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  • The brainstorm problem and my solution

    published on 8/10/2008 11:18 AM
    So you sit there in front of your computer and you have an idea of how to solve a problem or maybe realize that you have or will have a problem with something. So you figure you better write it down so you don't forget this information. But where do you write this information down? Does this sound familiar?

    I have had this problem for a long time and I also run into it on a daily basis. This has lead me to have pages upon pages of brainstorming and design ideas written down all over the place. Topics have included things like a better SOA (Service orientated architecture) design, data center design, scene ideas for plane 9, event system for our management program and the list goes on.

    I have tried a whole bunch of tools to fix this problem like TodoList and OnTime and they do work but they still feel limited. In their defense they weren't made for this exact problem. So I usually end up using notepad or as an email I never send out in outlook or gmail. I also tried google documents. But with all of the document based solutions you don't get any structure at all. But with the tools you have a too rigid design and for some you also have to run them as a windows program so when you have an idea you can't get to the program. Since your at work and the program and files are at home.

    Well finally I sat down and made my own program for the problem. It took 4h including database design, ajax enabled and a full html editor with a tree view that shows all items.

    The main goal was to make it
    • Web based - So it can be reached from anywhere
    • Fast - So you actually use it
    • Simple - If its complex you dont use it

    So the idea was to put a button bar on the top, a tree view below and at the bottom of the window a full editor. To make it simpler the text string seen in the treeview is the first line shown in the editor. So no special place to write a subject line. This very simple design has worked very well so it was 4 hours well spent. Hopefully this will now help me keep better track of all ideas that comes and goes.

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