Workflow management and repeatability

This is one I’ve been thinking about for a while…

Every time I do a project, I invent so random arrangement of folders to manage it.
There is no system to it and all the projects are somewhat unique.

I need to be pushed into a format for arranging a project based on a template.

I’m betting I’m not alone in this at all!

What is there was a folder called “workspaces”.
And we have a tool that creates folders within workspaces to a template that the user selects, creates or modifies.

What does that look like for say a publishing project?

Perhaps a set of folders for client inputs, a graphic folder, research notes, quotes, PDFs…
And some sort of versioning.

That’s a pretty doable application. It only does 4 things but repeats them in different ways. At its simplest form it could be a set of folders that make a template.

Say a form that creates a template. Then a means to implement the template with a set of checkboxes “do you need this this time”

But you guys have built these incredible tools that do pretty much everything that makes a project. What is missing, and I mean across all platforms and ecosystems and not specifically KDE, is the linking mechanism that bring it all into unification.

Just as a note about the last 20 years of tech… the products that have shined didn’t use new technology rather they brought many separate technologies together. The phone with the camera with the GPS with the LIDA with the WiFi…

I think that is where this would belong.

To see a project from a user perspective at the workstation.

Linking from these Project Workspaces to the contact list, linking them with the calendar and basic project management.

As sort of containment.

It’s this project
Here are the details
Here are the emails
Here are the files
Here’s some stats on the time spent

When you build something like that you can build in best practice and expert knowledge.

Professionally just everyone doing anything has a QA process, official or otherwise.

I’m sitting on a building site, even the plumber could use such a system.

He has a client
Need to hold a PDF with plans
Track emails
Keep track of time

I think it is a killer app when you have so much of the ecosystem already in place and can actively change an API to both sides of this application interface.

If you are working on a project, you want all the bites of that project to hand.
Where did I put that file
I’ll need to search the emails to find that
Do you know his phone number

You could call it Kocus… focus with a K.

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i think you are describing activities

these are basically different login/user desktops are independent, but fully switchable from within your current login.

it’s more powerful than workspaces which are just extra virtual screens to make your desktop bigger… activities allows you have a fully set up workflow environment with all your apps and documents open just the way you like them, and then you can switch between them as easy as you switch workspaces with a flick of the mouse.

you can make one corner of the screen your activity picker to flip from one workflow to another as fast as they can be saved written and read from disk storage.

i tried it, but it still seems a little doughy … tbf, at the time i was having a lot of undiagnosed suspend/resume issues with my bios and video driver, so that might account for the flakeyness of it.

might have to revisit now i’ve stabilized things.

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A session is more like a walled garden.

I’m thinking about something I need and have never seen.

Maybe you could use sessions as project units. Could be a means to manage security and to recover from an error.

But I’m not thinking this is like sessions. This would be an application that sucks in only the required stuff for a specific project.

This is more about time, best practice and focus.

Best practice is to back up a project and keep backing up any significant changes to those files with a versioning system.

This would be a way to look at the whole of something and opposed to this and that in applications.

i mistakenly referred to them as sessions, but they are actually called activities (i’ve edited my post).

so as long as we are both talking about the same thing, the activity pager widget lets you quickly change your entire desktop and running applications, each tailored to that specific task.

it still sounds to me a lot like what you are asking for… except for this versioning you mention and you are correct there is no meta overarching activity that coordinates them

unless, of course, you set up an activity that was specifically designed to keep tabs on the progress of all the other deliverables from the other activities.

I’d need to have a good look at activities to be sure.

Conceptually they are both a type of container.

I’m imagining something that is like an XML file about a project, built from a template that is user created.

Every project has certain base requirements.
ID, Description, File storage, Contacts

Why would I want to search my whole contact list when I’m inside a project?

A project has “communications”, they include emails but go beyond that.

“Let’s add ‘tasks’ to a calendar.”

Does anyone actually use that? When I’ve listed things in that way I’ve got a cold sore from the stress of it!

Not that the code or concept isn’t good. It’s just off in the email program somewhere behind the calendar when you are setting up a project.

You are setting up a project, what’s your process?

Create a folder to put some stuff in during the “is this a goer time”.

An ad-hoc addition to an email program.

Oh look we are taking deadlines now, better rack up a calendar or something.

Next thing here is a spawning of the folders, never named in exactly the same way just ad-hoc for each job.

No concept of metadata to be seen. If there was ever a project description written it was in an email somewhere.

I don’t want to use a term like “project management” as that is specific and different.

