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i'm currently working on a project in my spare time (mostly 3-4 hours from monday to friday, and up to 6 hours on sundays) and i've found redmine very useful to hold a record of development tasks.

However, there are some stuff, specially when you are trying to prototype or brainstorm a redesign of a set of related classes, that the best tool that i've found for this still is a sheet of paper and a pen.

I want to understand if maybe i'm just short of getting to work properly with existing tools. Do you find the use of a notebook or a journal an unavoidable part of software design? are there better alternatives? how do you organize pen-and-paper work and other software management tools like redmine?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

For creating sketches, design models, UI mockups, and a few other things, my first choice of material includes pen(cil) and paper, a whiteboard, and a digital camera. I haven't found a tool that is as easy to change as actually drawing it, then using a camera to capture a "finished" (using that term loosely) product which I would then solidify even more in a tool if I feel that it's appropriate. I make sure to somehow track (and even version) the images I capture as well for record keeping.

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i like the part about taking pictures of it, thats exactly what i wasn't doing –  lurscher Jul 11 '11 at 2:26
    
Agreed. I'm too visual NOT to draw things on paper/whiteboard. I had a pen tablet for my computer for a couple of years, but felt it was weird since my hand wasn't literally drawing on the screen. –  jefflunt Jul 11 '11 at 2:56
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I use Balsamiq Mockups, it's awesome for prototyping and allows you to link interfaces and export an interactive PDF.

http://balsamiq.com/

It even has iPhone interface elements.

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