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Twproject 5.6.59820: subscribe to Gantt assignments

Twproject 5.6.59820 is a bug fix release, get it here.

 Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a Gantt problem when browser time zone was different from servers.
  • Fixed getting subscriptions when creating assignments from the Gantt simple edit tool.
  • Now possible to add a property for activating TLS (mail server), use MAIL_SMTP_USE_TLS
  • Restored digest message dispatcher channel.
  • A few fixes on page customization.

 

 

The never ending Twproject “war” with Microsoft Project

Through our customers and contacts we frequently get reminded about Microsoft Project© enduring existence.

Twproject was in fact first born as the limitation of Microsoft Project (it was 1999 🙂 ) were unsolvable by using the Microsoft Project API available at the time. And the two project management solutions are born to differ in their core philosophy – and they do. Web applications became possible at the time and Twproject development started, around 2002, and Twproject got developed as wed based and around the idea of making information gathering as easy as possible.

Why care about Microsoft Project then? The team that develops Twproject and the set of its customers are often large, even enterprise companies, and we have the experience and sensitivity to typical corporate problems of software and IT integration. In these contexts we are still frequently asked how Twproject and Microsoft Project compare as solutions for corporate customers, e.g.

I actually downloaded it and I am trying it on my localhost. I would love to hear though what advantages Twproject has over Microsoft Project Server. We are in the process of trying to decide. If you have a comparison white sheet I would be grateful.
Some information follows.

Twproject is web based (since 2001)

Twproject around 2002

Being web based then and today meant ubiquity, adaptiveness, flexibility, inclusiveness. This in our opinion is what Microsoft Project always lacked.

Microsoft almost made it (in 2014!) making a web version of Microsoft Project the reference one. Still if you check their user interface it tries to emulate desktop software, using an iconic language alien to the web.

Twproject is cost effective

Let’s consider costs:
is available for $58 per user, per month

Microsoft marketing in the referenced videos stress the simplicity of the price model, probably as an effort to distract from prices. Well Microsoft’s model is actually quite complex, price ranges from $33 to $58 (per user / month!) – and if you want to use the desktop client, prepare to pay $1556 for each client!

That is way more expensive than Twproject, which gives you a full user for less than $5 per month!

twproject-prices

Twproject is not Gantt centered 🙂

gantt-new

jQuery GanttIt is a bit funny to write this, because we released a free, open source amazingly popular JavaScript web based Gantt component :D, which is also part now of Twproject.

Twproject has a Gantt-like editor where we tried to get the advantages of the Gantt user interface model without adopting the unrealistic

(planned time = project effort)

equation which constitutes the core of the Gantt model.

Twproject focuses on real work done

While in the current version planning is fully supported, still the core of Twproject is collecting information about real work done.
So it collects multiple projects, allows temporary dis-alignment of dates and statuses, collects issues, to-dos, worklogs, does all it can to encourage users to insert information in the simplest, fastest possible way. Planning is supported, but Twproject works with and without planned work.

Twproject integrates with different IT structures

it-integration

Microsoft Project depends for everything on Share Point©, so including its collaborative aspects. it is strongly integrated with Microsoft Exchange©.

So you have to get the whole Microsoft package, like it or not, to adopt Microsoft Project. Meh.

Twproject instead is functionally and technologically widely compatible with different solutions and is built to be non-intrusive.
This is true for both the installed and the online version of Twproject.

For example, the installed version runs stand alone in Tomcat (a Java web server), and can run anywhere, supporting easy integration with say LDAP, single-sign on and directory services.

The on-line version comes as a dedicated server instance that comes with its own mail server for a dedicated notification email.

Twproject works fine without Microsoft Exchange©, simple connection with an SMTP and POP3 service gives you full e-mail integration.

Twproject has an “open” approach (even if is not open source, sources are available for our customers). It runs on every operating system and can use any database. It is available both on cloud on or customer premises. It is web based and you can use it with every “modern” browser. Twproject is a wise choice from the IT manager perspective because of its open data and infrastructure features, as IT infrastructure changes over time.

Twproject developers are people, easily reachable on-line

Twproject is built by a small, solid and very efficient company. Its developers are ready to give support on the solution; moreover complete sources are available for free for all customers. Twproject is structured to support customization, custom extensions, reports, wizards, complete custom forms, and export and import with other data sources.

We deployed and maintain many customized parts for our over 3000 customers, all compatible with Twproject main release and hence compatible with updates.

Conclusion

After 15 years, the divergence of the two products is still considerable. In the meantime, the road of the web as a platform for applications has become the main path for collaborative software. And the diversity and richness of IT environments has increased. So we believe there are ever more good reasons to pick a safe, compatible solution as Twproject instead of the closed Microsoft Project universe.

