GridIron Software is a local Ottawa company who's coming out with a pretty cool product. It's called Flow and it's essentially an application to track your workflow. I had a chance a couple months ago to get a sneak peek at what they were working on and I'm pretty sure I had a smile on my face the entire time they were showing me what it can do. It's impressive how unobtrusive it is. There's no need to enter in data manually; it tracks everything for you.
A quick disclosure: I'm doing some work for GridIron but I still honestly think this is a great application.
One of my favourite features is the asset tracking across multiple programs. Without any intervention from the designer, Flow will detect copy/paste and import functions from application to application. That means it can tell that you've created a vector in Illustrator, imported it into Photoshop, and then exported it to JPG and added it to an HTML file.
Flow has a browser application that creates a flowchart demonstrating how all the files are connected.
Another nice feature is the ability to track how much time was spent working on a particular file or on a project as a whole. This actually fits quite nicely with how I used to determine how much time was spent on a project. I've often gone through my email and phone logs to see which project I was working on at any given time. Timesheets have always been a hassle and this would definitely help me get a more accurate view of where my time is being spent.
I like how it'll automatically version the files that you are working on and even tracks when you do Save As. You'll be able to configure how far back a file is versioned so as not to eat up your entire hard drive (although considering I barely use 20% of my drive now, I'm not overly concerned). It creates thumbnails of each version, letting you quickly eyeball changes from version to version. It'll even track files on network drives or on removable storage.
Unfortunately, the current web site and the few screen shots it offers doesn't do the application justice. They're taking names for the beta program (like any good Web 2.0 site). They're currently at MacWorld, so if you plan to be there, go check them out. In the meantime, check out the features.
Wow, what an interesting concept. I'd love to give this thing a try -- though I guess I'll have to wait for the beta (if I'm lucky).
What sort of work have you been doing for GridIron?
Hamish: right now, I've been transitioning their site over to a new server, mostly in anticipation to handle the load of this announcement but also to build a framework for some stuff coming up. Hopefully, I'll get more of a chance to talk about it as things progress. As you can imagine, they're pretty busy right now. :)
This sounds like an extremely useful product, especially for the freelancer (or any designer, for that matter.) Keeping track of time is a pain, and timesheets aren't much fun. The I hope that things turn out well for them.
my biggest need ever since i started doing multimedia projects was tracking assets. where the hell is the latest and greatest version of that project/file? or where did this asset come from? i have signed up for the beta. thanks jon!
RaceDV used to work next door to Grid Iron, and I had the privilege of sharing some really fun conversations with them.
I saw a demo of an early version of "Flow", and it blew me away. It was very tightly integrated with the OS, making asset management a passive side effect of your work, and not something you have to actively think about. Very Slick!
I can't wait to see this full version in action.
I have also used their product Nucleo Pro, which is great for After Effects users with dual core or multi-processor machines.
That sounds awesome, what all software does it track? Or can you even release that information. It would be incredible to be able to implement it from design, developer to programmer. What applications does it work for? I couldn't find that information on the site listed.
I'm not sure of the complete list but out of the box it'll support most, if not all, of the Adobe products, which for most web designers/developers should cover most bases. Beyond that, I haven't heard anything specific and know only what's posted on the site.
The fact that it'll include an API will hopefully mean that if direct app support isn't there from the get-go, it'll get added as a plug-in.
I was just thinking, it'd be funny to see a Twitter timeline alongside all the other "work."
Oh man, I *definitely* don't want to see that. :) If they pie charted it, it might be too large a piece! (mmm, pie)
looks pretty cool, looks like Yahoo Pipes. Too bad it is commercial
This is definitely a good looking app, now let's just hope to get into the beta and see how useful it turns out to be. Wondering about the price tag...