Sunday, November 29, 2009

New release (1.0.1131) and x64 support for Linux

Note: I suggest everyone upgrade to this release if possible.

It finally happened. After attempting for as long as possible to have a single deb/tgz for 32 and 64-bit on Linux, I gave in and created a 64-bit package. The main reason for this was that Worklog Assistant now uses gnome-keyring to store passwords on Linux. As gnome-keyring is not part of the ia32-libs package, this meant a 64-bit package was needed.

If you install the PAM module, the keyring will be unlocked on login, otherwise the keyring software will prompt you to enter your keyring password when you launch Worklog Assistant.

So now, time tracking for JIRA just got a little bit better on Linux ;-)

There is also one bug fix due to the recent change to group worklogs by issue in the pending worklogs screen.

Thanks for your time and happy time tracking!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New release (1.0.1128)

A new release is available. There are two major feature improvements in this release as well as official JIRA 4.0 support! The first being that pending worklogs are now grouped and summarized by issue. This should make it easier to see what you have worked on before submitting.

The next improvement is one of my favourites: on Mac, the dock icon now contains the total of all the pending worklogs as well as the current active task. See the screenshot below:

There are also some minor but useful improvements to the idle time detection. Previously, when you returned from idle, say to check email or the time, Worklog Assistant would pop up and ask you if you wanted to apply the away time to a task. This behaviour has not changed.

However, the dialog would previously assume that if you returned, you were back for good. Now, when you return, you can leave the dialog open and Worklog Assistant will continue to track your away time. When you finally return and accept, the correct away time will be used.

This is very useful for those cases where you are doing a software build, or a run of tests and just come back to check if they are done. From now on, you can just leave the notice open and your away time will continue to be tracked.

JIRA 4.0 support

Thanks to the awesome backward compatibility work by Atlassian, Worklog Assistant always maintained JIRA 4.0 support. However, I can finally say that JIRA 4.0 is now officially supported. This includes the server side plugin as well as the desktop client. As an aside, I have officially switched to using JIRA 4.0 internally and it is at least 100 times better than JIRA 4.0. My favourite "new" features:
  • Dashboard - Awesome!
  • Activity stream - What issue did I just change?
  • Greenhopper!
I used Greenhopper to manage this release and I must say I am never going back to the old way of bulk filter changes.

Last but not least, there is now a new "thin" installer for Linux. Basically, you untar+gunzip and you are ready to go. This should help on non-Ubuntu platforms.

I hope you find these new changes to be useful, I know I have. If you find any issues, please let me know.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New beta available

It's been a while since a proper release but I'm coming around to it!

This beta has a bunch of minor improvements and one really cool new feature for Mac: a badge label for the Worklog Assistant application icon. Now, when you are tracking time and have pending worklogs to submit, the Worklog Assistant icon will show a label with the sum total of the elapsed time. Here is an example of what it looks like:

Pretty cool! Anyway, head on over to the beta site and give it a run, you'll be glad you did! Please let me know if you have any problems or suggestions.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New release (1.0.1123)

A new release is available. This is a bug fix release. Please see the release notes for more information.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

New release (1.0.1122)

A new release is available. This is mainly a bug fix release. Please see the release notes for more information.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Monday, September 14, 2009

New release (1.0.1118)

A new release is available. This release contains one minor new feature to do with custom fields with dates and some bug fixes. Please see the release notes for more information.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New release (1.0.1115)

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available. This is a bug fix release with a few Mac-specific fixes. There is also one minor change to the way we handle errors when submitting worklogs to JIRA. Please see the release notes for more information.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New release (1.0.1113), logo design contest

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available. This is a small release in the number of changes from the last release but it is recommended to upgrade to this release.

The main change is a fix in how the view state for the list of JIRA issues is stored. Due to the nature of the problem, you will have to reconfigure your view. Please let me know if you have any issues.

Logo design contest

TheWorklog Assistant logo design contest on crowdSPRING has been concluded. I have a week to make my decision. There are some really good entries there. I am not certain on which one I will choose but if there are any that stand out, please tell me which ones in the comments!

