Sharing UI Toys in an Enterprise

Baby-sharing-toysI'm pushing a grassroots effort in Deutsche Bank to promote GWT widget sharing.    There are many teams that develop web applications using Google Widget Toolkit.  At the same time, there are UX teams designing great widgets to solve problems and producing common style guides and other efforts to get look and feel common across the bank. This is great, but it shouts for code sharing of Ui artifacts so we aren't duplicating effort all over.

There's been attempts to have internal groups provide widgets to the company, but this approach is wrought with problems.  The same thing was done at IBM and I saw the same issues with the approach.  Team depend on an external group responsible for a toolkit.  The toolkit faces headaches for teams, such as lagging behind the latest technology, being in conflict with, or not going far enough to meeting team needs, development standards not enforced, the internal budget issues, and differing goals from dev teams that use it, just to name a few.

I think the solution is something more grassroots from the project teams.   How about a marketplace of assets and ideas.  Each team can browse it and pick what would benefit them.  Here in RTP we have several teams that develop GWT and have begun doing just this: meeting and talking about the UX design problems we are tackling with GWT.  We are showing off the widgets we created, and we are now putting together a platform to share GWT widgets within the company.   We want to make the platform the right way, using many of the same reusable artifacts we are sharing.

These widgets would be as-is at first, but an open source model may be a future expansion.  I'm also pushing for the platform itself to be open source.  Since this is a grassroots thing (started by us, the developers on our off hours and spare time), it would be cool to give back and see it benefit others.

We are still in early stages, but I will keep you posted.