Taiga: a New Project Tracker for Pirate Activities?

Taiga: a New Project Tracker for Pirate Activities?

In the ecosystem of Pirate activities, there are currently two big players in terms of project management: Redmine and Trello. Both answer to a specific need: Redmine allows detailed tracking of issues and integrates with common version control systems (VCS), (such as Git); Trello allow a quick overall view of independent tasks and their different stages.

But a new cool kid has spawned from the Madrid-based team Kaleido who have created something they call Taiga.

Taiga’s plan is to bring together the best of both worlds: a detailed issue tracker, with points and stages (as featured in Github, Launchpad, Bugzilla and others popular bug trackers) and a so-called “post-it view” reminiscent of Trello that lets users see in seconds what is currently being done in a project and the state of all issues. Launched on  2 October, in what was meant to be a stealthy manner but ended in a surge of traffic. It could well replace both tools.

As with its predecessors, Taiga is free software (as in AGPL)., which means that anyone has the legal right to fork it, host a private instance or reuse the code for another project. It also hosts its source code on Github which offers a convenient platform, both for cloning the source code, reporting issues or even fixing them yourself and sending your inputs to the developers.

But can it really compete with the experience gathered by its competitors? We have tested Taiga ourselves, and here are our conclusions: it will probably be a great replacement for Redmine and Trello, but not yet.

Before going further, it is worth noting that it is still in beta, and that it will probably improve rapidly. It still lacks several features that make Redmine and Trello great. Firstly, compared to Redmine, the lack of VCS integration is really impairing the usability. One of the big advantages of Redmine is its almost seamless interactions with Git and its homologues, allowing issue tracking for code independently of distributed VCS platforms. Without this feature, despite distributing a migration tool,  there is still work to convert Redmine users in Taiga. Secondly, compared to Trello, the cards are still quite crude and lack a proper discussion system (with the convenient checklists). That makes synchronisation between team members harder than with Trello. Finally, the design still seems mostly software (and particularly web-app oriented), which may not suit the needs for all Pirate teams.

For now, it seems that Taiga is not yet ready for use by our needs, but we have reasons to hope that it will happen in the future. Firstly, the gorgeous visual design of Taiga, and the care that has been taken in providing several interfaces (including a vintage ncurses client) is really refreshing in a world of clunky and bloated interfaces. Secondly, if they are still not on par with our current tools, it will eventually provide both ways of tracking projects in the same tool, allowing a better communication between technical and non-technical teams and an easier learning curves for Pirates moving from one realm to the other. Finally, the dedication to innovation and agile philosophy shows everywhere in the design of Taiga, and we can simply not believe that it will let its current issues unresolved. After all, that’s what a project tracker is for, isn’t it?

What do you think of Taiga?

About Loïc Grobol

I am a pirate since late 2011, a member of the French Parti Pirate. Maths teacher and former linguist, I spend a large part of my spare time campaigning for a Federal EU.

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