Welcome!

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Managing App Development with Macromedia Sitespring

Managing App Development with Macromedia Sitespring

Keeping a development project organized and on point is a common issue that Web designers and application developers alike often struggle with.

Managing your development team, their tasks, and the multiple versions of files they're working with are problems that many of us find ourselves scratching our heads over.

With the introduction of Site-spring, Macromedia joins the crusade to bring a little bit of sanity to our day and to help streamline the Web site design and application development processes.

Core Sitespring Management Concepts
Sitespring is an application de-signed to help manage Web development projects. It does this, in part, by fostering communication about that project within the de-velopment team and with the client. We all know that communication within the development team is vital to project success. For this reason Sitespring creates a personal home page for each team member that consists of a My Projects module, a My Tasks module, a My Discussions module, and a My Reports module.

Sitespring allows administrators, project managers, and Web developers to create projects, assign and organize tasks and team members, and participate in project-oriented discussion threads. Each project has its own Project Homepage within Sitespring, and any team member assigned to that project has access to vital project information. Each project consists of project details regarding client information as well as a list of tasks, discussions, team members, and project folders.

Sitespring has a browser-based user interface so it can be accessed from anywhere on your network or from the Web by any registered Sitespring user. Users can log in to their Sitespring home page using their Sitespring username and password.

Sitespring Manages Projects
A Web shop often has several proj- ects going simultaneously. In the past there's always been a question about which project management tool is best suited to help make sense of all of the things going on in these types of projects. Sitespring, which fits into this niche, can make an immediate difference.

With so many development proj-ects running at once, chances are that each team member is working on more than one. Some developers experience problems when they try to shift their focus from one project to another or try to keep track of task and project responsibilities. Commenting within your templates or Web pages helps to alleviate some of this "downtime," but that's another subject altogether.

The My Projects module is used to identify which projects each team member is assigned to. It allows you to see not only which projects you're assigned to, but which have the highest priority along with their current status.

If you click on one of your projects, you'll be able to see a description of the project and project details including all of the team members assigned to that project, project tasks and task status, all project discussions, and more. Each of the project tasks listed shows its own priority status, the name of the individual it's assigned to, and the due dates.

Sitespring also allows for the import and export of project information. A Microsoft Project project plan can be imported into Sitespring. You can also export project or task information in MPX format for Microsoft Project or in comma-separated values (CSV) format for more in-depth tracking and project reporting.

Sitespring Manages Tasks
The ability to track tasks across the full life of a project would be a helpful thing for project managers. So, to ensure that team members know exactly what they're doing and that project managers can stay current with project progress, Sitespring allows for the creation and assignment of tasks. Each project may consist of a number of tasks, each assigned to one or more team members.

Any member of the team is allowed to create and assign tasks. Each task is assigned to a specific team member so that accountability is established. If more than one team member needs to work on a task, that task can be cloned and the second instance assigned to the other team member. Each task is added to the project task list and to the My Tasks module on the assigned team member's home page.

One of the deliverables of most projects is an estimation of time. An estimated time to completion can be assigned to each task. When the task is completed, the actual time should be entered to help project managers determine the efficiency of the project team. Since each task is listed on the project page, its progress and status can be monitored by the team, providing incentive for team members.

Because all tasks related to a project are available to every proj-ect team member, the entire team can monitor task and project progress. This feature also allows them to stay informed regarding what will next appear on their plate.

Sitespring easily integrates its task management features with extensions for Dreamweaver and Dream-weaver UltraDev. The Sitespring Task Panel allows you to log in to Sitespring and to view all projects and tasks that you have open. You can access all of your files, but you can also edit your tasks within the Sitespring Task Panel and refresh for those edits to take effect.

Sitespring Manages Communication
Communication is the key to making sure that all members of the team know where they're supposed to be and when, what task is pushing its deadline, or even that they need to call a client contact. Sitespring works to ensure that the lines of communication are always wide open.

The My Tasks module is one of the ways that Sitespring enhances communication. But Sitespring also keeps you up to date on the ongoing discussion issues by presenting project-centered discussions on your project page. Built just like any other threaded discussion application, Sitespring lets you know what topics are being discussed, who started the thread, and how active it is.

Sitespring also ensures, via e-mail, that you're informed about your assignments. On the setup side you have to tell Sitespring what SMTP server to use, the SMTP port, and so on. The e-mail notification features, task assignment, and project discussions make the project team members more accountable for meeting deadlines and encourage them to keep in touch with each other.

Sitespring also provides for client communication through a project site that allows them to contribute files containing source material to the project. Clients can also view drafts of the work being performed, which keeps them up to date on their project's status.

Because Sitespring 1.0 lacks a project calendar, the Discussions section of the Projects page becomes a great place to post meeting notes, reminders, and directions to after-hours team-building activities.

Sitespring Manages Files
One very cool feature of Sitespring is its transparent versioning. Each project is set up in a shared project folder that Sitespring monitors. Any file that's modified within that shared folder will be versioned. The best thing about this feature is that you as the developer don't have to change your routine. You don't have to open a file to edit through the Sitespring explorer, but can use your same old methods of opening with ColdFusion Studio, Dreamweaver, or Ultradev.

