Text Files -- What are they good for?

At TimeSnapper we use a text file for managing our todo items. Plain Old Text (P.O.T) -- are we potty?

Someone I know and respect tells me I'm crazy -- that we should use a bug tracking application, or a wiki, or, basically, anything at all would be an improvement.

Are they right? Am I crazy? No and Yes, respectively?

Our todo file is checked into the source repository (we use sourcegear vault), and included in the main TimeSnapper solution. Multiple people can work on the todo file at once, and can merge their changes together if needed.

The downside to using a text file: you can't include images. But you can include url's that point to images, and notes referring to other files as needed.

It's a semi-structured text file, in the sense that we have conventions we use for keeping it tidy, succinct and relevant. We archive portions off, once they're completed. We separate it with headings, we nest information with indenting.

So what's wrong with using a text file?

The complaint this dude made was that it's "not gonna scale".

Well, maybe it won't scale to a point where we have fifty developers working on TimeSnapper.

But we can safely wait to cross that bridge when we come to it. Text files hardly lock us in. The data is easy to export. ;-)

What do you say? Can a globally distributed two person ISV track their tasks more efficiently in some other way?


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