Running the contest on crowdSPRING has been great. The one thing I've noticed from other contests is that people tend to submit multiple variations on the same theme. I'm not sure why the designers do this but I was explicit in my instructions that they should not do this. Some of them did comply but others didn't.

I notice that none of them tried to do a tree log based logo like my daughter did. How creative are these creatives anyway? ;-)

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Monday, July 27, 2009

New logo competition

What's this about?

I know some of you have not been entirely happy with my choice of logo so far and I've heard you. As a result, I've created a competition for a new logo on crowdSPRING. What is cool about it is that all of the design takes place as a competition, so you can choose the best one.

The competition is here:

What can I do?
  • Comment here on which one you like best
  • Leave a comment on crowdSPRING (will require registration) - This way, the designer can get your feedback.
  • If you are a graphic designer or know one and want to make some money, submit a logo!
Note that the competition will run until next Saturday or Sunday after which I can make a final decision. As today was the first day, there have only been two submissions so far, but feel free to take a look!


I think this is probably the one thing people have been most vocal about publicly and privately! I'm happy to give you an avenue to choose the route that will make your life a bit easier :-)

And if I don't care?

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New release (1.0.1111)

A new release is available to fix a crash caused as a result of a fix (doh.) If you tried to use the "toggle timer" action with an issue selected, you would experience this problem. Thanks to user Geoff for pointing it out and verifying that the fix worked for him. Note that the beta site has not been updated with this change yet.

Sorry for any inconvenience!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New release (1.0.1108)

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available. There are two major changes in this release. The first major change relates to when you are time tracking against an issue in JIRA and are interrupted, perhaps for a meeting or a short break. The second is to do with easier searching.

Previously, Worklog Assistant would happily track the time against the JIRA issue when you left your desk. That would still result in accurate timing when you are trying to look at the "average time to close", for example. However, some practices might require the user to book this time separately.

Enter "idle time detection."

Now, when you are away from your desk for a configurable amount of time (default is 10 minutes), Worklog Assistant stops tracking against the active JIRA issue and tracks how long you have been away. Upon your return, you are prompted to book the away time to a specific JIRA issue. You can see how this works in the sequence of screenshots found in the documentation.

The second major change is to do with the ability to create an ad-hoc filter by replacing the "other issues" field with a field that will search JIRA for issue keys as well as text searches. You can see this field in action in the screenshot below, along with the tooltip help:

In addition to these two feature changes, there have been numerous minor bug fixes along with a couple of serious ones for Mac. I hope you enjoy these changes and please let me know if you have any comments/issues about these or any other features.

Have a good week and happy time tracking!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New beta with idle-time detection

Quite often, we will walk away from our desktops perhaps to answer a phone call or attend an impromptu meeting. The last thing we would remember to do is to stop our timer on the current task.

Well, now you no longer need to remember! The new beta of Worklog Assistant automatically detects when you are away from your machine and stops the timer on the active task. On your return, Worklog Assistant will tell you how long you were away for and ask whether you want to apply the away time to a JIRA task. This works great for those persistent little interruptions.

You can see the workflow in action here.

I think this is quite possibly the coolest new feature, especially the workflow upon return, and I would be very happy with feedback.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New release (1.0.1105)

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available. The main changes are technical with a couple of bug fixes.

My favourite long-time issue has finally been solved: . Now Worklog Assistant will correctly detect multiple instances and prompt you. However, as always, this can still be improved further. One such improvement is here: . Basically, don't prompt at all, just launch the original instance. If you would like this, please add a vote!

A special thanks to some adventurous users for testing last week's beta. Although no issues were reported, I would not have been able to be as confident as I am now. So, thanks again :-)

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Monday, June 22, 2009

New beta (could use some eyes)

Hey all, a new beta is available. There are behind-the-scenes changes which I had been working on all week that should make some cool new stuff possible. As a bonus, Worklog Assistant now correctly detects multiple instances!

Please download it and report bugs if you find any.

There will be no stable release this week as I work on stabilizing the beta.

