Saturday, September 06, 2014

Class Viewer problem space

One of my posts covered my ideas about innovation and the problem space, which I see as the thing your application is handling. Wanted to have a post where I could quickly see what I thought the problem space was for my open source application Class Viewer, so copying from that post to put here:

Original Class Viewer problem space: how to get class information quickly, about public methods, fields, constructors and get to Javadocs.

And the reason to have that readily available is so I can evaluate where I think product direction should go, and maybe see if I want to expand that, which I think I have. So I'm going to update it.

Possible Class Viewer problem space: how to get class information quickly, about public methods, fields, constructors and get to Javadocs, open a Java file, and get basic system information like classpath and Java version. Works as a tireless assistant.

One of the things that's interesting to me is, did I really need to expand from the original problem space?

Turns out I felt that there was more information a developer readily needs, like classpath, where sometimes you do something and wonder, and Class Viewer gives a quick way to check. Same thing happens with the Java version, where I find I'd wonder while doing something, and now it's easy to check.

I'd prefer to not necessarily have all those things in there. And just went back to add the "tireless assistant" part which allows me to imagine a LOT more development paths.

So that's kind of important. Seeing Class Viewer in a more narrow way for the last decade worked out great and allowed me to do very few product iterations. But at times I've wondered if I wanted to do more. Then again, I could just create an entirely new product and leave the current one alone. However, so far it looks like things are in the same direction. But maybe it's too open ended now? How do I bound the space back to something more realistic? After all, it's unlikely that I'll do tons of new development though with that problem space I could go wild.

Class Viewer problem space: how to get well presented class information quickly, including getting to Javadocs, and other relevant information important for development that is available, like classpath, as well as open a Java file if possible, quickly. Using third party tools if available.

That might be more like what's been done and now I'm seeing a focus on quick access, presentation, and using other applications to do things. Back to a more narrow focus, so losing the "tireless assistant" thing.

Maybe I'll fiddle with all of these things later, but for now gives me something to think over.

James Harris
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