By admin, posted on Mar 6th 2009
OK, so I haven’t done the post uploader with progress bar, or the ability for administrators to move notes to other tasks, but I have got one cool thing working:
You can now click on the “Show/hide attachments” link to see all attachments added to the current task. So no more browsing through multiple pages looking for that spreadsheet or image.
At the moment it doesn’t show any image thumbnails, but that won’t be hard to do. Of course, all this stuff will be available in the next version of projectGenie: Brookmeyer.
By admin, posted on Feb 7th 2009
Over the Christmas period I had the chance to work on Brookmeyer – the new version of projectGenie – quite a lot, so the bulk of the system framework is now working. I’ve just started to write the first template files (Brookmeyer will support themes/templates in the same way WordPress does). I’m then going to tie the front and back-ends together using the template tag API. So far, so WordPress. I’m still trying to work out how to make plugins work, so no news on that yet.
However things haven’t stood still for Anderson, the currently available version of projectGenie. I’m in the process of adding a few new features which will soon be available in the demo and in the downloadable system. In a nutshell:
- Small screen/mobile-phone friendly theme called MobileGreenie
- Ability to select the theme you want to use for a session when logging in (useful when on a mobile device, of course)
- When changing the theme for yourself, the theme is applied immediately (yes, this one bugged me)
- When uploading an MP3 file a Flash player (using fantastic technology from Jeroen Wijering) now appears so you can play the file online (a band I play in now use this feature to share cool tracks, recordings and ideas for songs we could cover)
- More configuration options to hide or show milestones, bugs and memos on the homepage
However there are still a couple of things I want to do with Anderson yet. Most importantly is get an upload progress indicator when attaching files to notes. This will use SWFUpload, I just need to iron a few problems out. I also want to add the ability for administrators to easily move notes to other tasks of they are in the wrong place.
Once I’ve got those two things sorted I’ll do some testing and get the new version of Anderson uploaded. I’ll also have a list of the modified files so those of you with existing installs don’t have to overwrite everything – just the stuff that’s changed.
By chris, posted on Aug 16th 2007
One of the main reasons for rewriting projectGenie (you knew I was doing that, right?) is to clean up a lot of the little things. After all, an application is just a collection of tiny details so it makes sense to get those details right.
So here’s a quick preview of part of the old interface:
And it’s new counterpart:
Much better, I think.
By chris, posted on Jul 18th 2007
You know that lack of time I was talking about? It’s now even more lacking. However despite that I have had chance to spend some time on the upcoming Brookmeyer release, and have finally nailed three important parts.
- Page template and ‘engine’: this is the set of classes that power the entire site – templating, database connection, security etc
- AJAX components using Prototype and Performer
- Page architecture – what goes where, and what links to where
So from that you can tell I’ve made quite a bit of progress. There’s a long way to go, I still have almost every page to shuffle round so it looks better and is easier to use, but progress has been made.
In the meantime I have a bit of technical know-how that might help you out. A couple of projectGenie users have complained that they get SQL errors after installing the current version. If that’s you then don’t panic, it’s a problem to do with the configuration file (fixed in the new version to come). Going to ‘Configuration’ and clicking the update button (you don’t need to change anything, just click the button) will re-jig your installation and sort it right out.
By chris, posted on Jun 8th 2007
There is less than a week to go to the release of version Brookmeyer of projectGenie. In quite what state I’ll drag myself across the line I’m not sure, but I’m fairly pleased with progress. The install, database, templating, security and application modules are done, so I’m now just faced with modifying the actual display screens to be easier to use.
Speaking of user interfaces, those clever blokes over at 37signals have updated the dashboard of Basecamp again. Basecamp is their insanely popular project management system (over 1 million people have signed up!) and is a huge inspiration to me. Basecamp is projectGenie‘s main competitor, but seeing as I’m giving my software away for free, and they host theirs and take care of all the technical headaches, we’re not quite in the same market.
Their dashboard is now better than ever. Here’s a quick list of some of the goodies are;
- It’s not weighed down by loads of icons (I have a tendency to throw an icon at anything that moves)
- It has colour-coding, but not so much that it overwhelms the eye
- It has a calendar that shows you what you need to see, but then gets out of the way
- It has easy-to-read lists instead of clunky grids
- It shows the *required* information, not frippery (do I really need to know what time a message was posted at three weeks ago? No, I just need the date)
- It groups tasks logically, by project
As I mentioned, projectGenie and Basecamp are targeted at two different markets (OK, projectGenie isn’t really targeted at any market) so while there’s a lot to learn from the masters of lean, mean web applications, I won’t be copying it wholesale. That would be bad-mannered. Instead I’m going to try to be a little more selective in the graphical elements and layouts I choose (less icons, more simple lists, group things logically).
And, who knows, I may even get it done by the deadline.