A little story

As I was doing my final testing (ahem, after publishing the beta) I noticed that the Mac version had become completely messed up due to some minor but tedious misconfiguration. As a result, it would work just fine on my test machine, but not for anyone else! I stayed up till ~2am fixing it and uploaded a new beta.

This morning, my wife said she was sorry that I had to stay up late working on it. I told her that this is what dreams are made of! I have created something that whole companies use regularly and users that actually seem to care**.

For me, it was a thank you to those customers and users. For me, software development is less about software and more about solving problems. I would like to avoid all serious problems for my users if I can help it. Indeed, I was not even tired afterward and found it hard to fall asleep.

This has been my best month so far (2x anything else) so that was an added motivator. But I'd like to think I have not changed from the month where I had a single lonely sale, at least in how I approach solving problems for customers.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

** Some users don't care about what it's called but really care that it works. For example, one user calls it "Weblog Assistant" in multiple, unrelated emails. I thought that is so awesome!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New release (1.0.1103)

A new release is available. This release fixes some issues experienced when the certificate revocation list (CRL) cannot be retrieved on Windows. Previously, you would be blamed with a message like: "Hey, you didn't enable the SOAP API!" Now, you are asked whether you wish to continue even though the CRL could not be downloaded.

There is also a rewrite of how the project and issue links were being rendered to fix a small bug. I think I've stomped out all the bugs with the rendering but if you have any issues, please let me know ASAP, preferably with steps to reproduce.

The tray icon and tray icon context menu have also had a bit of a revamp. Please let me know if you like :-)

As always, happy time tracking and have a good week!

Monday, June 1, 2009

New release (1.0.1011)

This is a bug fix release, please see the release notes for changes.

Thanks and have a good week!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Atlassian plugin site

There is a new Atlassian plugin site in the works. This site kicks some serious ass. One of the things that the website supports very well is reviews and ratings. If you have the time and are able to give a review please see the Worklog Assistant plugin page.

You might even find a little surprise there :-)

By the way, I'm pretty sure it's ok for me to link you from here but if it isn't, you didn't hear it from me!

New release (1.0.1099)

A new release is available. The main change in this release is to make the "Choose Visible Columns" dialog box scrollable when there are too many custom fields. Previously, when there were too many custom fields, the dialog would scroll off the screen. This usually happened when you had many projects in JIRA with their own custom field requirements. It had quite hilarious results (where hilarious = not funny!) on some Linux machines. The Mac, on the other hand, was quite happy showing the largest algorithmically generated dialog box in the history of man:

And that was scaled to 20%! Anyway, the algorithm has been changed to make the dialog scrollable vertically as well as limit to 3 columns.

There were also some licensing related changes which were mostly to do with update notification when your license cannot be upgraded. If you experience any problems with licensing, please let me know ASAP so we can resolve it.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New release (1.0.1095)

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available. This release fixes a bug on Mac OSX where saving the JIRA password a second time would cause a crash. If you are using Worklog Assistant on OSX, I suggest you upgrade as soon as is convenient.

There are also minor UI-related changes: when the reminder balloon pops up, the elapsed time is now shown as the current elapsed time + any pending worklogs. Previously, the pending worklogs were not included. A context menu for the tray icon has also been added.

Thanks and have a good week!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New release (1.0.1083)

A boring release today: a bug fix and some modifications for Enterprise deployment. If you are unfamiliar with the Worklog Assistant Configurator, it is a tool for Enterprise licensees to help them configure end-user desktops so that the end user only has to enter their username and passwords to start time tracking with JIRA.

I've been concentrating on performance improvements for Worklog Assistant, specifically when it comes to filters with hundreds of issues. Hopefully this will be done in the next week. As always, if you do have some suggestions, please let me know!

Finally, an interesting link I just came across from the JIRA mailing lists: Tempo. This might be of interest to people who are not happy with the time reports of JIRA when it comes to integrated billing.

Have a good week and happy time tracking!

Friday, May 8, 2009

If you are interested in some technical behind the scenes stuff

Some tinkering went on today (link to my personal blog)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New release (1.0.1080)

A new release is available. In this release, there are a couple of fixes for some minor but niggly bugs. There is also now the ability to set the start time for the current task by using the "Issues" menu or right-clicking the current task. This feature was requested by a user but of course it is not the only such feature.

