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Dashboards: for Projects, for Teams and for Personal Use

Many aspects of the codeBeamer user interface, including dashboards, have been improved in codeBeamer 5.5. Please see Baselining: Document- and Wiki Baselines for more details.

Why Dashboards?

Have a look and you will realize that there is an enormous amount of information in your ALM system, but extracting and presenting it efficiently is a rather hard problem.

You probably want to show different summaries in different situations, using different scopes and for different audiences. codeBeamer provides a lot of parametric wiki plugins and each presents one particular piece of information. The plugins let you place, configure and lay out information according to your needs. Just edit your project homepage, your personal homepage or your tracker homepage or create a brand new wiki page and fill it with plugins.

Here are some guidelines that might help you when you start implementing dashboards.

Dashboards for Different Scopes

It's possible to set up pages for one project, for a set of related projects, for one team or for one person:
  1. In project home pages: display the project summary, recent activities, basic statistics, team members. Provide useful quick links to the most important project resources.
  2. To implement a common dashboard for a set of related projects, you can create an "umbrella project" and use its homepage, or just use a regular wiki page in one of the projects. Show merged activity streams, aggregated statistics and shortcuts to jump quickly into the sub-projects.
  3. In tracker home pages: show the recently submitted bugs, recent comments, number of open-versus-resolved issues or number of issues by various fields (status, assigned-to, etc.).
  4. For personal use: aggregate your issues from your projects, related to the currently running milestones. Display your starred issues. Add quicklinks that make your navigation faster.

Dashboards for Different Audiences

Set up dashboards for different audiences, as they are very likely to be interested in different aspects of the projects:
  1. For executives: provide a birds eye view that shows the current status as fast as possible. Leave out low-level technical details, for instance source code related information.
  2. For management: they want to measure and manage running tasks and their progress, and want to see the stream of events that happen around the projects and the teams.
  3. For developers: focus on technical details. In particular issues, documents, wiki content may have high importance. List the recent issues, content and source code activities.

Building Blocks for Dashboards: Wiki Plugins

The dashboard content is primarily generated by wiki plugins. Please read the wiki markup and plugin page in the codeBeamer Users' Guide to familiarize yourself with the plugins, their capabilities and their parametrization. The same information is also available in the codeBeamer application itself, by clicking the "help" link in the left panel of the wiki editor window.

Please note that:

  1. As wiki plugin parameter values are normally invisible for page viewers, the best way to explain the plugin results for viewers is to give the plugins short and descriptive titles by using the title parameter. For example, "Activities" is not good, but "Activities in all Java development" is good. "Download counts" is not good, but "Downloads of all DB products" is good.
  2. Many plugins support multiple parameters to specify their input: project IDs, tracker IDs, tags, and such.
  3. Many plugins fall back to a sensible default if there is no input specified. For example, ActivityStream will display the activities of the enclosing project when inserted into a project page and not receiving any project IDs.
  4. Many of the input parameters support multiple items in comma-separated format. For example, you can specify multiple project IDs like ... projectId='12,27,75' ....
  5. All chart plugins are capable of displaying the statistics in the form of graphical charts, in the form of data tables or both together.
  6. The period parameter of temporal plugins supports both running window ("last N days") and roll-over ("this month") types of specification.
  7. You can generally fine tune visual styling by using the cssStyle and cssClass parameters.

Here are some recommendations about which plugins should primarily be used in which context. These are just suggestions and there are really no restrictions, so be creative and feel free to experiment.

Plugins recommended for personal pages:

  1. Activity Stream
  2. My Current Issues
  3. My Issue Summary
  4. My Subscriptions
  5. My Approvals

Plugins recommended for project pages:

  1. Project Info
  2. Activity Stream
  3. Members
  4. Source Code Summary
  5. Commit Statistics
  6. Commit Trends
  7. LOC Trends
  8. Project Activity Trends
  9. Artifact Activity Trends
  10. Artifact Count Trends
  11. Tag Cloud
  12. Most Active Projects

Plugins recommended for tracker pages:

  1. Tracker List
  2. Activity Stream
  3. Issue Count Trends
  4. Issue Count By Field
  5. Best Issues
  6. Report

Dashboard Layouts

While you have complete freedom in organizing the "information boxes" in your wiki dashboards, in our experience, grid layout is one of the most effective approaches. It's very easy to understand and it's clean for the eye.

In simple cases, even a plain vanilla wiki table is fine for the job:

| (your first plugin here) | (your second plugin here)
| (your third plugin here) | (your fourth plugin here)

For anything that requires a cleaner look we suggest using the Table plugin, utilizing its CSS styling, row- and column spanning capabilities. Here is a useful sample for a convenient personal page:

[{Table style='border:none; border-spacing:0px;' dataStyle='vertical-align:top; padding:0 20px 0 0; border:none;'

|(width:25%;) [{ActivityStream title='Recently in My Projects' projectId='10,12,37'}]|(width:50%;) [{MyCurrentIssues title='My Starred Issues' tag='#Starred'}] \\ [{MyCurrentIssues title='My Issues in Version 5.5.1' releaseId='34988'}] \\ [{MyIssueSummary}] |(width:25%;) [{MySubscriptions}] \\ [{MyApprovals}]

}]

Example

Live Examples

Have a look at these pages for inspiration:
  1. codeBeamer Support Tracker Dashboard
  2. MercurialEclipse Project Homepage