It's as simple as creating a share for access to those folders and enabling File Versioning within Sitespring's Shared Folder Management. Any ongoing changes or updates to files within that share will be tracked by Sitespring's version management. What happens is this: when you enable file versioning for a share, Sitespring automatically creates a "_revisions" folder in the root directory of that share. Then, as you modify and save a file, Sitespring will save the old version of that file to the _revisions folder. A sequential number will be appended to each version of the file so that you can easily step back to the version that you want to restore. If the latest version of a page or application template isn't the greatest, this feature makes it easy to revert to the preferred version.

You can also take a look at the revision history of a file by accessing it through Sitespring's File Explorer. Within the Explorer you can clean up the revision history and clear out any obsolete revision files.

Another helpful feature for developers is the ability to link specific files to tasks. This assures that the file that's updated is the file that was intended.

Remote Collaboration
I recently read Hal Helms's CFDJ article "A Script for Teamwork" (Volume 3, issue 7). Hal talked about his experiences on a "distributed team." Sitespring could have alleviated some of the issues Hal recounted by fostering communication between team members and project managers and allowing client interaction. That interaction and communication helps keep everyone on task and on track.

Though Sitespring is neither a framework nor a development methodology, it's definitely a tool that fits into the concept of development via methodology, task assignment, and version management. In the same issue of CFDJ, Sarge, an old buddy from my Allaire consulting days, discussed the benefits of frameworks and methodologies, and of team specialists, in "Optimal Development Environment: Working Together in CF." Sarge's assertion that "there's no substitute..." for specialists within your development team is supported by Sitespring's task-oriented approach to dividing up project responsibility and accountability.

Because Sitespring is a Web-based application and runs on your development environment, the project development files are accessible through your Web browser wherever you are. There's no check-in/checkout feature, but the task assignment and transparent versioning are great for remote developers. Remember, you can also access your project files by setting up a ColdFusion RDS mapping.

Leveraging ColdFusion
Okay, so where does ColdFusion fit into all of this? The best answer: anywhere. Sitespring and its "Project Sites" are run on Macromedia's JRun server. Thus, when a client interacts with the Project Site or when a development team member logs on to the Sitespring desktop, he or she is using a JRun application that's delivered in JSP pages.

Your Sitespring project folders can be made up of any number of file types. Create a folder in Windows Explorer or by opening up that proj-ect's directory. Your site templates are created within Sitespring's Projects folder rather than under the normal Web root (usually C:\InetPub\WWW Root\projectname).

ColdFusion doesn't interact with the Sitespring product, but as an application developer you'll appreciate the ability to assign and track development tasks and to interact with team members and clients. Many of ColdFusion's most popular development methodologies take a modular approach that encourages developers to work on independent blocks of code that can then be plugged in to the rest of the application.

The Future of Sitespring
The future of Macromedia seems bright, even in such an uncertain market. Many of us were really excited when we heard about the merger of Allaire and Macromedia simply because the upside of the mixture of the front-end and back-end technologies would lead to a more integrated design and development process. With the addition of Sitespring, we have a way to track and manage the activities that are involved in our projects on both sides of the process.

When I asked how Sitespring works into Macromedia's long-term strategy, Macromedia officials said, "We see Sitespring as a product that can help bring together the diverse workflow of all of the team members involved in delivering incredible Web applications. As such, you can expect us to improve the workflow between the tools themselves (e.g., how Flash and CF and Java and graphics folks tools interact) as well as with Sitespring as a common team production management platform."

That said, I think we can look for improvements to some of theŠhow did I put it?..."clunky" features of Sitespring, and the addition of some features that didn't make it into version 1.0. Like the much-needed project calendar.

Conclusion
I went into the writing of this article not knowing much about Macromedia Sitespring. I'd heard a bit of the hype, but had been too busy with a development project to stop and look at the product. After a period of some weeks I've become a believer. Yeah, it's only a version 1.0 product, but the potential is definitely there. I realize how useful a product like Sitespring could have been on several past projects, and how much time I could have saved through its version control and discussion features.

I've heard people in my office who've tried Sitespring say things like, "I can see where it might be good for a large development project, but it's not a good solution for the type of work we do around here." Au contraire, mon ami! Whether you're developing a brochure-ware type of Web site or a full-blown enterprise application or doing ad hoc updates to various files on an existing Web site, Sitespring can help.

To Macromedia's credit, Sitespring is built so you don't have to be a technical genius to figure it out. It takes advantage of an easy-to-use browser interface for almost all its interaction with project files, team members, and clients. Sitespring's inline help and Flash tutorials are a great place to start learning more about this product and how you can use it to your advantage.

More Stories By Neil Ross

Neil Ross is a
consultant and ColdFusion course instructor at Allaire. He's been developing Web sites for five
years and developing applications with ColdFusion for three.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...