Despite the short lifespan of Worklog Assistant, there are quite a few user-suggested modifications to Worklog Assistant. This past week, I've come to greatly rely on one specific feature: the time tracking reminder balloon. This was a feature added last week. I've come to rely on these other features as well:
  • Tracking notes
  • Hyperlinked access to a specific issue
There are still more such features to come, I can't wait to see what I come to rely on next! Anyone else want to say what features they rely on?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Editing a wiki page and then it hit me...

I've had a wiki page on Atlassian's Confluence instance for some time now but it has been very bare. I get a lot of referrals through that page so I thought I should spice it up a bit.

You can visit the new page here. For comparison, the original page is here.

The surprising thing is that as I was writing up the copy for the page, I realized how many people Worklog Assistant is affecting these days. I had set a few quantifiable goals for the first year of Worklog Assistant and I'm totally surprised to have met and surpassed all of them in 3 months since the official release.

Thank you for trusting in me and most of all, providing honest feedback. I am really excited about the future of Worklog Assistant and it is great to have you along!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New release (1.0.1078)

A new release is available. It includes some bug fixes and a couple of new features.

One is a little message balloon to remind the user to track time. By default, the balloon pops up every 15 minutes but this can be changed in the configuration dialog. You can ignore the balloon or click it if you want to bring up Worklog Assistant and switch the JIRA task you are working on. An example of the message is below:

The second feature is the ability to do a free text search on a filter's results. If you wanted to quickly look at all your issues that were assigned to the "Core" component without creating a new filter, you would select the filter of all issues assigned to you and type in "Core" into the quick filter text box. An example screenshot is below:
That's all for now. Have a good week and happy time tracking!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New release (1.0.1075)

I've uploaded a new release available here. The only difference between this and the last release is a change to the preferred deployment mechanism for Worklog Assistant in an enterprise. The previous instructions will still apply, but are not preferred.

If you are curious, please visit the deployment guide for Worklog Assistant.

Thanks and have a good week!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New release (1.0.1074)

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available. I'm tempted to call this the "Ugly Betty" release because the UI has been completely redone to better support expectations. However, that would be a disservice because there are many changes that have gone into this release.

The release also contains a feature which allows you to specify the visibility to use when submitting worklogs. Sometimes, you only want to restrict visibility to a certain project role. Of course, JIRA lets you do this but it is supremely annoying because you have to manually remember to set it every single time you submit a worklog. Well, with Worklog Assistant, now you just set it once in the configuration dialog and forget about it! See the screenshot below for an example:

Last but not least, there have been some performance improvements made on the JIRA plugin. If you are using our JIRA plugin for Worklog Assistant and are experiencing performance issues, please update to the latest plugin. This should fix your issues.

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or issues, let me know.

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New beta

I've uploaded a new beta:
There are a bunch of fixes for some minor issues a well as some fixes for potentially major issues.

One new feature is the ability to restrict who can view the worklogs in JIRA by project role. So, for example, if you wanted to prevent the Customer role from viewing the specific worklog entries, you can always submit worklogs so they are only visible to Developers. That is pretty cool, now that I think about it! Note that JIRA still aggregates the worklogs so you cannot completely prevent others from seeing the progress.

I will make a stable release with these features next week. Please let me know if you have any issues with this beta and I will do my best to solve the problems as soon as possible.

Have a good week!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lucky Cat release (naming releases is fun)

A great release is available today! A lot of these changes are starting to be user directed which makes me very happy. There are two major additions that I would like to point out:
I know it might not seem like much but for me, doing the Mac build was a gigantic engineering effort. I still can't believe I'm shipping software on 3 platforms without batting an eyelash. I may be losing some sleep though :-)

Happy time tracking and have a good week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

See, I wasn't lying (Mac beta)

Worklog Assistant is now available for the Mac!

