I've recently been looking for simpler and more effective tools for collaborating with geographically distributed teams. The first order of business is to find something better than a whiteboard that can be shared amongst multiple users. After some brief searching, I found Dabbleboard at www.dabbleboard.com. This gem was just recently launched and I'm impressed. The image below was created using the free version of the tool online in just a few minutes. I highly recommend that you give it a try.
The next order of business is to find a better way to prototype a business application that will allow us to define data and business logic in code and sharing that in a prototype that will allow users to interact with the business model without having to build a complex UI prototype and without having to map business objects to the database. While wandering around a site called InfoQ I found through Markin Fowler's blog, I ran into Naked Objects for .NET. I was dubious at first but spend some time watching the videos and wandering around the site. I like what see.
I'm just beginning to use these two tools in a real effort to determine whether they will really make my job and life easier. I am hopeful and impressed with what I've seen so far. The drawing I've created and included in this post illustrates how the Naked Objects technology might be used in what I'm building for my employer. I'm not sure if it represents exactly what will happen in the future but the guys at Dabbleboard have certainly made it easier to envision and to share with my colleagues no matter where they are.