GIANT ROBOTS SMASHING INTO OTHER GIANT ROBOTS

Written by thoughtbot

Here's an Idea

Today we’ve launched several major changes to the Discussions feature of Trajectory. These changes lay the groundwork for many more improvements we’d like to make to Trajectory in the future to make your projects more successful.

Discussions are one of the things that make Trajectory different than other story planning tools out there. Create a discussion instead of a vague story somewhere in an icebox or far down in the backlog. Discuss it with the team, do some wire frames and mock-ups. When the feature is understood, then create stories from the discussion about the work that will actually be done.

Ideas

First, we’ve renamed Discussions to Ideas. We wanted a more meaningful name that communicated the intention of this section of Trajectory better. Ideas are the communications that will spawn future development, which will then be represented in stories.

Next, we’ve greatly improved the interaction between Stories and Ideas, making it much easier to use the two together.

One of the first things we did to accomplish this was to rewrite the Ideas functionality in Backbone.js, like stories is. This makes switching back and forth between Stories and Ideas near instantaneous.

We’ve also added several tools that further integrate Ideas and Stories.

  • It is now possible to see the idea that a story came from on the story listing. Click the idea to go right to it.
  • You can mouse over an idea to highlight all the other stories that also came from that idea.

  • We’ve changed the check box into a gear on the story listing page. Select all stories related to an idea in this menu. Once all stories relating to an idea are selected they can be moved as a group with drag and drop or by clicking the gear of any other story and selecting “Insert selected stories above”.

  • It’s also possible to select all stories from the page of an individual idea. Click “Select these stories in the backlog”.

  • Whether you’re on Ideas or Stories is preserved when switching between projects or closing the browser.

Finally, we’ve included more information on the Ideas listing to give you a better idea of their progress. We now show the number of accepted stories on an idea in addition to the number of stories on the idea.

We also introduced two new sections to the Ideas listing: Finished and Old. An idea will move to the Finished listing if all of its stories have been accepted and haven’t changed in a month, and the idea itself hasn’t been commented on for a month. An idea will move to the Old section if it never has any stories created for it and isn’t commented on for a month.

Unrelated to Ideas, but facilitated by these changes, we’ve also moved the functionality to move a story above another, and to create a new story above an existing story into the new gear menu. Many users had trouble finding these two features, and we’re hoping this will make it easier.

URLs

With these changes we’ve also improved the URLs in Trajectory in a few ways. Trajectory Ideas and Stories no longer use hashes in their URLs. The URLs are real URLs, addressable by the server and the browser. This has allowed us to introduce several performance improvements, and we’ll be able to do more with this in the future.

Finally, we’ve shortened a bunch of the URLs in Trajectory. It used to be that a URL for a story might be https://www.apptrajectory.com/accounts/thoughtbot/projects/trajectory/stories#106420. That URL is now https://www.apptrajectory.com/thoughtbot/trajectory/stories/106420.

We believe that using the URLs of stories to refer to stories is much more valuable than merely referencing a non-informational ticket number (ie. 106420). For example, by using the URL in commit messages you can now simply click the link on GitHub in order to go from the commit message to the related story. This is really powerful, and we wanted to make the URLs even shorter to make them more conducive to including them in external systems.

We’re working hard to make Trajectory a system that improves the software you’re building. We think providing structure and communication from concept to creation with these new Ideas is a step in the right direction, and we’re looking forward to doing more.

If you’re already using Trajectory, it’s live now. Go ahead and give it a try. If you’re not using Trajectory yet, sign up for a free trial and give it a try.