  • This is a beta
  • Identical to Windows and Linux
  • Universal binary (Intel or PPC)
  • Tested on OSX 10.5 - should work on 10.4, let me know if it doesn't
Get it while it's hot!

Please submit all feedback about anything that you love or hate about it.

Thanks again to the early testers! If there are no show stoppers, this will be released next week along with a bunch of other updates.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stable release delayed until next week

I'm rescheduling this week's stable release till next week since there is a bunch more testing that needs to be done on custom fields. For custom fields, I've had positive feedback from early testers (thank you!) so I am confident with the feature. However, I have not been able to spend as much time in testing as I would have liked so some more still needs to be done.

If you are pining for custom field functionality, please do try the beta version which is always available at

Mac update: The icons show up now! I've also been studying other Mac software disk images and I hope that WLA will have a first-class Mac experience as a result. That beta will be available some time this week.

Thanks and have a good week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Custom fields (new beta uploaded)

As promised earlier, a new beta has been uploaded with support for custom fields. Please note that there are levels of custom field support. For best support, you must install a plugin for your JIRA server. This plugin is documented here. The installation is a simple file copy.

If you install the plugin, you will also see values for a few new fields relating to time estimates: remaining estimate, original estimate and time spent.

This is quite possibly the biggest release in terms of number of people asking for this feature so I am happy to put up a beta. Please give it a run through and let me know of any problems. If no problems are found, I will make a formal release next week.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

New release (1.0.1062)

A new release of Worklog Assistant is available:
My favourite new feature is the ability to add an arbitrary set of issues to any returned filter. This feature was suggested by a user (thanks Sarah!) and I managed to go through a couple of iterations with a user online who was very helpful in pointing out issues and potential improvements (thanks Andy!) I can already tell you how useful this feature has been for me:
  • I marked TRACKER-118 (the above feature) as completed
  • Andy informed me of some usability issues
  • I typed in TRACKER-118 into the field, hit Enter
  • Right-clicked issue -> Workflow -> Reopen issue
  • Double-click to start tracking time again
Pretty sweet.

Support for custom fields (the biggest feature request) are almost completed in a branch and I hope to upload that to the beta site in the next few days. If you are interested in custom fields, please do try it out. I will make an announcement here when it is available. Note that support for custom fields (as well as some other features) will require installation of a RPC plugin to JIRA.

The Mac port is so close to complete, I am pretty upset that it isn't. The only issue is that I cannot get the darn icon to show up as the icon for the app bundle. If anyone reading would like to help me with that, send me an email and I'll send you the bundle. Otherwise I expect this to be uploaded to the beta site as well in the next few days once this issue is solved.

Thanks and have a good week!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beam me up! (New release + Mac)

Hello again.

This week has some updates to make Worklog Assistant work nicely with enterprise ("Beam me up!") deployments. The main changes are:
  • Ability to restrict visible filters via an "admin" console
  • Fully scriptable deployment including license installation
See the release notes (which are more or less a link to the docs!)

WLA is almost Mac capable (just got the Mac yesterday!) so if you are willing to help test on the Mac, send me an email. Please specify your version of the operating system, Intel v. PPC, as well as any suggestions you may have that would make it more "Mac-like". Though I'm also told I have to yet make it "Windows-like" :-)

Right now I'm thinking I need the following:
  • Universal binary
  • App Bundle
Did I get it right?

Thanks and have a good week.

Update: Here is WLA running under Mac. Got my work cut out for me...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enterprisey beta

For those of you looking to do a larger deployment, the new beta should be helpful. See the release notes. Comments are most welcome.

One new feature is the ability to restrict which filters users can see. For example, if you have a requirement that you can only log work against issues in specific states, you can ensure that users only ever see the filters corresponding to these states. This is in direct contrast to the current behavior which is to use whichever filters the user wants.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inappropriate checkin comment (new WLA release)

Release notes:
  • Make checking for updates optional (see configuration dialog)
  • Really fix bug where column visibilities would randomly reset to defaults (show all)
The inappropriate check in comment:

$ bzr log | grep FRIGGIN

A few days back, I noticed that if I cycled through my filters, occasionally, the column visibilities would be reset. That meant that all the fields I *didn't* care about would start showing up in the main window. I found it annoying but it did not happen too often so I filed a JIRA and continued working on other features.