References

http://windowsitpro.com/office-365/microsoft-announces-project-lite-cloud-based-productivity-team-members

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/technet/en-us/office/media/video/video.html?cid=pstc&from=sharepermalink&VideoID=ebe00785-db66-44d6-8ed3-86eafa63c7e4

Twproject is not affiliated in any form with Microsoft. Microsoft Project, Microsoft Exchange Share Point may be Registered Trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

 

Twproject 5.6.59808: in what time-zone does the project start?

This is a bug fix release.

Thanks to the feedback and collaboration from one of our customers (Johnson & Johnson) we have finally identified the source of a weird incongruence between dates in Gantt, project tree and task editor.

A working day calculation error could happen in cases when the time zone of the browser and the one of the server were not the same, and the project tree got edited in the Gantt window. This has been fixed, and the local time offset is always included allowing for the same project to be edited coherently in time from different time-zones.

For users with teams spanned across several time-zones this upgrade is mandatory.

editing a project from different time zones

Twproject 5.5 release: project reporting, collapsible Gantt and more

Reporting, statistics, Gantt, security and much more

After less than one month from last release, here is a brand new Twproject version with exciting new features.

Reporting

Your project data are carefully collected and maintained by Twproject and this represents on of the most valuable aspect of Twproject adoption.
How can you extract your data and present it to your users? Actually Twproject has several pages with dynamic filtering capabilities that extract meaningful data, but a customizable reporting systems was missing…. until now!
On version 5.5 we have integrated Jasper Reports, one of most powerful reporting engine. Jasper reports add the capability to create your reports in minutes using an intuitive graphical editor.
Reports are integrated with the flexible Twproject security structure in an easy and practical way, without forcing users to write complex query and rules.

Here a screenshot from the report writer Jaspersoft Studio

Jasper Reports Editor

 

and a couple of reports

Jasper Custom Report: worklog by resourceJasper Custom Report: worklog by resource

Gantt

Thanks  to a contribution of “BestKen” to our open source jQuery Gantt editor (see jQuery Gantt editor – collapsible branches) this version includes a nice new feature, collapsible branches:

Collapsible Gantt

Collapsible Gantt

Statistics

On task data, there are more statistical information available: ideal trend, worklog aggregated, and worklog done

image

the visual comparison between trend and aggregation makes you get at a glance the project’s “health”.

This is the first step in introducing earned value management, that will be completed in one of the forthcoming releases.

 

Repository

In this version we introduced some new features related to security.

In Twproject you can upload files on tasks, issues, resources and so on. Uploaded files are indexed, for full-text searching, and then saved to a repository.  Now you can choose between three different kinds of storage: folder, encrypted folder or database.

image

In the first case uploaded files are copied as-is on a folder or network disk.

In the second case, files are encrypted using a AES key, and then saved on the same folder. File decryption is automatic when you need to access the file from Twproject, but the file itself remain encrypted on the repository. There are tools for generating AES keys and for encrypting existing files.

In the third case, files are stored on a database table as BLOB data.

Note: existing files will use its original type and will not be touched.

 

Security

  • We have introduced a seal for every document that allows you to send a link to a friend (even without having a Twproject user defined). This link will be valid for 24 hours only, so that the risk of “leaks” will be reduced. Moreover the seal keep your repository safer, making harder an url guessing attack.
  • Another minor security improvement has been introduced for the LDAP mixed authentication. This authentication modality is useful in companies where Twproject is used by internal and external users at the same time. Sometimes a large company uses the LDAP authentication to make the user’s life better, allowing a single login name and password for multiple systems (and also to have a single point for password policy management). Actually Twproject can be used not exclusively by internal users, but also by consultants or third party suppliers that are involved in projects but are not present in the LDAP server (for several good reason 🙂 ). In this case Twproject can use a fallback to its internal authentication using its internal database. Now we can force LDAP users to do not fallback; internal user MUST authenticate on LDAP, external ones will fallback.

Bugs fixed and little features:

  • full search on plan comments
  • search on agenda events using “a:…”
  • IE fix on large auto-sizing notes fields
  • fix for jdk 1.7 in some comparators
  • a stylish background, and smoother colors

 

Teamwork 5.1: Project trees and more

We just released Teamwork 5.1 (build 57001) here:

http://www.twproject.com/download.page

Contains a new view, task trees, and a subtle but important extension in functionality for “staff” selection.

This is a free upgrade for all users of version 5. There are no changes in the database structure with respect to version 5.

Task trees

Teamwork tree

Teamwork project actions Thanks to user feedback and direct experience in bootcamps, we added a tree view of tasks which is simpler to read and allows basic data editing. It has limited functionality with respect to the Gantt editor but it can be practical in many cases.

Staff & department management

We revised both the inner logic and the user interface of the resource department / group / staff theme. The modeling problem that we’ve frequently met recently for Teamwork used in large organizations is complex cases of delegation handling.

