Day 1: Open source frenzy

Day 1 of the last 30 days before the Preview mode launch of our product

Maybe some background before. Our product is called PaperBoy bime. The aim of paperboybime is to be the decision maker home page. The philosophy is to provide all the tools someone involved in a decision making process should need for making the best decision. The right information at the right time. It lays down on a hype concept called Coportate Performance Management. Here is the definition of Gartner :

"Combination of management methodologies , metrics and IT (application, tools and infrastructure) that enables users to define, monitor and optimize results and outcomes to personal or departement objectives while enabling alignment with strategic objectives across multiple organizational levels (personal, process, group, departemental, corporate or business ecosystem”

Wow. From that, Paperboy bime is organized in three parts, each corresponding to a step in the life cycle of the performance management.

* Planing. what will be my goal for the next time periods ?

* Monitoring. How well i am doing regarding to my forecasts ?

* Analysing. What happened ?

Yesterday, we worked on the analysing part, the 'analyser' as we call it.

Analyser, is made of three parts (again) :

* the library where all models and queries are stored and retrieved.

* the model builder where you can define how you want to analyse your business.

* the pivot table where you navigate through your data.

We tackled some long postponed work on the pivot table.

We use Adobe flex for all the user interface. Flex 3 was launched 2 Weeks ago. One of the major change in this release is the fact that all the framework is now open source. Enter your serial and all the pieces of code that were obfuscated before (all the data visualization part ) are now in clear. It is in my opinion a very smart move from Adobe because now it is a blast for developper to use Flex. 'Be kind with the developper that use your technologies' is something Microsoft know for a long time, but open sourcing a framework such as Flex (300 000 lines of code) is a new leap in the way software framework are delivered.

From a developper point of view, it means :

* no guess. Even if it breaks encapsulation and other OOP rules, it is often desirable to understand and debug code that you didn't write. It is the best documentation ever.

* learning curve. The best way to learn is to read code. You have 300 000 of very well written lines of code to start with.

* extensibility. You wonder how they did something in the framework. Look at it!

From a practical point of view, we use in the pivot table a new component called OlapDataGrid that takes a result from an Olap query and display it in a grid. We had to write something that do something similar but for displaying in a chart. We didn't have the source of the component to look how they did, so we built our own. Yesterday, I finally looked at the source. I learnt at least 3 things to improve our custom component. Love that.

So back to our pivot table, it still misses 4 important features but it will go like that for the first version :

* fitering columns and rows.

* Excel export

* print support

* Drill down