Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Task Managers and Tracking Time Usage

I've spent quite a bit of time on evaluating task managers.

+ TaskJuggler fails to install even from the openSUSE RPMs:
    Depending on the selected version, the RPM is missing libkcal.so.2 or something else. Too hard.

Tasque is just too simple for my needs. It is little more than a list with a checkbox.

+ Task is a command line app.

+ ktimetracker (currently V4.4.10-3.2) is wonderful. It allows:
  • Functional decomposition of projects/tasks/clients
  • Automatic application usage logging
  • Time accumulations by different tasks and time periods
  • Integration with the KDE PIM (Kontact)
  • Chronological listing of events with the ability to add comments
The only problem is that the last bullet (for me the most desirable) apparently cannot be exported. I have tried copy/paste, Export this and that... Nope, it is all locked into the app. You can look but you can't touch.

Now, all that precious data resides inside an RFC 4225 ical (*.ics) file. Cool. I'll just open the ics, right?

Annnxxxx. WRONG. Very complicated, linear file with all kinds of irrelevant (to me) information, like lay days for the Gregorian calendar etc.

OTOH, the precious File > Edit History window does exactly what I want. I just can't get it out of the machine!! (Well, I haven't yet tried GIMP Screen shot with OCR, perhaps that will work...)

So my options are (in addition to extensive googling, from which it is not my friend):

1. Figure out how to get the Edit History window rendition out of ktimetracker. (I've written the developers, awaiting a reply.)

2. Find a similar app that isn't dead (GnoTime looked like the right answer but has apparently disappeared, certainly not supported by the openSUSE repositories). TaskCoach and rachota seemed promising but fail to do what ktimetracker does.

3. Figure out how to parse the complex ICS file.

I've failed on 1) and 2) so far. You'd think there would be a zillion ICS parsers out there for 3), but they are all libraries or modules (Ruby???!!) for developers. Surely there must be an off the shelf app that does this?

Enquring minds...

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