55 patterns from Schummer's book since the last ones are more about underlying technology that aren't as relevant and also difficult to apply since they require a deeper understanding of the tool's design.

This week (12) I will finish off Groove and also Wikis. The beginning of Week 13 I will probably do Webex quickly since I already have an understanding of what patterns it supports - although not a standard collaborative writing tool, it will cover some patterns that the others do not and also has obvious applications in the field of collaborative writing.

I'm taking the last 3 days of week 13 off from work and the first 2 days (Mon and Tues) of week 14 off to hand-in on the Wednesday. I will be quite rushed, but will spend that time off on writing up everything.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Week 9/10 Post

Last week was spent finishing off Google Docs from a DP point of view and this week was spent using Wink to image capture for all the design patterns to prove my claims.

This process took a lot longer than expected. Reasons being because the design patterns I've been using are from Schummer's book and there are 71 of them. In the initial stages of planning this project I did not expect to use so many. The positives of using many design patterns is that the tools covered are covered reasonably thoroughly. The negatives are that I won't be able to cover as many tools. By the end, I hope to have thoroughly covered between 4 and 6 tools. This may sound unrealistic, because of the time taken to cover Google Docs, but it was the most time-consuming because it was the first - I had to understand the design patterns and while applying them, had to make decisions to keep consistency. The other tools shouldn't take as long.

Next tool will be wikis. Then at least a non-web-based real-time writing tool and maybe a web-conferencing tool. If I have time, I will pick 2 others. I have tried to keep the tools quite different because the patterns I am using support many applications, so individual applications don't meet the requirements for all of the DPs - only a portion of them. Hopefully at the end, the tools covered, combined can support 90% of the patterns in some way or another.

I have already come across a few issues using the design patterns to describe tools. It is very difficult to keep consistency. For example, differentiating between a tool supporting a pattern, partially supporting or not supporting it. Some of the design patterns are borderline and it's difficult to decide what category the tool should fall into. I have included my assumptions for each design pattern to maximise consistency. At the end of the day, a lot of the judgements I'm making are my own, which isn't enough - it is likely that many people may disagree with some of my assumptions.

We'll see how it works out in the end...