HackISU: Ideas for Using the GForge API
Last week we announced that we’ll be sponsoring HackISU this weekend up in Ames. This is a great opportunity for young developers and engineers to have fun and gain experience working with technology. For our part, we are awarding $3,000 to the team that makes the best use of the GForgeNext API which we also recently discussed. Ahead of this weekend’s event, we wanted to share a couple of ideas for teams looking to use our API.
Mobile is king these days and because we’ve been spending so much time working towards getting GForgeNext out of beta we haven’t had a chance to tackle anything related to mobile. There’s a couple of fairly straightforward ideas in the space worth considering:
- A mobile application that works with GForgeNext tickets.
- A messaging application that brings the existing GForgeNext chat functionality to mobile device.
We should have prefaced that these are just two ideas and both are specific to mobile but you may be able to come up with your own ideas after you look at the GForgeNext API documentation. Feel free to let your imagination roam. So dive into these two ideas a bit more.
Working with Tickets
At the core of GForgeNext is the ability to work with tickets. Tickets can represent just about anything but in IT they are used to manage a workload. For example, we use GForgeNext internally as a place to plan which features and bug fixes will go into our releases and then to assign that work out. Taking this a step further, GForgeNext also lets individuals manage their own todo list. Basically as work (often across multiple projects) is assigned to someone, they can add that work to their own todo list in priority order. Here are a few screenshots from GForgeNext showing the existing functionality:
So basically we are looking for similar functionality from a mobile application. To help we think these features would be great:
- Authentication (logging into GForgeNext)
- Viewing your list of projects
- Switching between projects
- Viewing tickets for a specific project
- Adding a new ticket
- Updating an existing ticket
- Searching for a ticket (regardless of project) by ID.
If that much can be accomplished then here are ideas for extra credit:
- View your todo list
- Edit your todo list (move in/out of list, change order tickets within queue)
Again, these are just features we came up with but we definitely encourage teams to consider other features they might find useful.
Chat in GForgeNext is a critical feature because it allows project teams to collaborate on their work. We are often asked the question, “Why would I want yet another messaging application cluttering up my workstation or mobile phone?”. Indeed, there are a lot of ways to collaborate on projects like email, SMS, instant messenger, IRC. However, the utility of GForge Chat is rooted in the fact is it completely integrated with your projects. Before I get into those specifics here is the chat window in GForgeNext:
This shows how chat will work in GForgeNext. The left shows that whenever you are viewing a page specific to a project you will see the embedded chat window. Eventually you will be able to pop the chat panel out into its own window into something that looks like the image on the right (which is our standalone chat in our current product).
In GForgeNext, because every project gets its own chat room we can leverage features that won’t exist using other messaging applications. For example as activity is happening on a project, it is streamed into the chat room (e.g. user joining chat, an updated ticket, a new wiki page being created). Additionally when discussing tickets in chat you can create auto links to ticket by using #-notation (e.g. typing in #1234 into chat would be rendered in chat as a link to ticket #1234).
With that in mind, here are a few features we’d like to see in a messaging application:
- Viewing your list of chat rooms (projects)
- Switching between chat rooms
- View the messages in a chat room (including project activity)
- Viewing users in the chat room
- Submitting a new message
- Auto linking to tickets using #-notation
- Auto completing @-notation of users to mention them (see yellow messages in screenshots above)
- Logging out
That’s a pretty aggressive list of features but some extra credit ideas might be:
- Deleting one of your own messages
- Push notifications of messages you are @-mentioned in.
- Uploading an image
We know you aren’t new to messaging applications so, again, we really encourage you to only use the ideas above as a starting point and we definitely welcome other ideas you can come up with.
Heading into Friday
This is a lot to digest but we really do want teams that use our API to hit the ground running so please definitely read up on the API, feel free to register for a beta account by submitting your email on https://next.gforge.com and if you have any questions before this weekend’s HackISU event send an email to email@example.com