Project Time Tracker

Project Time Tracker

Current Version:    1.6.0

Links:    Google Play

Content

1. Description of different data entities

2. Setting up

3. Usage

4. Interfacing

5. Maintenance

1. Description of different data entities

Project Time Tracker consists of a few different data entities and relations that together build the application.

A. Projects
Projects are the major brackets around subprojects and tasks. A project can have as many subprojects as you like, but a subproject may only belong to one project. You can use projects the way that best suits your personal requirements, e.g. you can use projects for different customers or jobs or even a mixture of both. Projects can be edited and deactivated, but not deleted.

B. Subprojects
Subprojects are smaller parts than projects, i.e. you can specify in a more detailled manner, what the tracked time was related to, but still remain in a very repeating way. Examples are like projects for a customer, special tasks you do at work or different tariffs you are getting paid for (like day- and nightshift, paid breaks or standby times). Subprojects can be changed and deactivated, but not deleted.

C. Tasks
Tasks are the granular elements used for tracking times. Tasks are used for storing start- and endtimes, as well as additional info:
Name: Name of the task. Should be something like a short description that helps you to identify the single tracked time.
Description: Additional info. Can be something like where you have been or what you did.
Internal Description: Info that might be useful. Is intended not to be handed over to anybody else at a later stage. You might also use this field for tagging – more info you can find at the usage of filters.
Unpaid break time: your logged working time is decreased by this time.
Please note PTT is letting you enter start-, end- and breaktimes that result in a negative total – you’ll have your reason for doing so.
Tasks can be deleted any time.

D. Filters
Filters help you to analyze data about your entered tasks. A filter lists all tasks matching the filter-criteria and you can view filtered tasks as charts (grouped per day), as well as export all tasks showing up in the filtered listing. Filters can narrow down the list of tasks by filtering on partial name, description, internal description, as well as projects and start-time of task. Filters can be deleted any time. Filters appear in the navigation menu you cann access by swiping in from the left (or right if reading order in your country is right-to-left). PTT ships with a predefined filter showing all entered tasks.

 

If you filter on a tasks name, description etc., this is always working as a filter on a part of the field. Let us have a look at an example: If you have a task named “working on-site at MyCustomer Ltd.” and a second one named “at MyCustomer” both will match if you filter for partial name “MyCustomer”. With this in mind, you can use the field “Internal Description” (or any other field, as you wish) for tagging your tasks.

E. Exports
Exports specify the format of exported tasks, as well as the targets, where and how data will be stored. At the moment, there is only one export format available (comma-separated-values, stored on your cellphone). Please note the app is trying to export data to your external storage, so in this process please have 2 things in mind:
1. When you want to export data, your phone may not be connected to a (Windows-)PC – when connecting a PC usually mounts external storage as drives, so it is not available for apps anymore. Please disconnect your phone before starting to export.
2. If you export data it is usually stored at external storage, that might be readable / writeable by other apps. In case you are exporting confidential data, you should move it away from external storage, if you don’t trust some apps at your phone.

If you need a special format your exported tasks have to have or a special target (like FTP upload) please let us know – we will think about a way to fulfil your requirements.

2. Setting up

A. Projects and Subprojects
Project Time Tracker comes with a preinstalled project and subproject, so you could start right away. If you want to use all potential PTT can provide you should create your own additional (sub-)projects.
Each Subproject belongs to exactly one project, whereas a project can have as many subprojects as you like. The easiest way is to start with entering your projects – you can add new projects by tapping the plus-button in the actionbar of the app. A project has to be activated to be selectable in subprojects. If you deactivate a project this has neither an effect on the visibilty of existing tasks, nor on the visibility of subprojects when creating new tasks. Please don’t forget to hit the “save” button when you are done with editing.
After you have added all projects you can switch over to the subprojects. Please note you can not create a subproject without adding it to a project. If you do not mark a subproject as being “active”, it will not be selectable in new tasks.

B. Filters
Filters help you to keep an overview on your tracked tasks, but are also needed for deeper analysis, as well as data exports. A filter can be created by selecting “Settings” from the menu, followed by “Manage Filters”. You see a list of already created filters. There you can add new Filters with “+” from the menu.
When editing a filter, you can set different options to filter on, like parts of name, description etc. As mentioned before, you can use these partial text-filters for tagging.

To use filters productively it is cruzial to understand the way filters work on dates / times: minimum date and time, as well as maximum date and time, always filter on Start-date and -time of a task. Through this it is assured, that one task always belongs to one day, only. As a result of this, there may arise situations that look strange at a first glance. Think of the following: You create a task starting at 01/01/2015 10:00 pm and ending at 01/02/2015 11:00 pm. This task has a duration of 25 hours, that will completely belong to 1st of January (because the startdate is in that day). If you want to ship around this and would like to have precise matching of times to the dates they took place on, you should split this task into two. Please note you don’t have to do this right away, there is no limitation to create/edit tasks in the past or in the future.

