Project Management Site


When I started my IT job in 2000, it was clear that the company needed a web-based project management tool. Without money to spend and only fledgling open-source systems available at the time, I decided to write my own. I abandoned first attempts with JSP/Tomcat 3, because the amount of coding necessary for a single programmer seemed excessive, and the need for frequent compiles and server restarts appeared too time-consuming. At the time, Zope/Python seemed to provide the most accessible and mature web programming environment, and I have grown to like the speed of development, the stability of the server and the vast range of useful open-source plugins.

In my first approach, I emulated what I saw in other project management tools: many tables (I use PostgreSQL as the backend), and one or more forms per table. It was easy to develop and implement, but as our needs changed over the years, it turned out to be quite cumbersome and inflexible.

To gain more flexibility, I then started a second approach with just a few tables and a few multi-purpose forms. This system is currently in use, but way too slow, because some of the queries I need to use make it impossible to use PostgreSQLs indices.

I am currently working on a third approach that I am not ready to discuss in detail yet. Basically, I am going to use XML flat-file data storage, using Apache/Perl/XSLT to provide a user interface. For the data volume I need to manage, I found that grep and other Linux tools are just as fast as or faster than a relational database. Plus, XML allows for much more flexibility with hierarchically structured data (and pretty much all my data is hierarchical). I'm only a few programming weeks away from the finished product, but somehow I don't seem to find the time.