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ReadySET: User FAQ

General Information

What is ReadySET?
It is a set of ready-to-use software engineering templates. Please, see the ReadySET homepage.
Where does the name "ReadySET" come from?
"ReadySET" is short for "Ready-to-use Software Engineering Templates". It also sounds like the phrase "ready, set, go!" which is said at the beginning of a race to give everyone a fair start.
Where did the ideas for ReadySET templates come from?
The general idea came from a need for me to provide a lot of guidance to university students learning software engineering without spending time lecturing to them. This fits well with the tigris.org mission of promoting open source software engineering, and previous efforts, like ArgoUML to ease adoption of software engineering tools and practices in industry. The content of specific templates came from our understanding of software engineering literature, our experience on software development projects, and our understanding of cognitive challenges of engineering decision-making.
What is the competition for ReadySET?
The main alternative to ReadySET is to do it yourself and reinvent the wheel or try to generalize from whatever documents you produced on your last project. That pattern leads to many individuals in our industry trying to develop their own methodology as they move from project to project and company to company. ReadySET is an attempt to gather that same knowledge from many people and share it more effectively. There are also products such as EssentialSET and RUP.

Download and Install

How can I obtain ReadySET?
Download it. Please, see the ReadySET homepage.
What licence covers ReadySET?
The ReadySET license is a BSD-style license.
What do I need to use ReadySET?
A web browser and a text editor or HTML editor. Please see our list of recommended tools.
It is also strongly recommended that you use a web server, a version control system, and web-based issue tracking system. You can work through setting up these tools yourself, or use a Collaborative Development Environment such as CollabNet's SourceCast.
How do I install ReadySET?
Simply unarchive it. Make a copy of the template files to use as your project documents.
How do I upgrade from an older version of ReadySET?
For any users not using CVS for their own project: simply copy-and-paste any desired text from the new templates into your project documents.
For users that use CVS for their own project: you can use CVS's vendor branch feature to help you merge the latest changes from the ReadySET project into your project. Follow these upgrade steps.

Main Concepts

What is a "ReadySET template"?
It is an HTML file that with sample text that you should use to create project documents.
What is a "project document"?
It is an HTML file, copied from a ReadySET template, that contains specific information about your project.
What is a "prompt"?
In most other document template sets, the templates are basically outlines with headings and subheadings. In ReadySET subheadings are written in the form of a question or prompt. That helps make the documents more self-explanatory and easier for other stakeholders to quickly read or write an answer to.
What are the colored bars in the right-hand margin?
Those bars indicate sections of sample text. They are explicitly marked so that you can see at a glance which parts have been filled in and which parts are still the original sample text. Once you edit the text, you should remove the HTML attribute class="sample1" to remove the bar.
Why are there multiple answers (and colored bars) to each prompt?
Rather than give a long explanation of the meaning of each prompt, ReadySET includes a few sample answers to most prompts. That works best when one of the sample answers includes ideas that relate to your specific project. In many cases, much of the process of filling in a template is reduced to "chipping away" at the sample text by removing text that does not apply to your project.
What is "chipping away"?
The term "chipping away" comes from an old joke: when a sculptor is asked how he carved a marble statue of a horse, he replies "It was easy, I just started with a big block of marble and chiped away everything that did not look like a horse."
What is an "attached worksheet"?
The idea is similar to filling in an IRS form and using worksheets to calculate subtotals or make specific decisions. That is to say, there is a hierarchy to the templates: there are the main templates, and then worksheets for specific topics. We have divided the information into several files so that each file is focused on one topic, and so that each file can be worked on by one person in a reasonable amount of time.
What is the "process impact" box about?
The process impact box explains where the current template fits into the software development process. It usually includes a brief comment on who should create the document, and who would be expected to make use of it. You can change the process impact box, but you should not need to.
What is a "checklist"?
There are two kinds of checklists:
  • Many of the templates have a section with questions that help you check your work in that template. Often the sample answers to the questions prompt you to take some corrective action.
  • For design and code review meetings, there are links to guidelines and checklists that help you identify common errors in those artifacts.
What is a "sticky note"?
The idea is similar to a post-it note attached to a document that tells you do "sign here" or fill in a certain part. There are two types of sticky notes:
  • TODO: Instructs you on how to fill in the template. This is the minimum that you need to do. One of the main goals of ReadySET is to help your team quickly carry out basic software engineering activities. The TODO sticky notes make that easy by making the templates more self-explanatory.
  • TIP: Helps you think of better ways to fill in the template. One of the other main goals of ReadySET is to help your team make better decisions that can make your whole project more successful. The TIP sticky notes help with that.
After you have done what the sticky note says, you can delete the sticky note. In the HTML file, they are marked with class="sticky".
Why do some links have dashed underlines?
Those are links to the definitions of terms. They are visually different so that readers whill know that they can quickly read the definition of that term without being side-tracked. Also, the dashed underlines do not appear when the document is printed.

Configuring and Customizing ReadySET

One of the ReadySET templates is not needed for my project. How do I remove it?
Just delete it, and remove any links to it.
How do I add a new file to the set?
Just open a new file in your HTML editor. Save the file, and add links to it from other templates as you see fit. You may want to copy an existing template and tear out all its content and put your content there instead, that way the new template will have the proper HTML HEAD elements, but these are simple anyway.
How can I use ReadySET for projects using technologie like .NET or J2EE?
ReadySET does not have any complex customization tools. There are no "plug-ins" or meta-models. Those layers of abstraction make it harder to get started. ReadySET is just a set of XHTML templates. You can edit them any way you like, it is up to you and there is nothing preventing you from doing it. ReadySET Pro takes a more powerful approach that does have a bit of a learning curve, but scales well to corporate usage.
How can I add "Company Proprietary" to every page?
That text is already there in a paragraph with CSS class="legal1". Normally that CSS style is invisible. You can make it visible by editing css/inst.css to uncomment the line "display: block !important". If you need to change the text, you can use a global search and replace in your text editor.
Who uses ReadySET?
Stay tuned to the ReadySET mailing list for user testimonials.

Contributing to the Project

Who can contribute to this project?
Everyone is welcome, especially project managers or team leads who have first-hand experience on many projects where templates like these would have helped.
How can someone start to contribute?
Make sure that you are familiar with the templates, then send your comments to the project mailing list and we will go from there. Only a core group of developers will have commit access, but others can make contributions via the mailing list and we will review them and integrate changes.
Please do not send in any proprietary or copyrighted content. We will have to immediately delete it. E.g., if you have a document template that you use at your current company, please do not send it. Instead, you can give us a few bullet points or examples on specific things that you think help make that type of document more useful based on your general experience. Of course, you should never send in any actual document that contains any actual information about your business, product plans, schedules, budgets, personnel, or customers.
Who is contributing to ReadySET?
Stay tuned to the ReadySET mailing list for information.

Other Questions

My question is not on this page. How do I find the answer?
Your question may have already been asked and answered, to find it: search the project mail archives and issue tracking system. If you still don't find it, you can ask the question on the the ReadySET developers' mailing list or you can enter an issue. You must subscribe to the mailing list before you may post. For commercial support and training, see ReadySET Pro.