ALERT, one tool to bring them all together
Back when we started the project, we at ALERT designed a product that would be innovating, if not revolutionary, in many ways. Our goal could be synthetized as such: "allow a developer to focus on developing, by handling automatically tedious tasks such as bug triaging, bug assignement and information gathering".
This is accomplished in ALERT through three axes:
automate bug triaging as much as possible by doing a multi-criteria analysis on new bug reports.
ensure that all and only useful information for a given task/project is always available to the developer, by providing tailored notifications and aggregated information.
facilitate team management and bug assignment, through developer profiles and assignment suggestions.
However, the numerous competitors didn't lay idle during that time. They improved their software, notably the integration between bug-trackers, wikis, chat and other, working in the same direction as us. Some, for example, provide now a feature that somehow comes close to our aggregated view through an integrated chat system.
Let's face it: the most renowned editors in this market already provide fairly usable and feature-rich solutions, which is why so many people use it.
Then, why do we believe in ALERT's future success? Or rather, why should anyone, as a developer, project manager, community manager, should keep a keen eye on it?
1) Bleeding edge features
ALERT is still today, and will probably for some time, be the only one with ground-breaking features. Indeed, everyone provides collaboration features, bug-tracking tools, documentation editor, versioning system and other, through more or less integrated solutions. Still, they are only tools. Whatever good their interface may be, it's still up to the developer to look for information on a given bug, look if it doesn't exists, ponder if he's able to resolve it, etc. Tasks that are necessary to avoid a mess in the long-term, while being (very) time-consuming, tedious, and irrelevant to the actual resolution of the issue. ALERT is the only one tackling these prime hindrances, so that developer can do what they do best: actual development.
2) Free as in speech, extensible platform
ALERT does not keep the user captive. Although the competitors make efforts to provide integration with third-party software, their users still get the most features when using only their solutions. It also implies being dependent on their pricing policy, development roadmap and such. ALERT has a different approach entirely: you install the core, then necessary components, to connect it to whatever bug-tracker/wiki/forum/mailer you're using. This means flexibility, and extensibility. And, did we mention it already? It will published under open source license, with all associated advantages.
3) Industrial grade software
ALERT is developed and supported by industrial editors, research laboratories and universities. This ensures that we keep in balance innovation, usability and reliability, to release a product immediately usable and trustworthy (sure, it seems a natural requirement, but who never tried/bought a supposedly reliable software, which in fact breaks easily ?).
So, what's the next step in ALERT project?
The alpha version has just been released. It will now be tested against the use-cases we want to implement, by the three open source communities working on ALERT : Morfeo, KDE and OW2.
Each one will confront ALERT in daily life by using it on its project.
In the meantime, we'll improve documentation and user interface, and we'll hunt relentlessly any and all bugs nesting in the platform.
The next release will happen during second semester, so that anyone can get his hands on the precious and try it in his own projects.
For those wanting a peek on functional ALERT, feel free to watch our demonstrations videos. Stay tuned!