Gantt Charts for PlannerX – Basecamp / ActiveCollab

March 17, 2009

Gantt Charts are great to visualize project plan, link dependencies and show reports to top management!

Should we include Gantt Charts in PlannerX?

This has been a big question! We know there are many people out there (in most web based collaboration / project management communities – including Basecamp and activeCollab) who really want it. And then there is this idea of focusing on collaboration to make a project success – rather than charts!

We don’t have Gantt Charts in the current version of PlannerX.

But, we are working on adding some level of Gantt chart support in an upcoming version. It’s difficult to create Gantt charts with Basecamp because Basecamp does not have due dates for to-do lists or tasks. Nor does it have estimates and dependencies. activeCollab does make it easier to add / manage these.

Bottomline: Our activeCollab version may have Gantt Charts sooner than Basecamp version. But we are surely thinking about this.

If you want Gantt Charts, please vote for it over on our GetSatisfaction support system!

PlannerX and usability

March 16, 2009

Feedback we received so far about PlannerX:

A common feedback from all people we talked is that it’s easy to use and strips out all complications.

These comments make us proud because we spent considerable time tweaking UI and usability of PlannerX. As a matter of fact, about 15 days ago, Naveen Dhanuka – a good pal and usability expert, told me that PlannerX is “clumsy and highly unintuitive“.  Now, it wasn’t that the product was in finished state at that time, but his comments upset me. We had already spent weeks trying to get it to work with keyboard and make it really easy to view the plan and edit it.

Naveen gave me a lot of suggestions. I realized that many people won’t even know what an Outliner is. Since I (and my team) was using OmniOutliner for long, does not mean that everyone else will be familiar with a tree structure and creating a work breakdown with that.

The next fortnight was spent ironing out the workflow and adding hints and making overall usability improvements. (Thanks Naveen!) Here’s a sample of some feature we built in PlannerX trying to make it easier for the users.

  • If there is only one project, it will load / reload by default
  • When a project plan opens, first row will be in edit mode – indicating that editing is possible!
  • Changed icons for three levels of outline to explicitly say “milestone”, “to-do list” and “to-do”. We designed them to be similar to Basecamp icons too!
  • Added a hint / status text at the top of the application. It shows up when you start, and in between where we felt we could show a hint. E.g. if you use indent button, it will tell you that you could also use the Tab key!
  • Focus mode – ensured that icons for levels remain intact. (Tech Note: We are using AdvancedDataGrid Flex component to show the outline, and we change its data provider when you focus.)
  • Naveen was really mad at our use of red color! I kind of like it, but we reduced it a bit in the UI 😉
  • We have Quick Help to show keyboard shortcuts and explain key concepts.
  • Milestones show as bold!
  • Completed items show in light gray.
  • We also took great pains to ensure focus stays in proper places. E.g. batch update (Ctrl + .) takes focus to the text field to make entry, pressing enter updates all selected items, and brings focus back to item you were editing.
  • Focus mode – font size is bigger to let you focus on milestone / list you are working on!

While I look back at it, it’s small things like this, that would make an application more fun to use. We kept the graphic design very simple – bare bones actually – and focused more on interaction and speed.

What do you think about PlannerX’s usability? What are your suggestions?

We are eager to hear!

Amazing! PlannerX takes pain out of planning Basecamp projects – video

March 15, 2009

PlannerX – our latest product – allows you to plan your Basecamp projects about 5 times faster. It shows you an outline view of your project, helps you navigate quickly using keyboard and lets you edit the plan right in place. You can use shorthand for dates and assignees and save the entire plan in one go. (Gone are the days to keep clicking save / submit buttons!!).

Checkout this demo video. And if you use Basecamp, go ahead and take our free trial.

PlannerX – Redefine the way you manage your projects online with Basecamp

March 15, 2009

PlannerX shows you an outline view of your Basecamp projects’ plan, helps you navigate quickly using keyboard and lets you edit right in place. You can manage the entire plan from a single page – 5 times faster! Take a trial and sign up.

It’s like OmniOutliner meets Basecamp!

Plan your Basecamp projects 5 times faster

Plan your Basecamp projects 5 times faster

What’s the story behind?
I use OmniOutliner to structure my ideas and define project plans. We also create Work Breakdown Structures for our projects. We have been using a variety of tools for this so far. But felt we needed something better. Something that will tie closely with our project management / collaboration systems. In the current economic situation, it’s also important that everyone becomes more productive. We wanted something that will save us time. PlannerX is a result of this quest. We use it on our projects internally at Magnet, and it saves us a lot of time (and money!)

What makes PlannerX useful?
It’s speed and ease of use. PlannerX shows you the entire project plan in a single page. You don’t have to wade through screens to get a picture of your project. You can reorder items, add or delete them (with keyboard of course) and even assign due dates (to milestones) and assignees. You can really work 5 (or more) times faster with PlannerX.

Is it free?
We do have a trial version available that shows you the plan and lets you try out all features of PlannerX. But you can’t save the plan. We allow you to export it though!