I don't know what it was, but it started happening more and more often this week while I was using WLA. This was the most annoying bug in any piece of software ever written. And I wrote it! I could not rest until I fixed it. I made many false starts and even thought I fixed it at some point. I stared at the code for hours.

Finally, late last night I found the magic 8 lines needed to make it work.

So I am making a new release.

If you have had a problem with your column visibilities being reset, I strongly suggest you download this release.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New release (1.0.1047)

A new stable release of Worklog Assistant is available here.

The release notes cover all the major changes but my favourite new features are:
  • The new "notes" section. You can add notes while logging time and these get sent to JIRA when you submit a worklog.
  • Set the remaining time estimate when submitting worklogs
Also, enterprise licensing is now available. In the next little while, work will be done to make WLA more friendly to enterprise deployments. If you have any thoughts or suggestions for this or any other feature, please let me know.

I'd just like to say thanks to the people participating in the GetSatisfaction forums (hi!) and those of you who have sent me suggestions or comments by email. I am very grateful!

Remind me to tell you how the version numbering goes at some point :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Updated WLA::Next

Here you will find an updated WLA::Next, which has the following changes:
  • A new favourite feature: adding notes while logging time. This way, you don't have to wait until you are actually ready to publish your worklogs before entering the notes. You can see a screenshot here.
  • The update button is made invisible by default. When an update is available, it is made visible and a system tray message is shown. Hopefully this should be a little less jarring than: HEY YOU STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND UPDATE RIGHT NOW! It is also better for those instances where the "check-for-updates" code fails due to proxy issues.
I am also working on making WLA a little more friendly to enterprise-level deployments. Doesn't look like too many changes are necessary though. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them to me.

A new stable release will be made in the next week if no show stoppers are found here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The best part

Dear Users,

This post has some things I've been really wanting to say but I thought that I might seem too giddy. Today, I will take that risk because I feel that people should know why I will continue to do this.

Worklog Assistant is a boring application to most people but I have a strange tendency to want to solve boring, repetitive problems.

But that's not the best part.

I've even managed to snag paying customers (thank you!)

But that's not the best part.

The best part is the interaction with people who are using it. I love messages that start with:

"Hi, I find Worklog Assistant to be very useful, but it would be really nice if it could do XYZ"

Usually I respond with something along the lines of:

"What are you trying to accomplish?"

The conversation that results is like gold to me. They haven't always resulted in sales or modifications to the software but what they do is give me insight into organizational processes that I would never be able to experience otherwise.

That's the best part.

Thank you.

Alright, alright, maybe the insight is tied with the paying customers. But if the title of this post was "The tied-for-best part", that would be less interesting!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New WLA::Next

Now with release notes!

Unfortunately, I have had to revert the custom field code because it was giving me grief. I apologize for any inconvenience. I will add a better version soon.

Please yell at me in the comments if this affects you :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Out of beta (and announcing perpetual beta)

Build 1.0.1021 released!

Worklog Assistant, the only sane way to do time tracking with JIRA, has reached the all important milestone: build 1.0.1021 aka, I'm-not-in-beta-anymore-Mom! I've sent out all the thank-you licenses to beta testers who provided feedback so if I have missed you, please let me know ASAP!

For the impatient among us:
Changes in this build (from 1.0.1000)

I promise to have a proper change log on WLA's website in the near future, but for now, here we go. Changes in this build were mostly stabilization-related and improved support for Linux/Windows.
  • Notify the user when the SOAP API is disabled (would save a few days of back and forth!)
  • Support for Windows 2000 (yes, really)
  • Better support for Ubuntu 32/64-bit
  • Various bug fixes
Announcing WLA::Next

One of the things I've really enjoyed with the beta test period is the ability to push out updates whenever I feel like. Now that I am claiming that WLA is no longer in beta, I must try and make sure that the release is as stable as possible. However, I still have this urge to push out the latest and greatest.

