Author Topic: Feng Office as an activity-centric system?  (Read 1724 times)

daviding

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Feng Office as an activity-centric system?
« on: March 22, 2014, 11:17:02 AM »
I've been exploring Feng Office, and the history of OpenGoo (and possible associations with the fork at ActiveCollab 0.7.1). 

Feng Office surfaced to me as a script easily installed on a Softaculous site, where it's listed under the category of "Project Management".  With "Office" in the package label, I had preconceptions more like an OpenOffice or Microsoft Office suite.  However, the panels showing Workspace and Activity intrigued me, as it suggests that the design was coming from different thinking. 

The idea of "activity-centric computing" might have popularized around 2004 at Lotus, e.g. see "Activity-centric computing: An innovative approach to managing information overflow" archived at web.archive.org/web/20060503012942/http://www-306.ibm.com/software/swnews/swnews.nsf/n/nhan6nsn8n?OpenDocument&Site=lotus . 

Research on "activity-centric systems" have continued, e.g. see "Referreed Conference Papers" circa 2009-2010 by Tara Matthews at taramatthews.org/#pubs with the 2009 "What is an Activity? Appropriating an Activity-Centric System" at taramatthews.org/pubs/interact09-yarosh.pdf. 

I see the features of "project management" in Feng Office better described as an "activity-centric system" similar to features in IBM Connections Activities.  There is a 2008 video of how the feature (then Lotus Connections Activities) works on Youtube as "IBM Lotus Connections Activities" by Suzanne Livingston at youtube.com/watch?v=PEG8TQ3xaqM.  The current 2.5 product has a 2012 video at a a demo "Getting Started with Activities"at www-10.lotus.com/ldd/lcwiki.nsf/dx/demo-getting-started-with-activities .

My observation is that activity-centric computing was a way of thinking that was incorporated into the OpenGoo / Feng Office design.  It seems as though the Activity pane was not in the original 1.0 implementation.  If I look at a 2009 "activeCollab Training" video at youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=p6GFrlPJ7n0#t=101 , I see list of "Recent Activities" as the first view in the ActiveCollab open source version. 

The fork of ActiveCollab in 2007 got some notereity, e.g. Chris Messina wrote about "The relative value of open source to open services" at factoryjoe.com/blog/2007/04/15/the-relative-value-of-open-source-to-open-services/ , so it's good that the open source community was able to pick up (at least part of) a project that went private, and has been able to evolve that work. 

In any case, portraying Feng Office as "project management" or as an "office suite" may disappoint newcomers with preconceptions of what the software looks like and should do.  A description of "activity-centric computing" could be more accurate ... although people may initially not know what that means. 

[P.S.  Sorry the links aren't live.  My permissions don't enable live links]

 

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