3. Usage

A. Overview
The Overview-Screen you see when you start the app gives you a short summary with current key-figures. These key-figures are using internal “floating” filters, what means they have the same special-behaviour regarding dates as mentioned above, but also have all advantages of ordinary filters, i.e. charts and exports.
To make the given comparisons useful, the overview-screen compares the given timeframes with the same timeframes of former periods. Example: If today is 10th of July, the overview-screen compares the current month (without future tasks, i.e. til 10th of this month) with all tasks entered for June 1st til June 10th (same time!). By doing so, you can see if the amount of logged hours have changed.

When you tap one of the cards, you can see what tasks make up the given totals, as well as export data or analyze it graphically.

 

B. Create Tasks
There are in total 4 ways to create tasks:
– open the menu and tap the “current task”
– in a tasklist, tap the blue Action Button
– tap the menu button in the app and select “new task”
– Project Time Tracker has 2 launcher icons – one for the main app, one is a shortcut for creating a new task / view what is currently being tracked

When you are starting to track a new task, the workflow is very short and straightforward:
– you start a new task in one of the a.m. ways
– you can (but don’t have to) add information like subproject or a task title
– you hit the “save” button at the bottom
The app is saving your data and you can focus on what you are doing. You can see you are currently tracking a job at two positions in the app: in the menu it shows “name” and “since when” at the top and the floating action button at task lists switches its color to red.

When you are done and you want to finish tracking you open the task screen again (via one of the a.m. ways, doesn’t matter which), fill in a name and end tracking, tap the “save” button – that’s it!

4. Interfacing

A. Defining data Exports
Defining Data Exports is not complicated (at the moment). Please go to “Menu” -> “Settings” -> “Configure Data Exports”. You can add export definitions with the “+” button – anyhow at the moment there is only one export type that isn’t customizable – others will follow.

B. Exporting Tasks
Exporting tasks is very simple: In a tasklist you tap the menu-button and select “export”. A dialog prompts for selecting the export configuration.

B1. Simple CSV Export
Simple CSV Export has no customizable settings. During export it prompts for a path – that’s it. Please note Simple CSV Export saves to external storage, i.e. exported data might be accessible by other apps. To keep your data secure, please remove exported data files from your phone.

5. Maintenance

A. Data Backup
Due to the reason Project Time Tracker keeps all your data at your device you don’t have to care about data safety at cloud storage services or about the transport between device and servers. This also has some downsides: you have to take care about backups yourself. Backing up data itself is quite simple, in the menu, you go to “Settings” -> “Backup data”, select a path / filename in external storage and the app takes care of everything else. Please note the device may not be connected to a PC during backup. As mentioned before, you should remove the backed up data from your device as fast as possible and keep in a secure storage location.

!WARNING!
We encountered some problems to find backups and data exports with some apps of other vendors, e.g. Google Mail was not displaying these files (when we were trying to attach to e-mails), whereas in Yahoo Mail this was possible. Perhaps this topic is related to file names (endings), so a possible solution might be to give a well-known-filename-ending. Please note this might cause other problems, especially if an app tries to open these files.

B. Restore
Restoring data is not very complicated, as long as you mind the following steps:
– backup your current data (just in case you want to go back to it)
– place the backup to be restored at the external storage at your phone
– in case you used a PC, disconnect the device
– start the app, go to “Settings” -> “Restore” and select the file to be restored (please be careful to select the right file)
– PTT will terminate itself, BUT ONE MANUAL STEP IS NEEDED: go to the list of running apps (usually the “O” at the bottom of the screen), search for “Project Time Tracker” and either swipe it to the left or right from the list, or click the “x”. PTT should be completely terminated now
– now, start the app by tapping the icon in the launcher. The first startup might take longer than usually, but finally the app should start up and a dialog will inform you about the executed restore
– IMPORTANT: check your data!
In case something goes wrong during restore, PTT will try to recover with a brand new database. When that is happening, please try all steps again. If that still doesn’t help, please contact our support via e-mail.

C. Multiple Devices
At the moment, using PTT at multiple devices is possible without problems, BUT there is no way to sync data between them.

D. Device Migration (= new phone)
If time has come to shift over to a new phone the process is rather simple – you create a backup-file at the old phone and restore it at the new one. That’s it.

Hopefully this small manual covers all problems or questions that might arise, but in case you are missing something please contact support.