Calendar Synch

At work, we use a ticketing/timetracking app that I wrote a while back. It’s served us well, and, hopefully in the near future, we’ll roll it out to be a full-fledged stand-alone product (we’re doing some closed beta-testing right now – if you’re a consultancy/digital studio looking for something like this, let me know!).

Today I finally added a feature I’ve been wanting for ages: Synching the ticket-list with my calendars. It’s a fairly simple process. Based on the query string, I can spit out a webcal:// feed of all tickets, all tickets for a particular client, tickets of a particular type, assigned to a particular person, in a particular state, or any combination of any of those. These then just show up in my calendar under my Calendar subscriptions, and allow me to see at a glance what’s coming up. I’ve set my subscription to refresh hourly so I can see what everyone’s doing.

Currently, I’m only writing iCal events, but I’m playing with being able to send to-do lists this way. For “tasks” that are meetings, I can send these as invites to the attendees, which is pretty cool too – all through our centralized ticketing & time-tracking system. Mostly, as a manager, I can quickly look at the calendars for my staff to see who’s working on what when so I have a quick idea of availability. And even my own, which I sometimes lose track of.

Writing an ICS file turns out to be even more trivial that I had thought it would be – I honestly don’t know why I don’t have this as a standard part of every calendar module on every site as a subscription option. Now that I’ve written a simple function to pass in an array of date info and spit out an ICS file, I likely will.

But what’s most rewarding about this work is the immediate use this has received by our beta-test group – who were used to using calendars to manage their work before, but wanted something more central – so now they have the best of both worlds: centralized, web-based ticketing/time-tracking, but each user can still continue to use their desktop & phone calendars as they used to.

It’s nice when an afternoon’s project works out so well!