Step 1 To A Mobilized Developer: Interactive Code Review Spaces w/MS Kinect

I’m no longer a member of a small team of developers who gets dragged into meetings (often) to talk about projects and code. But when I was, there was something very honest about me when I went: I wanted an interactive code/task-sharing space we could all see and contribute to real-time, and I didn’t want to be in that meeting with a laptop as I preferred my Nokia N800 to scribble notes and view projects. So glad to see this from a team at Microsoft (Code Space, via Engadget)

Now, I was also one of those guys who didn’t like to have some aspects of our coding to be isolated. For example, I remain a fan of standarized templates and shared code snippets. And when it came to feedback, a simple set of feedback rules per depending on where you were in the project also helped. I known that some more free-flowing teams worked differently, and that is cool. But, I also knew how much easier it was to track issues, fix items, and (frankly) deal with team turnover when you had these.

And so the memories in me look back at this impressive demonstration of MS Kincet in a specific context and start to smile. It’s a good start, even though it asks a question that I know that I can remember talking about on Symbian Ideas, reading/watching Jan Chipchase and his team (when he was) at Nokia, and is probably the realm of HCI folks all over: what are standarized gestures, and how fact should these be preprogrammed into products like this?

As I watched that video, I realized that for a development team to take advantage of this, they would have to learn interactive/collaboration behaviors that aren’t normal to using Kinect, and might be abnormal to how they use their mobile device (am saying this as I hope that if these were an enterprise product that MS would have a mobile app for every smartphone to be able to engage in these gesture-driven moments). You also have the hurdle of making your teams organized enough that such sessions wouldn’t turn into fits of misplaced behaviors by meeting participants. If you will, the team lead or project lead that drives these meetings not only has to be compitent with code to build the application, but has to also understand nuances of communication, organization, and psychology that have not been normal for such a position.

In the end though, you end up with this collective dance (to quote Excapite) where in order for teams to efficiently and collectively create and maintain a product, that they will also have to become more aware of how they relate to spatial environments. It’s neat, but also begs another question about computing’s upcoming battle with our temporal/spatial selves. That’s another talk for another day, but one to keep an eye on as projects like this get out of minds and into practiced use.