May 26, 2007

Pop-up windows: hooray to modeless user interfaces

Pop-up windows are a very popular element of the TeamCity web user interface. Consider having a fully-featured continuous integration web-application that collects all possible data regarding VCS changes, tests, build output, build configuration settings, etc, etc, etc. When a problem occurs, we must guide the user through this mish-mash of various data directly (well, ideally) to the problem diagnostics.

Which tests failed?
Who was committing to this build?
Which files?
What code got changed?
Which build output reports are available for this build?

In TeamCity you don’t have to leave the overview page to find the answers. Iteratively, we found the way of showing build details in a modeless way:
teamcity_tests1.gif

Before that we tried showing pop-ups on link hovering, but that required considerable time for our users to get used to.

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January 30, 2007

Hype 2.0 for the Web 2.0 addicts

It was just a question of time – an application that would search the web for the web 2.0 ajax (etcetcetc) web sites and services. That’s a funny little thing but it can be a great asset for you, once you have acquired a habit of using clever web 2.0 services or if your work sends you off browsing for the web 2.0 news.

The idea in its essence is very good, but current realization limits the search to a not such a long list of blogs and news sites which review web 2.0 applications. From the other side, according to Hype2.0 authors, it still has not reached the final beta stage, so the list will apparently grow.

hype20.gif

October 3, 2006

Half a year UI endevour released!

Yesterday TeamCity 1.0 was released - on time, packed with useful features and "web 2.0" user interface nicities.

It's really interesting now to look back at was called buildServer (the first two are visio drafts, not html screens):

TC_history2_small.gif

TC_history1_small.gif


and then TeamServer (the first real "working horse" for our team):

TC_html1_small.gif

TC_html2_small.gif

and then it's got its name - TeamCity - more UI enhancements and usability features, and a real web 2.0 look:

TC_release_small.gif

... well, we've done a lot, but it's only the first version, and we'll have to work more, including the ui. Not the graphic part of it, probably, because fruttacotta has done her best- but the ease of use and intuitiveness of the ui model. Which requires user feedback and user testing. (so if you are TeamCity user and do have anything to say regarding the tool - please, let me know :)

April 21, 2006

Getting Real book from the 37signals

Probably my best investment in the last couple of months or so. Absolutely recommended for everybody involved in developing web applications. Getting Real is a book of inspiration, a book of ideas.
If you have a look at sample chapters, browse "Interface First (pdf)" and "Meeting Are Toxic (pdf)". The rest of the book is as interesting and unconventional as these two.

A cup of coffee for the brains. Really.

April 4, 2006

One more excellent Firefox plugin

Just in case you haven't tried it yet - there's an excellent plugin for Mozilla FF, the IE tab.
If you (like yours truely) strive to get the same web design effects in several browsers you'll like this opportunity to open a proper MSIE window right in Firefox. In a new tab, to be precise:

ieTab.gif