FreeMind and the current job

2007-09-07

    The current job is about defining/refining and documenting a system that is a couple of years old. I was a big part in building it initially but it has grown without much control since then. As I see it, the main reason it is hard to get a grasp of it now is because there is (or has never been) a central role to consolidate the development. For each little project there has been a new project manager who only wanted to do his part at the lowest cost or him. No one has taken, or gotten, responsibility for all of it. This has led to more than one ugly hack to solve the same issue in different sub projects. Now they have taken the opportunity to try to figure out what functionality there actually is, and what should be reused or refactored.

    This is the first time my deliverables aren’t code. Starting with a blank sheet is always hard, but I remembered FreeMind, a free mind mapping tool. It helps a lot with the blank sheet syndrome since one can start dumping information in it and organize it later. Of course that is possible in any other text editor, but the graphical metaphor of FreeMind helps, at least me, get over the writers block.

    I haven’t run FreeMind in Vista before so it was not very pleasant to discover that all file operations on new files failed. I solved it by copying one of the document that came with the install. When I double click it in my favorite file manager it starts FreeMind and I can save changes to ‘old’ documents. It is apparently a known bug so I will keep recommending FreeMind to any one who wants to listen.

    I used to build my documentation for logview4net in a commercial competitor called Mind Manager. I think I will start using FreeMind for both logveiw4net and jsiPodFetch in the future.