Timetool for Windows
Simple Time Tracking
As with its older cousin, the DOS Timetool, the best way to learn about this software 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. There are a few nice features about the program that distinguish it from any other program of this type I've ever seen:
It "works" even when it's turned off. I don't keep this running all the time, but it's on my quick launch bar. I click on the exit button 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 or a memory stick and use it whether I'm at my desk, at home, or in the computer lab. Used in this way, TimeTool uses no resources whatsoever unless you're interacting with it.
You don't have to stop a task to start another one. Cratchit.org TimeTool only accrues time to one project at a time, so starting a task automatically ends the last task.
It allows multiple tasks with the same project number. I use this to track sub-tasks of a single project. I then roll these together in my spreadsheet when I'm calculating my time per client.
You can export to a comma separated variable file. For convenience, DOS Timetool suggests a default filename; the 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. If you're industrious you could use it to gather timesheets from team members.
I dislike dialogs, so they're used here sparingly, and not at all for data entry. Instead, there is a command bar below the toolbar. Clicking a button on the toolbar puts the needed controls fields in the command bar and leaves them there. This makes it a snap to enter multiple projects or adjust the time on a number of projects, and the command bar doesn't obscure your view of the data like a dialog does.
The data file format is plain text. Anybody, an I mean anybody, can understand it immediately.
Source code is available. Cratchit.org TimeTool for Windows is written in Delphi 6 Personal Edition, which is available for free from Borland.com. It uses no proprietary extensions. It should be readily understandable to any programmer of even modest ability.
Cratchit.org TimeTool will not minimize itself to the system tray. This feature is not implemented because I want to maintain cross-platform compatibility. However, you can use the excellent utility by Igor Nys called TrayIt! to add this functionality to TimeTool or any other Windows app. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Even though this is a Windows program that contains quite a bit of graphical elements, Cratchit.org Timetool for Windows is small enough to fit on a floppy disk along with the data file and still leave enough room for a boatload of exported .CSV files.
As far as I know, Cratchit.org TimeTool is the only Open Source program of its kind that works when it's not running. I've been careful to make it easily portable to Linux and keep the user interface simple and innovative. If you'd like to compare it with other projects, have a look at these: