Organizing Work in the Information Design Tool

I really have a love/hate relationship with the new Information Design Tool (IDT). While I do enjoy the Eclipse-based interface, the multi-panel view of universes, folders, and repositories, and more, there are certainly still the “first-major-version” woes like those that my buddy Dallas Marks points out over at his blog. But one topic that I actually still grapple with, is in how I organize my workspace, because this topic can impact not just me, but also my extended development team.

The first challenge to maintaining a project to me is the organization of a bunch of little files in a single project folder. To me this feels clunky. Especially, when you picture if you will, you may import this project many times over as you start to maintain it post go live, you get a lot of little folders that start to look like this when retrieving directly from the CMS:

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When you import to an existing project folder, it is even a little more murky when it gets combined with the existing code from your project as you were building it.

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As I wrestled with this problem, and as I started working with folders with more than one data foundation or business layer, another structure started to emerge in my projects to complicate things even further, in which I created separate folders to organize each type of object comprising my universes.

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This is nice, organized, and makes management of my in-flight projects easier to maintain, but was still not perfect while I maintain the universe both in conjunction with what is in the repository as well as what is in my Shared Projects.

Finally, I realized many projects have more than one universe and my stack of project folders is starting to grow out of control. So next, I settled on a project folder structure that is hierarchical based on project, with many universes beneath.

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I think the more I use the IDT, the better my own use cases will be for maintaining and supporting content. I also have to wonder what the useful life cycle of keeping dozens of folders in my workspace will be. It is entirely possible that I might start chucking projects aside once they are in production and will maintained there to keep my IDT clean and tidy.

While not the focus of my post, in addition to all of this, it is pretty important to embrace the idea of the Shared Projects repository. More in line with what we leveraged with the old school Universe Design Tool, working with similar best practices, you must establish these projects in such a way to ensure as you share your work with other designers, you don’t step on each other, using locking, etc.

Care to share how you are organizing your projects? If you want to share your set up, leave a comment and email me at eric at evtechnologies dot com.

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