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