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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 [url:TodoList|] and [url: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.