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Augmenting Spike with 3rd party extensions and usage with collaboration platforms

Extending spike functionality with Chrome browser extensions

One of Spike’s strengths is the fact that the front end is web-browser based, and the application is Azure cloud based. This means that you can take advantage of the vast ecosystem  of collaboration Software and browser plugins to augment and extend its functionality. This is particularly powerful in the case of Google Chrome as it has numerous drawing plugins available.

Here are just some of the Browser extensions we regularly use in the Office:

Screencastify:

We like this plug in so much that we have now integrated it into the Spike Prototype product ; Now videos may be recorded inside Spike, so they are part of the project just like all the other assets.

Record videos natively within spike with Screencastify

Web Paint:

Use Chrome Extensions such as Web Paint to markup drawings digitally

The Chrome Extension called ‘Web paint’ is very useful for marking up P&ID routes. In addition, the routes may be marked up in realtime , recording the video as you go. This means that the Engineer can have a record of all identified routes within the Spike Project solution explorer. This is especially useful for rapid process engineering route definition on the imported  PDF, .JPG , and . PNG files.


The use of Spike Prototype with  3rd party collaboration tools;

Spike is marketed as being a collaboration friendly tool : It is web based, and allows for realtime drawing markups, functionality recording and playing back.  So where does it fit in with modern web based collaboration methods? We picked a few of the SaaS collaboration tools and gave them a brief review, see below.

Spike integration is by means of sending out a hyperlink to the Spike web URL. Documents, and videos may also be exported manually and imported for review. The collaboration software provides the platform for the commenting, and review checklists. The Engineer may then subscribe to any updates (such as review complete) on the collaboration platform.

At this point ,HAL Software have no intention of doubling up on the functionality explored  in the applications below as it is already very well catered for. (But never say never..). But whatever platform you choose, Spike is only a hyperlink away…

Sharepoint

Market leader, no introduction needed. Ive never set up a  Sharepoint website, but I doubt I could do it in 5 minutes which is all it took with the other applications here.

Evernote

Handy for realtime collaboration of simple notes and screengrabs during a meeting :

Evernote Collaboration platform

It reminds me of Microsoft OneNote, though Im probably doing it a disservice.

Slack

Slack Collaboration platform

Slack is basically a private twitter/facebook for your project.Its good for realtime tweet style updates if that’s what your collaboration demands. There are a lot of 3rd party applications that integrate with it, in particular google calendar and github. Setting up a google calendar tie-in was painless. It can also be integrated with TRELLO quite easily though its not that clear why you would want to , as there is a large overlap in functionality.

Trello

Trello Collaboration platform

Where would we be without checklists and due by dates? Trello makes it very easy to create Kanban cards (parcels of work) with due-by dates and checklists to monitor progress. External clients can be given rights so that they can see the exact status of all the work items. Its is also easy to integrate to cloud storage such as google drive.Trello gets our vote as the most useful of these collaboration utilities for small projects.

Wrike

Wrike team workflow and project management platform

Wrike is suitable for more complex projects with review / approval loops but still has the Kanban style boards.It has great built in dashboards and reports and even change request forms. If you need to formalise change requests coming from clients, then this is the one to use, but it is expensive, and it doesn’t have any real time collaboration ‘tweeting’ capability.But that may well be preferable if you are coming from a more formal project execution environment.  This is our favourite for more traditional project execution.

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