How do you organize your widgets?

I’m sure most everyone on these forums is like me and has dozens, hundreds, and for some of you maybe a thousand or more widgets/chips/boards/circuits laying around. My question is how do you organize your widgets for future use?

What I mean is this - say you play with a PCA9685 chip today, look up the datasheet, play with some code, and then maybe put it away. Tomorrow you play with an SPI display with a ILI9625 chip, you look up the datasheet, play with some code and then put it away. Over the years you accumulate all those prototype circuits, sample code, datasheets, mental learnings, etc.

A year from now, what happens when you pull out that display again? Do you start all over with your research or did you save some of your work from before? Do you have some organization workflow to keep all your findings and discoveries along with the each piece of physical hardware?
What about the hardware itself? Say it takes you an hour to hunt down some chip’s specs and usage, do you put any markings on it so that next time you don’t have to spend that hour on the internet finding example code or example circuits?

Curious how you manage!?!

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@ dekes1 - For me it is not terribly organized, esp. on the hardware side

  1. Source code is in a source control system on my NAS. I am a little behind the times, I still run SVN. I will eventually to move to GIT…
  2. I have a folder for each chip I work with that has all the related documentation for the chip. I get this stuff on demand though.

Where I am very disorganized is with my quick and dirty tests. I have an ad-hoc folder that contains hundreds of little projects to test particular things or ideas etc.

As for the hardware, that is where I am the worst. I have a number of breadboards, hundreds of components, modules and MCU boards of all types. But I very quickly pull things apart and try the next thing. So every time I want to test that SPI display on the mbuino I have to rewire it and remap the pins etc. That is why I like the Gadgeteer stuff, sockets are much quicker to work with in this disorganizes manner.

  1. All code goes to GitHub. Depending on the size, I have a couple generic repos already created that I may add it to or I’ll start by creating a new repo if I’m doing this as the beginning of an expected large project.

  2. I keep all my notes in Evernote. Almost everything I do these days at home or work starts with the creation of a new Evernote note. Again, depending on the topic it may get noted within the note for a larger project or it may get its own note page. I have dozens if not hundreds of notes that simply have a title and one or two sentences reminding me of an idea or project to explore some day. The beauty is that its all searchable. So, if a year from now I want to go find out what I was thinking for ideas about the ESP8266 then all I’ve got to do is a quick search from my PC or phone.

  1. All recent code is in github for open-source and Visual Studio Online (git) for private projects (why? because VSO hosts private projects for free and I’m cheap). It is possible to fork, push and pull between the two, but searching now requires visiting two places.
  2. I use Visual Studio Online agile project management for anything remotely serious. It provides Kanban, backlogs, burn-down charts - you know, the stuff that all the cool kids are doing. This way, I can task switch and not forget what I was doing and what I need to do. I have some apps in various app stores and I collect issues and features there and then cycle through the projects and do ‘sprints’ against the backlog.
  3. Old code (back to the 90’s) is on a NAS drive (haven’t gotten around to moving it to a source repo. Apparently, I am also lazy).
  4. All processor boards (GHI, Molecule.Net and mediatek) are in labeled bags in a plastic toolbox. So are gadgeteer pieces, Molecule accessories, etc. Since I am in a small apartment and I move from time to time between Spain, Romania and USA, an essential set of tools, protoboards, discrete components and bits and bobs are in a fishing tackle box that can host four Sortimo-style slide-in boxes. It’s new. Does not smell like fish and/or worms.
  5. All my online services are on Azure. It has it’s strong and weak points, but as a one-stop shop, it works great for me. Not the cheapest at small scale, but gets better as you scale up. Just my opinion. Domain names (35 of em) and email hosting are all at Network Solutions. They are the worst, but better than the rest.
  6. Evernote. BillG forgive me, but I love Evernote and use it much like @ ianlee74.
  7. Business bookkeeping used to be on QuickBooks, but they suck at multiple currencies and I haven’t found a good replacement other than using local accountancy agencies.

There was no plan to the above - that’s just how it evolved.

#6. Lucky you don’t work in the Office PG or anything :wink: .

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