Software that is meant to support collaboration is mostly developed “ad hoc”, placing some additional overhead to users, that are required to integrate the common work practices, realized with the traditional software applications, with the new collaborative features offered by the new application. It has been argued that this is likely to inject lack of motivation on users, jeopardizing the positive effects of collaboration in workplace, since the time dedicated to collaboration is perceived as wasted. In this paper we present a generic mechanism to provide team awareness through the integration between a social platform and a work environment. The integration mechanism is, indeed, generic and the work environment potentially can be any kind of application usually adopted by team members. We illustrate the mechanism through the design and implementation of SOCSVN, a proof-of-concept example in the scenario of collaboration support in software development. SOCSVN integrates a social platform (Elgg, a well known open source social networking engine) with SVN, a source code versioning system widely used in software development. We also abstract the mechanism provided and show how it is easily generalizable to other software, providing a list of the requirements and the amount of work to be integrated in the architecture.
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