Nov 2, 2004

Developers' communications tool

Ok, I am fed-up with my Javascript exercises. I was trying to create some kind of super-puper textarea-based HTML editor, and even made some progress, but after I saw this editor I decided to spend my time on something more valuable. Anyway, now I have some interesting chunks of code which allow, for instance, getting a cursor position in a textarea (actually, it was not such a trivial task in IE). Will publish it someday.

Recently I had quite an interesting talk with a couple of my comrades, namely Igor Sereda and Mike Aizatsky, regarding tool support of software development. Among many other interesting ideas there was one which fills my head now - to develop an IDE add-on which would ease developers' collaboration and communication. Have you ever sent an exception stacktrace to your buddy? Surely, if you did it via ICQ, the stacktrace was split into parts (argh!). Have you ever asked a colleague by IM/phone to open file yyy and take a look at the line zzz? These are quite usual scenarios for distributed work, even if the team is distributed on several rooms in the same building.

I think you've got the idea of the tool. It should have a form of an IDE plugin which will ease code-related communications between developers. The approximate feature list is as follows:
  • view the list of colleagues working on the same project (and ability to request the list of open/modified files)
  • send a code fragment to a colleague; allow the receiving side to navigate the code (i.e. code fragment is sent along with the context).
  • send a stacktrace to a colleague; allow the receiving side to navigate the stacktrace
  • integration with different IDEs (at least, IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse)
I would like to start developing such a beastie and if you have any comments, suggestions, thoughts, additions and emotions - you're welcome!


Unknown said...
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Jeremy Rayner said...

Found your blog from Guillaume, I was looking at one aspect of this earlier this year (just for fun). I was looking for a simple way to collaborate on an editor pane with a collegue, the result was a variation on notepad I dubbed netpad.

Take a look at and let me know your thoughts...

(It currently uses http post style requests with a simple home-rolled diff protocol on top)


Anonymous said...

Another feature I think is valuable, is the possibility of editing code and the other party seeing the changes at the same time. Then you would need some kind of write protection of the code the other party is editing so both cannot edit the same code at the same time.

Unknown said...

This is planned under code name "pair programming" feature.

Anonymous said...

Afaik this is already implemented in eclipse ecf.