Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Timemanagement made easy

Due to my duty to exactly track every work item I solve (or at least work on ;) ), I've created a tool, which helps me a little bit with this.

The TAMAssistant is in fact a quite complicated Tool to configure, but if this is done, it's really a big (small) helper for writing files (XML or encrypted XML, but extensible with Plugins) which contains your efforts (I leave it to you, what you're going to do with this files ;) )

The tool itself is mainly in the background, hidden in the SystemTray and reacts on Hotkeys and DoubleClicks on the symbol. It was developed for WinXP, but already tested on Vista32, Server2003 and Server08.


Above you can see the starting window of the tool. It doesn't need much time to get used to the provided functionality here. Main purpose is just to select a project you're working on, set the time and enter a description.

Of course it can be a little bit more complex, if you know, what this is capable of :)

  • HotKey to toggle window hidden (default Windows+T)
  • Automatic insertion of the time when opening of the window
  • Automatic creation of files which represents the current day
  • Encrypt XML and im/export the key
  • Autoinsert prefixes, depending on the selected project
  • Select advanced prefix structures after project is chosen
  • Direct edit of the generated file
  • Send the file to googledocs/mail recipient/dropbox
  • Edit the tasks of one file in an overview
  • Open the last inserted Task
  • Extend the last inserted Task till now
  • Shortcuts for the most common functionalities

To use all this functionality, you have to configure the Application to your needs.

In this first screen, you see the Project which you can choose. Of course this is editable and the sort order defines the order of the DropDownBox to choose the project.


On the second Tab of the Properties you can define some common ways for utilizing your files. This means for example your default directory, your preferred email-address to send the file to, gdoc credentials and so on.


The last Tab of the Properties let you define some misc settings and the FileAccessor. This FileAccessor can be a Plugin to write the Tasks in another Structure or maybe in a DB. To create such a Plugin, please read the "News"-Section in Tool or drop me a line.

To let you see, how such a generated file can look like: here is an example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>

You can see, that the date and expenses are encoded with the german Cultureinfo: Please be aware of that regarding further usages of the files! Except from that, this structure is self explaining.

Deployment of the Tool is handled via .NET ClickOnce but the Assistant has overwritten the standard functionality of this deployment method, so you can choose when and if to update. Automatic updates are per default activated and gets executed on startup and every few hours. If you have troubles with the .NET-provided setup page: use IE or use the direct-Download.

This tool is licensed under CreativeCommons and if you need the source, or just want to have a look at it: drop me a line. For questions please use the comments.

Creative Commons

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