I’ve been looking around for online collaboration tools that can be used for international and interregional collaboration on software projects. When I worked on YaBB all we used was a bulletin board, ICQ and FTP. It worked reasonably well. But I’ve been briefly trying out groupware software which is supposed to help this type of collaboration. So far I’m not impressed.
I tested “phpGroupWare”:http://www.phpgroupware.org. The basic idea of groupware is that you can do all your collaboration stuff from one web-based environment: file exchange, messaging, chat, calendar, bug tracking etc. phpGroupware built a nice extensible system, wherein you can install all kinds of “applications” which do one of the things that you’d want to do in groupware.
I’ve installed phpGroupWare and first of all: it’s overwhelming. It comes with like 30 applications preinstalled. 70% of which you don’t need at all (some kind of DJ application, what the hell do you need that for?). What you’re left with is a calendar, file exchange, a forum and a couple of other applications. The problem is: none of them comes close to the easiness of use and functionality of the separate software that exists for it. If you use Subversion or CVS, you’ll laugh at the file exchage. You’re not going to upload files through the web, having it integrated into the shell is much simpler. The forum is very basic and ugly. There’s much better forum software out there. There’s some project management stuff that might be useful, but you’re not going to use this system just for that. I’m sure that there are better tools for that. So, unless somebody has a better suggestion for a groupware application, this is what I think is the most ideal solution for now:
* File exchange using “Subversion”:http://subversion.tigris.org (and shell integration with “TortoiseSVN”:http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org) or CVS/TortoiseCVS
* Bug tracking using “Mantis”:http://mantisbt.sf.net
* Communication using MSN/ICQ, “Skype”:http://www.skype.com, a bulletin board (phpBB, KeyTopic, IPB, YaBB?) and E-Mail.
But I’m open to suggestions.