Launched Redmine at $WORK

I took a new job in June, still in a datacenter for the French government. We needed a tool to manage our projects, there was nothing more than some spreadsheets with major goals and pending actions. Definitely not enough.

What we did ?

So I introduced Redmine there. I was using it in my previous position for daily tickets, with just one project and a few specific plugins (mainly an embryo of CMDB with the datacenter plugin and the draft plugin for writing looong tickets).

For this new redmine, I decided to use multiple private projects (one for each application we’re hosting, and some others for our own infrastructure projects), and to map real users to redmine users. But it was just a start point since my boss and I soon realized standard redmine without plugin was no enough for us. Luckily, Redmine is a very flexible tool. We decided to keep the application private until we addressed some major wishes we add :

  • improve cross project views: sometimes it’s not intuitive where you are between cross-project views and project ones. Plus some views are difficult to reach (you need 3 clicks to reach the global Gantt view!). Specific plugin for this one, which implements #5920 and adds some items in top_menu
  • improve project memberships system: we wanted to reflect our hierarchical organization. Each team has a parent, and some members. At project level, some teams have a role (same idea as groups), but we would define explicitly which members of the organization are specifically involved in the project. It’s not finished yet, but it works and it’s available at github : redmine_organizations plugin
  • add a public calendar to communicate our workload, so that developers know when we have admins available to install their application. It will probably not be useful for anybody else, but it’s also available at github : redmine_workload_calendar
  • add graphs / pie charts. It needed to be fully configurable, so for the moment I have a private plugin using jqPlot. I define code in the interface, ruby to define the source, and javascript to define the rendering options. It’s not ready for lamda users, maybe later.
  • add doodle functionality: Felix’s plugin is perfect for that, I recommend it : thegcat/redmine_doodles at github
  • add local avatars functionality: I’m not really happy with the existing plugin, so we use gravatars for now, and I’ll fork it or build my own one soon
  • improve notifications : I have a tiny hack for the moment, but I’m not really happy with it. I want to be able to manage notifications per user, project, maybe tracker, depending on their roles on the project. For the moment it’s a hack in a private plugin, and many addresses with a dumb domain so that notifications are not sent. Argl.
  • less important, improve the theme: I built a custom theme based on basecamp theme for redmine

The disclosure & the future

We presented the application to our team yesterday. They’ll start using it next week, I’m pretty curious to see what criticisms and great ideas will emerge.

I have some ideas for plugins which will be too specific to be open-sourced. I don’t think anybody cares how I’ll pull our Cyrus/Postfix clusters status into a dashboard inside our redmine. But here are some more “mainstream” plugins I may work on in the next months :

  • a local avatar plugin : it might be a fork of the existing one. I need some more functionalities, such as being able to define a default avatar, or croping uploaded image as I want, etc.
  • a fine-grained notification plugin
  • a plugin to add knowledge base functionalities to wiki : “did this page help you ?” etc.
  • a plugin to have many wiki-like pages in the public section (not related to project ; for now you have only one welcome page)
  • a dashboard for installations with many projects : easily retrieve stats on project (custom) fields, roles present or not present, etc.
  • a plugin to add tagging functionalities for wiki pages
  • a plugin to have dokuwiki or spip replace cleanly redmine wiki
  • a plugin to see who is connected at the moment, maybe a chat box too
  • … (it’s late, I don’t remember ;))

A lot of work to come! I also have many things I want to do on redmine core in the next year. But for the moment, I need some rest.