By chris, posted on Jun 4th 2007
So there I was, knee-deep in PHP and wondering what the hell I was thinking to set myself a challenge like this. To write, basically from scratch, a new version of a quite complex web application in just over 10 days. As if that’s not mad enough, I had other clients that need to be serviced as well. Life doesn’t stop just because of my whims.
So, depsite me saying that I wasn’t going to look at the templating system for projectGenie this time round, guess what I’ve done? That’s right, rewritten the templating system. Oh, and the installer.
There is method in my madness, you see. By having a better installer means that (hopefully) people will find it easier to start playing with projectGenie. I’m forever thinking about the users, me. And by sorting out the templating system (OK, so it’s a hybrid of a proper object-oriented templating system and my old procedural system) I can produce the rest of the system screens much more easily.
I’ve also added a simple database class so that I have a single point of failure, I mean access, to the database. And the menus are now dynamic, so people who aren;t meant to see certain section now can’t. Hurrah.
Still, to think that I’ve not even started on the list of things I’d said I’d do for version Brookmeyer … it’s a ludicrous escapade. If I make it I’ll be amazed.
By chris, posted on May 31st 2007
I’ve started my ridiculous escapade of getting the Brookmeyer version of projectGenie live by my birthday on the 14th of June. I’ve already made a few decisions to limit the amount of huge under-the-cover redevelopment I’ll have to do (basically the templating system will be staying much the same) and now is the time to set out my stall for exactly what features will be added/removed.
In a nutshell:
- The main screen (can I call it the Dashboard? Not really…) will be redesigned, with the five or six current sections being replaced by three. The main one will show all notes to all projects that you have access to, with some options to filter them. Much better.
- Clean URLs for people who can use them. That will be configurable by the configuration options.
- And speaking of configuration options, I’ll be cleaning that up quite a lot. Basically there will be a standard set of configuration options, and a much more comprehensive advanced set of options.
- There will be redesigns for most of the screens, especially the client, contact and project screen.
- I’ll add some simple reports to help you manage projects.
- The help section will be updated and rewritten.
Seeing as I’m not sure I’ll have time to do even that little lot, there is only a very slim chance of any of this next list happening, but we live in hope.
- Simple financial management for projects: a total amount for different phases of each project, then details of any (possibly multiple) payments until the fee has been paid.
- Simple time management showing some kind of on-screen timer. This would be per-task.
- Start date and end date for tasks, allowing a simple Gantt chart to be shown.
There will be more information about my progress (or lack of it) over the next couple of weeks.
By chris, posted on May 1st 2007
What’s this? No entries for 5 months then two in a week? It must be something special! And it is special, in fact it’s a whole new feature.
One of the things that I find difficult in projectGenie is keeping track of where I said I would do something. I have no problem seeing what the latest tasks are, and the latest notes attached to tasks, but I remeber I said I’d do something a few days ago, and I can’t remember where I said it or what task it was.
No longer! Now when I add my "Don’t worry, I’ll look at that in a couple of days"-type notes I can just tick the ‘Flag’ checkbox and that task is flagged for me. Not anyone else, just for me. You can see a demo of this wondrous thing in the little screenshot.
And when I’ve done whatever it was I said I’d do, or it turns out that the action is no longer needed, I can just un-flag it (de-flag, perhaps?) and the flag is gone. Simple!
The flags are set on a per-task and per-user basis, so that means that I can flag whatever tasks I want for me, and other users can flag other tasks just for them. If you want to get your hands on this feature then sorry, you’re going to have to wait for the official release of the Brookmeyer version.
By chris, posted on Apr 23rd 2007
Wow, it’s been nearly 5 months since I last wrote on here. What can I say, I’ve been busy. In fact I’ve been more than busy, I’ve been burning ever candle at every end I could find, but loving it (mostly!)
You may well be wondering what’s happening with projectGenie at the moment, and the answer is not much. I’ve added a few little updates to the demo site. In no particular order they are:
- Renaming the ‘Tasks & Bugs’ section to ‘Latest notes’ (which is what it is)
- Making the name of the person who wrote any note bold where the note was not written by yourself (i.e. the currently logged in user). This seemingly little thing makes it much easier to scan down lists of tasks and see which ones need attention.
- Adding the facility to change your and (if you have the right privileges) anyone else’s layout style through their ‘Contact’ admin screen.
To finish off I’ll share an excerpt from a nice email I got from a projectGenie user:
“First, major kudos for projectGenie! It is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for to help me run my web design business.”
By chris, posted on Aug 24th 2006
One of the nice features of projectGenie is its collection of skins, allowing you to flavour your software to your own taste. But small screenshots are rubbish, what you want is to see the real thing. And now you can.
Just visit the demo system and log in with the name of the skin you want to try out: 37genies, alert, appy, greenie, pillarbox (scrapped as of 02/12/2006) or ubuntu. The password is still ‘guest’ for all of these skins.
So, to try out the in-your-face Alert skin, you’d log in with the username ‘alert’ and the password ‘guest’. Try it, you might like it!