I want my metadata living in one place. The logical being email in the email system, contacts in the address book, things where they should be and not duplicated. But when I use them in the context of a project, I need to be focused on the items that matter and not open an email program and get distracted by junk mail. And I only need to see the contact that relate to the project not friends of my dead mother. :slight_smile:

I think the way to go is to take real estate. See some bigger end points and keep open awareness of that, like deep integration to an email program, project manager etc, and focus on the folder creation, versioning and metadata. Not do very much but to it really well and make it as universally applicable as possible.

There would be a useful minimum. Since I’ve never seen anything that encapsulates this space the minimum would be pretty low. I’ll suggest this…

A dedicated folder space called "workspaces’
A container for project information
The ability to add to the contact list but view only the associated contacts of a project
The ability to create a folder structure to a user predefined template for a project
The ability to view the folders and items of a project in isolation to other things and in a sensible manner.
A fundamental (basic) system for versioning.

Just take “a fundamental system for versioning”… I have alpha, beta and fin versions; and from others final versions and final version with corrections. And within that stuff.

Really there is only the current version with some metadata to describe it. Best that such metadata is added by the system. We could do something a bit cleaver and save the whole of a project on first version/backup then only save what has changed on subsequent versions.

I think the act of control and organization of the file workspace for a project along the lines of best practice is the bit that gives ownership to the space. What goes beyond that and into the contact system and email etc is a logical embrace of “project” as a space in its own right.

Further exploration…

There is this thing called “Metadata” that is attached to many files. You might have heard of it and avoided filling it in. :slight_smile:

What if as we looked at this we consider the value of being able to fill in these fields in files from our project template.

this sound painfully like teamcenter which no one likes because it doesn’t allow for individuality or any kind of out of the box thinking, it’s very constrained.

it a good way to process documents tho, once you have established procedures you want everyone to follow.

Teamcentre I don’t know. I can imagine it.

This is about structure and self.

Cupboards with doors on them stay neater than pigeonholes.

And draws a good too.

I don’t see being compelled to a structure being the point.

Here’s a typical layout for a /video/programming/publishing/general project.

Adapt that to make your model.

Apply and make changes over time.

The important thing being you have started with a model that was designed by hopefully some sort of discussion, changed it to suit your purpose and then can apply it over and over. Likely just tweaking it a bit as you go.

RAW files > Processed TIF > Photo edited > Email/social media scale jpg > Proof-sheets > Publish ready

I’m thinking of something like “nodes” in Resolve.

A node with some instructions that creates an output screen that shows/does something.

A node might specify a specific program to preference when opening a type of file. So your jpg don’t cause GIMP to start but a simple viewer.

Actually there is a tool in Drupal like this.

This is not a just a clever saying. It’s true. With Maestro, the method to automate your process starts with our visual workflow editor with which you drag, drop and connect your workflow steps together. The maestro workflow editor can be used by business users to map out their business process.

The Maestro module is a business process workflow solution that allows you to create and automate a sequence of tasks representing any business, document approval or collaboration process.

Workflows typically include the movement of documents or forms for editing and review/approval. A number of condition checks (if tasks) can be incorporated through simple admin functions and without any coding.

That’s kinda like a bit of it.

Getting me to move from Thunderbird as an email client is an ask. Just being able to manage contacts on a work/project system would do it. Especially if I was told there was more to come.

I did have a look at “activities”. My second thought, ‘how do I get out of here’.

I’d consider every KDE application as potential inclusions. There would be nothing in this code that wouldn’t either already exist or been done before.

What are these existing KDE programs like to use outside their home interface?

I spotted this today…

That’s something like what I’m thinking but for mindmap rather than project files.

Obsidian is a seriously good mindmapper.

It has over 1023 open source addon built by that community.

It’s not what I’m talking about, which is a wrapper around a project but it could be used to built a concept model.

If anything comes of this discussion it would be good to consider what Obsidian are using as a plugin model and consider if being compatible with those plugin might be an advantage. Some of them look quite advanced.

Shell commands plugin for Obsidian

This plugin lets you define shell/terminal commands in settings and run them quickly via Obsidian’s command palette, or via hotkeys. Use note related variables as part of the commands, and insert output back to your notes, if you wish. This is a Swiss army knife when it comes to accessing external applications from Obsidian, and you are the one who defines its tools.

You can customise your commands with built-in variables that can provide the current file title/name/path, current file’s parent folder name/path, and date/time stamp with a custom format.

It’s so close to the sort of tool I’m talking about, it just comes from a place of complexity, that consumes time and isn’t the goal. That said Obsidian looks great and would be useful to many of us.

Moving from Obsidian

Here’s a bit of a review on Obsidian…

  • it cannot see ODT documents or files beyond its capabilities, jpg and not raw files say
  • any integration is hard effort is about the obvious from the name. It would be get to be able to apply that concept to a project.

You could essentially ask your project how completed it was.

Pretty decent idea of the difference…

ie new users can’t…