Now if you are manager of a department you can assign all those in the department (inclusive of sub departments) as now they are on your staff – without setting area-global permissions.

This makes it easier to model delegation in structures where a certain kind of project managers create work for other departments, without overriding that department resources assignments.

It can be useful in cases where you have a planning department distinct from the set of project managers that handle resource’s assignments. So the planning manager can assign tasks to a project manager that has no global company rights, but manages her own staff, i.e. the entire department she’s heading.

We also improved the use interface by removing the “staff” checkbox which made you filter resources by staff, having your staff members always as first rows in bold in combos.

Little improvements

– Gantt editor is now in full screen (relative to the browser).

– Date change and status changed request for feedbacks are active only on tasks not just created.

– See in the resource assignment part all assignments on open tasks, also those out of date scope.

Bug fixes

– Mobile module: got “undefined” when saving agenda events.

– When creating a new document file / folder selection from file storage did not work.

– Made “my open issues” and “my open severe issues” predefined filters behave similarly in task selection.

– Gantt editor: task descriptions inserted from that page were not saved.

– Fixed default language pick at startup and on options.

Teamwork 5: Gantt, planning, new design & more

Teamwork 5A major Teamwork release, Teamwork 5, is now available for download here:

http://www.twproject.com/download.page

In the same page you can generate a 15 day evaluation license. (inclusive of the mobile version)

Teamwork’s costs have not changed, all details:

http://www.twproject.com/licensing.page

The base cost is 90 Euro per non-expiring license, and the upgrade cost is 35 Euro (44$) per user.

See the introductory video and download the user guide here:

http://www.twproject.com/documentation.page

Teamwork hosting is now built entirely on Amazon dedicated servers E3 service – more information here.

Upgrading from Teamwork 4

The multi-platform installer includes an upgrader from version 4 which updates the web app and your data, but it cannot update Java’s JDK (see FAQ), you must do that by hand or do a new installation; Teamwork 5 needs Java JDK version 6 (or 7). In order to try version 5, the best way is to do a fresh installation.

If you own version 4, you’ll need to purchase an upgrade license for version 5, unless you bought Teamwork 4 after 1st of June 2012 (our invoice date is the purchase date) – in the latter case it is a free upgrade.

What’s new

Teamwork version 5 has a new user interface and several new functionalities. The work model is mostly unchanged from version 4.
Main new features:

– Introduced Gantt-like editor
Also supports dependencies between any two tasks, not just between brother tasks.
Teamwork Gantt

– Introduced issue planner /organizer:
Issue Planner

– Assignment enriched with assignment specific costs (expenses)

Cost on assignements

– Statistics graphs improved and extended

Teamwork Stats
A line graph on the task editor which shows total worklogs / issues done.

More

– Heuristics on project progress / state
– Date and number formats relative to user profile (on top of user interface language, which was always customizable)
– Denormalization to achieve speed
– Speed improved in general
– Conceptual simplification of planning and estimation and more fine grained tools
– Shorter click paths with layers
– Amazon S3 file storages
– Custom reports on all Teamwork sections
– Agenda and meeting completely redesigned
– Workgroups visibility / association with images
– Technical: libraries updated to Hibernate 4.
– Flow management has been extended:
o for example worklog estimated in the time assignment can be set. Also added attributes to workflow descriptions that allow setting duration of tasks and estimations of assignments.
o clone tasks can clone also the assignment for the business process
o when writing flows you can automate assignments by “instantiator” and project manager:
The classes to check are
com.twproject.task.process.InstantiatorSwimlaneAssignmentHandler
com.twproject.task.process.ScaleToBossAssignmentHandler

We also released Teamwork Gantt, a free online tool for creating Gantts, you find it here:
http://gantt.twproject.com/

Of course Gantts created online can be imported in Teamwork 5 – just go to projects and select “import from Teamwork Gantt”.

N.B. Complete Teamwork sources (under NDA) are available for free to all customers as always.

Twproject free online Gantt editor

Twproject’s team in its core developer instance (Roberto Bicchierai) has released a free online service for designing “Gantts” online, here:

Twproject Gantt site

This editor is a Gantt editor as for functionality, but it actually supports the more extended functionality of Twproject modeling, supporting task state management as distinct from dates management. Supports multi assignments, dependencies, drag&drop, zooming and much more.

Twproject Gantt editor

Technically it is an interesting solution because it runs completely on the client (the browser) and its built on jQuery, the most popular JavaScript framework. As JavaScript component it is free and can be used in any kind of project, thanks to its MIT license – just download it here.

Gantt editors reviewBefore developing this component we carefully researched the available online Gantt components – a review here:

The JavaScript Gantt odyssey

But in the end our requirements (like being built on jQuery) were not satisfied by any of the linked above, so we built our own.

A coming Twproject update will include the option to import such Gantts in Twproject, and also a built-in version of this complete and flexible editor.