Therefore, I've pulled a Google and set up

Every piece of functionality that I implement will be posted here before it makes it into the stable release. Fortunately, since I have automated pretty much every single thing except the coding, this isn't very much work for me.

Once you install the "next" build, all the updates will based on the "next" branch. So be warned that there is no going back!

What you can expect to find there right now:
  • Ability to set remaining time estimate when submitting a worklog: See here.
  • Custom fields - NOTE: JIRA only allows retrieval of custom fields by an administrator. So if you are not an administrator, you will not see this. If you are interested in this feature and this makes it useless to you, I have a planned workaround posted here. Please tell me if the workaround is acceptable and I'll see what I can do.
  • Use CTRL+Page Up/Page Down to change between the issues and pending worklogs tab
  • Adding comments. In the context menu for an issue (right-click an issue), there is now an "Add Comment" entry. I love this functionality. I find it so useful.
  • Various bug fixes (and new bugs?)
Please remember that WLA::Next should be considered alpha and maybe sometimes beta. I am providing it to get feedback as early as possible. If you do not care about new features, please stick with the main WLA code.

Thanks for all your feedback and here is to much more!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A short word on Linux support

While there is currently a x86 package that works on Ubuntu and some people are using it, it turns out that I need to support a wider variety of Linux distributions. Currently, the priorities on this side are:
  • Ubuntu x86_64 (done)
  • Debian (testing) x86/x86_64
  • Redhat x86/x86_64 /RPM support
Actually, if you use Debian or Ubuntu x86_64, WLA isn't a big deal to use. You just have to install it manually:

$ apt-get install ia32-libs
# Depending on your distro
$ apt-get install ia32-libs-gtk
$ dpkg -i --force-all WorklogAssistant-<version>_i386.deb

My intent is to eventually remove this manual step. The native Debian support looks like it will be a 1.1 thing. I expect the Ubuntu x64 to be fixed up by release time, providing an interested user gets back to me ;-)

Update: said user got back to me and we are good to go!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fixing up some first-time-use problems

One of the things I am trying hard to do is ensure that the first-time use of Worklog Assistant is as smooth as it can be. There are many things that conspire to cause pain for users. The biggest one for WLA being: "HTTP Error".


I am not sure how many users have gotten this message before, but I'm not sure I want to know. Fortunately, enough of them got in touch with me to let me know that they were experiencing this error.

Some hmming and hawing eventually zeroed in on the cause: SOAP was diabled on the JIRA instance they were trying to connect to! Doh.

So now the first thing WLA tries to do when connecting to JIRA is determine whether SOAP is enabled and points you to a resource you can use to enable SOAP:

I hope it helps more than hurts :-)

This addition will be in the upcoming release.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Feeds moved to Google


Feedburner feeds have been moved to Google. I really hope that there is no interruption as my feeds have yet to show up in my Google account. However, I can access them at the new URL so hopefully that is just some oversight on Google's part.

I had no choice but to move.

This will affect the 30 day feed, this feed and my personal blog. However, as the old feeds will be redirected, you should not need to change anything.

Cross your fingers.

Update: Feeds now show up in Google. Phew.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mo' useful features

Along with other various updates, two new features as a result of user requests:
  • Add worklog as a comment
  • Enter elapsed time directly as a JIRA time string
Why are these useful? Well, when someone is subscribed to comments and would like to know when you are working on an issue, you can easily notify them by adding your worklog as a comment. For entering elapsed time directly, sometimes we just want to quickly log some time!

A screenshot of both in action is below. In it, I am entering the elapsed time as a JIRA time string by typing in "1.5h". WLA automatically converts this to the canonical <H>h <M>m format. So 1.5h becomes 1h 30m.

Valid strings include:
  • 1.5h
  • 1h 5m
  • 5m
  • 1h
Invalid strings:
  • -1h
  • 1.5h 5m
There must be atleast 1 minute logged. If the format does not parse, WLA does not let you modify the field.

As for the second feature, by checking the box in the rightmost column, a comment is added to the issue which looks like the screenshot below:

If you are not interested in either field, lucky for you, you can right click the column headers and hide the ones you are not interested in.