So, how much does it cost?
We have priced it at $9/month. There is a special discount offer too – you can buy an annual subscription for just $90. That’s a full two months free! PlannerX will save you many hours of work, this will be an investment that will pay high returns. I suggest you sign up right away!

Is it really worth it?
We use it on our projects for about 5 months now. This tool have saved us hundreds of hours – literally. Everyone who beta tested it was also amazed with its value. I think PlannerX is worth much more than its price. We kept the price affordable so that more people can use it.

Does it work with Free Basecamp Accounts?
Yes! PlannerX works with all Basecamp accounts. It just requires that you enable API access. It works with owner accounts as well as client accounts.

Does it work with Backpack?
Not yet. If you would like us to add Backpack support, please vote for the feature on GetSatisfaction.

Does it work with activeCollab?
We are working on another product based on the core of PlannerX that will allow managing activeCollab projects. We will keep you posted on the progress here!

Does it work with Wrike / goPlan / other project management systems?
Not yet. If you would like us to add support for your favorite project management system, please post an idea using the Feedback tab on right.

One final question, is it really easy?
You will love it. You can use arrow keys to go up and down in project plan, edit things easily and even update an entire batch at once. We designed PlannerX with ease of use in mind. We wanted something that was easy and fast for ourselves. And that’s what you will get!

Ok, sounds good. What next?
You can go ahead and take our free trial. If you are ready to sign up ($9/month, $90 for full year), go ahead and sign up!

Do you use Basecamp? Want to plan your projects faster?

March 7, 2009

Do you use Basecamp to manage your projects? Do you use milestones / to-do lists / to-do items to manage and assign activities on your project?

If so, we have something exciting coming up for you. A tool to plan your project faster – much faster.

Here’s a teaser screenshot!

plannerx - plan your basecamp projects faster

Reports module requires MySQL 5+

March 5, 2009

If you get this error while installing Reports module, you are running an old version of MySQL (earlier than MySQL 5). Reports module requires at least MySQL 5 since it uses views on activeCollab tables to pull ticket categories and activity levels.

Error (DBQueryError)
Query failed with message 'You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'VIEW IF EXISTS `acx_view_ticket_categories`' at line 1'
Error params:
File: NULL
Line: NULL
Sql: DROP VIEW IF EXISTS `acx_view_ticket_categories`
Error number: 1064
Error message: You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'VIEW IF EXISTS `acx_view_ticket_categories`' at line 1

#0 Error->__construct(Query failed with message 'You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'VIEW IF EXISTS `acx_view_ticket_categories`' at line 1', 1) called at [/]

Upgrade to MySQL 5+.

Reports Module v1.2 – Compatible with aC 2, Printing, Localization and more

March 4, 2009

We just released the latest, 1.2 version of Reports Module.

Icons in v1.2 main bar

Icons in v1.2 main bar

Here are some feature additions:

  • Works with activeCollab 1.1+ as well as activeCollab 2.0+
  • You can now print Reports!
  • Added localization support – you can now translate Reports interface in your own language
  • UI and performance enhancements – icons, negative value support, date format etc!
You can now print your reports

You can now print your reports

Buy Now

This upgrade addresses most of the feature requests we received and bugs discovered. If you are an existing customer, you should have got your free upgrade by now.

If you are not a customer yet, buy it now. It’s only $39!

SCRUM in under 10 minutes video

February 27, 2009

SCRUM is an excellent agile project management methodology. Our Reports module for activeCollab (and our own project / product development methods) are heavily inspired from SCRUM.

Here’s a quick video that will teach you core concepts of SCRUM in just 8 minutes! It’s a must watch!

Video courtesy Axosoft.

Do you use SCRUM? Are you a Reports module customer? How do you use it?

Picture Puzzle – a Mac OSX Memory Test Game

February 25, 2009
This product is no longer maintained.

Aimed for the moon, but reached on mars! This is what happened to us. We applied for an iPhone developers account at start of December. It’s been about 3 months now, and we have not got the Developers Account despite sending all documents and repeated followups.

We have 4 iPhone products ready to deploy, but our hands are tied because we don’t yet have a developer’s account. The frustration levels went so high, we decided to just drop the plans to release these products.

Then we got an idea! Why not release them on the Mac?

So from frustration to joy, we present to you Picture Puzzle!

Download Picture Puzzle (8M, free, Mac OSX)

Download Picture Puzzle (8M, Mac OSX)


Picture Puzzle is a Mac OSX memory test game. You see a collection of pictures one after another. The objective of the game is to arrange them in right order after initial display. This tests how well you can remember the order of images. It stimulates your brain and helps you remember things better.



Apply all memory tricks you may have learned. Tell us if you beat the game!

Download Picture Puzzle (8M, free, Mac OSX)

Download Picture Puzzle (8M, Mac OSX)

It’s a free download!

Do you have an iPhone Developer Program sad story? Let us know!

Do you think you have good memory?

February 23, 2009

If you think you have sharp memory and can remember well, wait till tomorrow!