Come mingle with me
It has been a long time since I've worked on the ecto/Windows code in any serious manner. Sure, I've fixed a few bugs here and there as well as updating various libraries that ecto uses, but the last time a major feature was added to the code was at least 6 months ago, if not longer. That doesn't mean I have not given any thoughts to the development of ecto during that time. I had many ideas on and off on either new features or how I would code it now if I were to start from scratch.
Well, last week I officially started jolting down some of these ideas and tasks. I've tried recording my ideas down 'properly' and used it as project planning before but had never found a tool that worked well. I've tried the basic (text files) to complicate (bug tracking application like Mantis). This time I thought I would try Mingle, an Agile project planning tool developed by (yes, my employer) ThoughtWorks. *
So far, my experience is pretty positive. I've recorded my ideas on new features, improvements, and tasks down in Mingle. Each of these is stored as a 'story card' and Mingle allows me to tag it, set properties (which I can define my own), and add description. It is the description part that proves to be powerful to me. Mingle allows a kind of wiki style markup in the description so I can add URLs, format the text, or even link to another story card inside the description. This means I can record links that are relevant to the story (e.g. product page for new feature, API documentation for references, etc.) right there so I don't have to look for them in my bookmarks or google it every time I need them.
I can also record bugs or issues in Mingle and reference them back to ecto's support forum so I won't lose track of the bug as it gets push down the message board. It is not a full blown bug tracking application such as Trac or Bugzilla but I don't need those features anyway as I am working on my own.
The iteration planning aspect of Mingle is of less relevance to me since I won't be forcing myself into a strict weekly or bi-weekly schedule, likewise with the very nice and powerful graphing and reporting features of Mingle.
We'll see how well Mingle will hold up as a repository of ideas and knowledge when I slowly move into the actual coding phase.
* I've started using Mingle during their beta testing phase before I joined ThoughtWorks. But having the inside track on what's coming in the next few versions certainly helps me decide on trying it out!
Baxter and Nemo, the keys to speak in the daily stand up meetings.
It's been a week and a half since I've joined a ThoughtWorks project in London. It's been such a refreshing change. The whole team lives and breathes Agile. The code base is not the cleanest I've worked on but actually easier to work with because the team made sensible compromises and did not being stubborn about ideas or patterns. (Actually we still have some way to go on the Mingle front, but that's another story.) We are doing TDD, continuous integration, pair programming with regular rotation, 9-5:30 hours, everyone are treated as equal, basically the whole nine yards! I can foresee the next three months will just disappear quickly. You know what they say, time flies by when you are having fun…
As for London itself, I was pleasantly surprised by all the good/new stuff they have. But at the same time, the Tube still pisses me off, with the never ending tunnels and the asinine system of having to swipe your ticket/card on exit. At least the travel cost is paid for by my company!
I'm going up to Shropshire this weekend to visit my parents. Instead of taking a 2+ hours train ride, I'll be driving a rental car up. I know, it's not environmentally friendly but consider the total amount of driving I haven't done in the last 7 years, I think I can take this carbon emission hit.
Change of perspective
Yesterday I've finally decided to apply for a new job, as my current one no longer excites me. In fact, it has been this way for the last 9 months so it has been long time coming. Now that the decision had finally been made I am much more mellow about my current job. Whatever happens in the office, happens.
So far I have not been expanding too much effort on job searching but I did apply for this .Net Application Architect job, which if even I just get an interview, will make my boss jealous to no end.