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Dedicated Roadmap Application
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Description

To get it out of the way early. I'd like to suggest the name"Autobahn" for this proposed application, but I'm welcome to better suggestions, I couldn't think of anything more clever, I'm sure there could be a better name for this.

This isn't being created to put the task on the shoulders of the Phacility team, its being created because I want to get feedback from the wider community of Phabricator users and developers.

I have been a long time admirer of Interstate however I haven't had a need to use it for quite some time and now I have begun work on a project that if not outright must have, would definitely benefit from having a centralised 'roadmap' view to provide to customers as opposed to opening the doors and creating custom project pages, tags etc and having their permissions set to public and all the other manual things we could do to create something that does the job of a roadmap. You can see if you look at the interface Interstate provides, you can either signup for the free one and give it a spin or check out the tour and their own roadmap which is very stale and represents the very heart of the problem i have, I'm pretty sure they are in zombie company mode and I will not pay a zombie when I can pay for developers to help me build a replacement that everyone can benefit from.

So heres the TL;DR;

  • This tool looks pretty cool.
  • The company seems pretty dead, no roadmap updates in 2 years, the company that built it was sold last year, all up the future seems dim for this thing as a SaaS product.
  • I want to re-build/replicate Interstate with Phabricator
  • Phabricator doesn't have a dedicated roadmap tool, adding one might fill a need others have as well.
  • I think other people may want to get involved in this effort.

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qgil added a subscriber: qgil.Nov 10 2014, 8:20 AM
qgil added a comment.EditedNov 10 2014, 9:24 AM

Hi @techdragon, Wikimedia is also interested in having a roadmap view in Phabricator. However, the useful exercise here would be to define which features we are missing in Phabricator.

If the goal is something like http://interstateapp.com/roadmap , then a simple solution would be:

  • Create a Roadmap project.
  • Create tasks for each roadmap item, and add them to the Roadmap project.
  • Create these columns in the workboard: Proposed, Started, In Progress, Launched.
  • The only thing you would miss is the percentage of completion

Pretty close?

In our case, the problem is that we would like to have a high level overview considering two factors: time and teams. We can have a workboard for a roadmap by time (with a column for each quater + future candidates), and we can have a workboard for teams (with a column for each team), but we can't organize a workboard with both dimensions.

An enhanced search query could get us pretty much there, but we are missing a couple of small pieces:

  • Query all tasks of Roadmap project, grouped by project (each team being a project).
    • Since tasks can have more than one project, we would need to filter the team projects; we use a single color and icon for them.
  • Under each group (team) provide subgroups by workboard column (quarters).
    • This feature doesn't exist today, and I could not find any request for it.

PS: https://secure.phabricator.com/tag/phabricator_roadmap/ is maybe indicative :)

fabe added a subscriber: fabe.Nov 10 2014, 9:30 AM

@qgil I did examine the phabricator roadmap page before I began trying to work out how hard it would be, what I feel is that while T4863 goes a long way to making the work board a very close equivalent. All of these are more a case of 'good enough'.

What I was hoping to have as the outcome was a dedicated interface for dealing with 'roadmap' tasks. I definitely see this as a close parallel to a few of the other apps such as the Workboards and Project pages, but what they don't track is the relationship between 'Admin View of the Roadmap' and the 'Anonymous User View of the Roadmap'

As a comparison, here is the Interstate admin page for a brand new project with all the dummy 'getting started' content still in place.

Here is how the Project Owner's Admin Interface looks like:


And here is how it is presented to an anonymous end user with the default theme/style applied and roadmap items expanded:

Its quite a bit different from both the kinds of page you get if you use the project page like here https://secure.phabricator.com/tag/phabricator_roadmap/ or the wiki pages https://secure.phabricator.com/w/roadmap/ and from the workflow you have when working with those interfaces which is why I feel theres a place for the dedicated roadmap.

A roadmap application serves to focus in on 'just' the roadmap functionally, things like automatically marking as complete, that kind of works with a project page approach instead of a wiki, but then you have things like the automatic percentage bars and sub bars, the embeddable html widget to let people without a login to fabricator still see things that have been put in the roadmap with out the need to configure all the privacy options and/or have users create accounts. This is the sort of thing that I feel a dedicated application can better handle, despite the considerable overlap. Overall, it feels like even if its not going to be needed by most users, its a valuable part to give back to the project, and like the Phortune and Phrequent applications, just not a part that every phabricator install may enable.

qgil added a comment.Nov 10 2014, 11:44 AM

I feel that at least for Wikimedia this would be an overkill, or even a wrong direction. In our case, the roadmap is a declaration of intentions, but then each roadmap item is maintained/documented by their owners. There are no project admins that will be able to update the several pieces of the roadmap.

My only intention when pointing to https://secure.phabricator.com/tag/phabricator_roadmap/ is that it shows (I guess) an incipient attempt to use a project to reflect a Phabricator roadmap.

@qgil it sounds like what you want with each roadmap item being maintained and documented by the item owner, is an application of the existing permission system not necessarily somewhere the Roadmap idea I'm suggesting would be going the wrong way for Wikimedia.

I described things from a 'roadmap admin' point of view, but theres nothing that stops the permissions allowing anyone to add items to the roadmap, but not to edit other peoples items, and then it becomes up to each item owner to maintain the item in the roadmap.

And this is where I feel having this built into Phabricator is important. To do this properly, it should minimise the work done by item owners to keep the roadmap current. If there is no 'project manager' who sets the roadmap, and the items are all automatically sorted by their deadlines and progress as set by the item owners, then the roadmap is very much an 'automatic dashboard' for the things (mainly Maniphest tasks) that have been marked as 'on the roadmap' and it should be almost no touch.

Unless you want to 'change the roadmap' the roadmap view is secondary to the work actually getting the roadmap items done. Completing things in Maniphest is what moves the roadmap forward and I have no desire to increase the overhead in managing any of the work being done. So other than the overarching roadmap 'manual control', the rest of the moving pieces in this process should be quite 'seamless' once an item is on the roadmap. Which sounds a lot closer to what you want.

epriestley triaged this task as Wishlist priority.Nov 11 2014, 3:37 AM
epriestley added a subscriber: epriestley.

We plan to add a more status/progress-oriented view to projects at some point, M10 is old but has some ideas in this direction.

We also plan to add date/timeline services to multiple applications by building out Calendar.

We're not likely to pursue a dedicated application here before exploring those avenues. Generally, it's not clear to me that a dedicated application would provide a huge amount of value over essentially "progress bars for projects".

chad added a subscriber: chad.

I don't see us pursuing this in the future, at least it seems much better for us to pick apart the important features of such a product and bake them into Projects directly.