Seeking online collaborative software / CMS
July 4, 2004 8:03 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend an online collaborative software that allows developers at remote locations around the world to share files, debate and update each other on the progress of their portion of a project. Which is best for this sort of thing: a mail-list, blog, wiki, bulletin board or some combined form of these?
posted by timyang to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Well, since no one else has answered...

Dreamweaver 2004 MX is a good tool, though the vi/Unix gang I work with have much disdain for it. But, then, they have disdain for anything that simplifies writing code (which is why they are still handwriting cgi perl code from scratch to solve web tasks)

You can associate design notes with files and tie it in to source control. These two items plus code comments should keep everyone up-to-speed.

It also supports about every language you can dream up in terms of syntax highlighting, or you can create your own.

Plus, if you use it with WebDav as source control, then you can utilize other features outside of the IDE (inherent to WebDav, not DW). WebDAV stands for "Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning". It is a set of extensions to the HTTP protocol which allows users to collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers.

See for how it works with developer teams.

subversion uses WebDav as a network protocol.

Communication, always. Maintain communication. They can debate via email or whatever. Just set up a single emial address for the project and make sure everyone copies it on every message... then you have an audit trail of discussions. I'm not sure if that is what you are looking for, but I hope it helps.
posted by pissfactory at 6:30 AM on July 5, 2004

Groove appears to be designed to do this sort of thing. It's more project management, and less management of code though.
posted by seanyboy at 7:16 AM on July 5, 2004

In general, what you're looking for is a CMS, or Content Management System. CMS's are generally a combination of wiki and blog; they have user authentication, a front news page, and usually include things like a bulletin-board system, file management, user-editable content pages, etc. So you'd be able to upload files to share among everyone, hold discussions about various things related to the project, have shared documentation, that sort of thing.

One killer function for any multi-developer project, as touched upon by pissfactory, is version control (e.g. SubVersion and CVS), and I don't know how many CMS's contain that feature. I'm sure some of them must, considering what they're designed for, but the few I've seen only had your basic Yahoo!Groups type file management, i.e. upload new/overwrite, delete, subfolders--no versioning control to speak of.

However, most CMS's are designed to be modular, so chances are good you can find a version control module for whichever one you end up going with (if you go that route, that is).

Try Googling for 'Content Management System' or 'CMS', and I'll drop a few names I've heard of, like Plone, PostNuke and PHP-Nuke.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 7:44 AM on July 5, 2004

Um...sourceforge? CVS?
posted by bingo at 8:05 PM on July 5, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks Cyrusdogstar and Pissfactory!

I looked through the Nukes and they're really much more than project management/information sharing CMSes. But their modules do cover all those functions we need. Thanks again!
posted by timyang at 8:49 PM on July 5, 2004

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