Enjoy (and let me know how you like these updates!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ok... one more (and extended release date)

So I needed to get JUST one more real feature in (isn't that always the way?) That is, update notification. As I plan to provide upgrades as part of the purchase of a license key, I would be doing people a disservice if there was no way to notify users of an update.

The main thing I wanted to be sure of was that if the update logic was broken, I could fix it without requiring an upgrade. The way I did this was to hit up a server controlled by me that would send the client's app version and the server would send a HTTP status code. 200 for new upgrade, 404 for nope.

I also wanted to be sure that if the client could not contact the update server for whatever reason, that it didn't impede the usage of the application.

Since this feature needs a while to bake, I'm extending the beta by two more weeks to end Feb 2, 2009. If you find any issues with this new feature which make it a misfeature or you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Hot on the heels of RC1, we have a new build which features a Debian package intended to work on Ubuntu. It should also work on Debian. Let me know if you have any problems with it. Any licenses you received before will work on the Linux build as well.

Why did I release a Linux build? Well, I developed WLA on Linux so it's kind of odd not to do it. Additionally, almost every third question I get is "where's the Linux build?" Almost exactly 1/3 of the traffic to the site is Linux (and yes, I do exclude myself in these stats.) Mac is about 3% and their surfing habits do not make me think they are really interested yet.

The Linux build is really alpha in the sense that I'm not sure what to expect from the deb package. Once you manage to install it, you should be good to go though.

Download it and give it a run!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Release candidate + date - 1.0.938

Version 1.0.938 of Worklog Assistant for JIRA time tracking has been released. This is the first release candidate. This means I don't plan to add any features until release.

There are a few usability and outright bug fixes, including but not limited to:
  • Proper Unicode support - Please let me know if you experience different
  • Multi-line edits in a worklog comment are now enabled
  • Pending worklogs column geometries are also saved

Thanks to those of you who have sent your general feedback and any bugs you've encountered. Your licenses will be on their way at release time! If your trials have run out, please let me know.

Speaking of the release date, I've tentatively set this to be Jan 19, 2009. This should be enough time to stabilize any bugs in this build.

What's next

As I am not adding any features, the main thing remaining to do is to implement the Ubuntu installer. I am unsure whether there are any Mac users who are needing WLA so I will hold off until there is a need.

Looking at the list of stuff to do, a few things jump out at me:

  • When publishing a worklog, add the same worklog as a comment - Likely, this will be implemented via a checkbox column in the pending worklogs tab.
  • Ability to update the estimate when publishing a worklog.
I've got about 20 more improvements scheduled but these are my favourites. My criteria for choosing is based only on usability and functionality. If it will help a bunch of people, I'll do it. This is a not-so-subtle message to you saying that if you've got some improvements you'd like to see, send them my way. You've done a damn fine job so far :-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New support channel

I've gotten a few emails with some extremely good suggestions and the occasional bug. I've been looking at other ways to provide support somewhat publicly just so that things don't gather dust in my inbox and happened on GetSatisfaction. This is apparently the cool kid's way to provide support. So now, when you visit WLA's website, you'll see a feedback tab in the left-hand corner of the screen like in the image below. Feel free to use that to ask a question, submit a suggestion or just praise WLA. You can always contact me directly as always, but this is more Web 2.0 and once the database builds up, it might even guess which question you wanted answered!

Next Gimp skill to learn: How to draw proper arrows.

Store in beta - 10% off

During the beta Worklog Assistant will be available at 10% off so if your trial runs out, you can purchase right away at a discount. All the license key generation is automatic so you should get the key right away. When I purchase software online, I really like it when I get the key right away so I thought it was only fair I do the same for my own application. I did have to pull some hair out to make it work seamlessly but I hope the result meets your standards. I know it meets mine.

About this blog

We strongly believe that tracking your time properly is the first step to deterministic software development. If you feel that you have been guessing or you can't be bothered to remember to log time, Worklog Assistant might be for you!

Give it a try!

Please download a free 30-day trial today by clicking on the link below: Download