Thursday, 12 July 2018

osTicket - updated review

Some time ago I published a comparison of OTRS and osTicket. I've now had the chance to use osTicket as a daily task management tool, so I thought it might be worth updating my initial impressions.

It has taken a bit to get used to osTicket coming out of a CRM and OTRS as my task management platforms. Specifically, understanding how tickets and tasks relate to one another. The way I've been thinking of it is this:

A ticket is almost like a mini-project - it can be used standalone, with references back to a client creating the ticket and keeping it updated, with tasks (like a work breakdown structure) applied against the ticket. The ticket can't be closed until all the tasks are completed.

Tasks on the other hand, can be autonomous of a ticket and are quick and easy to start, fill in and then to close. There is no link back to a creating user though.

I've used both extensively - many of the tickets I have running have numerous tasks dependent on them (although it is a mutual dependency) and I can farm tasks out to different people to get the job done. In fact, within the work I'm doing now, I've been using OpenProject (which I'll make some notes on soon) to manage the top level project stuff, then breaking the project down into tickets and tasks within osTicket to keep on top of the whole process. It's working pretty well. The project review meetings look at both products and bring it together.

OpenProject isn't great at task management - rudimentary at best, but is great at the higher level project management activities. osTicket isn't good at bigger project work, but handles the lower level complexity very well.

It's important to note too that I have had to migrate osTicket from a XenServer VM to an Azure VM. I simply ran an SQLdump of the whole database and a backup of the install folder (/var/www/html/osticket), set up a brand new osTicket installation, then copied the data I'd backed up across. Restarted the webserver and away we went. I'd like to also point out that I love Let's Encrypt for providing SSL certificates to secure it all.

osTicket reporting is something to be investigated further - the dashboard isn't bad and satisfies my manager that work is getting done, but I'd like to extend it a bit further. Capturing time on tickets is another requirement I need to investigate. These are relatively minor in the current application of this software though and I'm quite pleased by it.

I installed and configured osTicket based on the walk through here:
http://idroot.net/linux/install-osticket-ubuntu-16-04-lts/

It's well worth a look through and I used Digital Ocean's method of applying Let's Encrypt to make it all work as advertised. You can find that link here: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-secure-apache-with-let-s-encrypt-on-ubuntu-16-04 

Viva la Open Source! A huge shout out to the devs behind these wonderful products and these wonderful walk through pages. We're looking at getting enterprise support for both osTicket and OpenProject to support both. Check them out as alternatives to a paid ticket system and Microsoft Project (and save yourself some real coin!)

Find osTicket here: http://osticket.com/
Find OpenProject here: https://www.openproject.org/


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