The Best Online Project Management & Collaboration Tools of 2013

workflowThe web has opened us up to collaborative work on a global scale.  On any given project, we may work with contractors around the globe.  But managing that collaboration requires a tool, or set of tools, that allows asynchronous communication and information sharing.  Picking the right Project Management software is an important decision, and the final choice of tool is going to be highly dependent on both your management style and business needs. Quite some time ago, I posted my list of the 5 best web based project management / collaboration tools.  That list has proven to be one of the more popular posts on this blog, but the landscape has changed a lot, even in the last year.  So, after taking another look at my own workflow, and checking to see if there are any new tools out there that more closely fit my needs, here’s an updated list of some of my favorite Project Management software for 2013.

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Taming the WEASL, Weapon for Evaluation & Analysis of Solr/Lucene

Apache SolrI do a lot of work with Apache Solr, which is a front end wrapper for Apache Lucene.  Lucene is a text analysis search engine.  Basically, you give Lucene a “document”, and it analyzes the text of that document, and stores an index of which words and phrases occur in which documents.  What Solr does, is provide an http based front-end and a “ready to go” installation for the entire system.  Lucene is an amazing piece of software, and Solr is just awesome, as far as I’m concerned.

With that being said, Solr’s admin interface leaves a lot to be desired.  Solr has the concept of “cores”, which are independent, unrelated indexes.  Reminiscent of Drupal’s multi-site installation, Solr’s multi-core, allows you to set up multiple search engines for multiple sites, all on a single installation of Solr.  Unfortunately, you can’t work across multiple cores in the admin interface.  For instance, in one installation that I work on, I have multiple cores, one for each site.  These sites are all similar, and they all use the same Solr schema.  There’s also the potential for the same content to be created across multiple sites, and to end up in multiple Solr cores.  Now, if I want to see if a document occurs in multiple cores, then I have to go each core’s admin interface separately, and run a query.  That’s sort of my base gripe with Solr, and I’ve been working on a tool to alleviate the problem, for a while now.  I call it The WEASL!

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