Trac down your bugs
I have just discovered a great tool called Trac that I’ve decided to use to manage my projects. I usually manage my projects using Org Mode in Emacs, but since Haploid has been hosted on Savannah, I’ve been interested in having a web-based, form-oriented system. I had ViewVC installed, but all you can do with that is browse source code: it’s a damn-good system for that, but it’s not a project management system.
I read a little bit about Trac and discovered
that it’s used all over the place, including by NASA. That’s a pretty ringing endorsement considering that they have the resources to just hire somebody to build something in-house. Instead they use a Free Software package designed by somebody else. And they’re not just managing software with it: they’re managing missions.
This gave me an idea: can we use Trac to collaborating on scientific manuscripts? Why the hell not? People see a false distinction between documents and program source code; however, there’s no reason for that. What you do with the text to get your work done is insignificant compared to how you manage it. A “bug” or an “issue” with a manuscript would be something that needs editing. Using Trac you can assign it to one of your co-authors. It’s integrated with VCS (it specializes on my favorite, Subversion, but plugins are available for most other VCS systems that I’ve heard of, and some that I haven’t heard of), and shows you diffs, etc. Trac has a wiki built in, and on and on. It’s built for collaboration.
So my goal with Trac is going to be to adapt my manuscript editing and creating, and future collaborations, to use Trac. I’ll let you know what I find.