Simple Time Tracking
DOS TimeTool is a simple tool I use to keep track of the projects on which I work. Basically, it amounts to a timeclock. It's not fancy or complicated, but it does the job for me.
DOS TimeTool is available from my downloads page. It's free for any use and is licensed under the GNU GPL.
Figure 1: DOS TimeTool running in a DOSEMU window under Linux.
Features and Use: What's to say? The best way to learn about the tool is to download it and try it out. Every command is clearly shown on the toolbar, and there's a bit of documentation with it, in case you're still confused. There are a few nice features about the program that I'd like to mention here:
It "works" even when it's turned off. I don't keep this running all the time, but I press Quit after I've started the clock on any particular task. This saves the current state of the program, and when you start it up again it displays the accrued time as if it were never turned off. This allows me to carry it around on a floppy disk and use it whether I'm at my desk, at home, or in the computer lab.
You don't have to stop a task to start another one. DOS TimeTool only accrues time to one project at a time, so starting a task automatically ends the last task.
You can export to a comma separated variable file. For convenience, DOS Timetool doesn't prompt you for a filename; the file name used is the date + ".CSV", in the format, "ccyymmdd.CSV". This can be imported to most spreadsheets and databases, and is readable by any text editor. Using this feature, if I need to leave work in a hurry, I can press "X" and catch up on my timesheet the next day.
Source code is included. DOS TimeTool is written in ASIC ("Almost Basic") 5.00, so it can be modified by just about anyone, regardless of their level of programming expertise.
Why DOS? I wrote this in DOS because I wanted it to run everywhere, and this simple file, under 30K, will operate on my DR-DOS powered laptop, under Linux's DOSEMU or VMWare, in any flavor of Windows, or on a Mac or Amiga with a DOS emulator. (For those of you who are thinking, "if you wanted to write once and run anywhere you should use Java," I'll simply point out that there are only two DOS JVMs that I know of, Sun's JavaPC and Transvirtual's Kaffe, they both require a huge amount of memory, and neither of them is free. On the other hand, this tiny file uses a tiny amount of memory, and is more than portable enough for my needs.)
Running under Linux: Figure 1 shows DOS TimeTool running under Linux in DOSEMU. You should use DR-DOS, MSDOS, or IBM PC-DOS with DOSEMU if you want to share your datafile with Windows. I do not recommend running it under the FreeDOS that ships with RedHat Linux 6. The reason is that FreeDOS doesn't strip the carriage returns and linefeeds out of your input text as the other DOSes do, so projects entered in DOS won't be accessible to FreeDOS, and vice-versa. I recommend downloading the DR-DOS hdimage from Lineo (Caldera)... it's already configured.