It’s time for a few more console applications. I had hoped to post a few of these yesterday but real-life chores got in the way, so I had to wait a day.
I have four or five here that are all … I’m not sure what to call them, but I think “time trackers” or “time managers” might be accurate. They all have a time-punch function that can be terrifically useful for anyone who needs to watch time devoted between tasks.
Here’s the first one: worklog.
worklog is very straightforward, with an adjustable list of projects that you determine keystrokes for. Press a key to start timing a job and press it again to stop it.
You can increase or decrease time arbitrarily and enter descriptions as well. It’s probably not fair to say this, but worklog is probably what I use mentally, as the generic time tracker application.
There are a few things I don’t like about it; for one, some of the keystrokes you see — like the DEL key to quit — don’t seem to work. I have to quit by CTRL+C.
And the “projects” file has to have its details listed in reverse order, which strikes me as odd, in this day and age. Twenty-five years ago when I had to list things in reverse order on my C64 for it to look right, I just took it in stride. These days, that’s unusual. Maybe the problem is me. 😐
Regardless, little points like that make me think worklog is a work-in-progress, and just needs a little more time to mellow.
The next is wtime.
A simple switch flag for turns on and off a counter, and another switches between projects. You have the choice of a running count for time spent, or a range of dates and total time accumulated.
It’s very simplistic when compared with some of these others, but programs like this are usually the groundwork for larger, more intricate interfaces.
It’s a little dated (last release in 2006), and it’s not real flashy, so it might not be practical unless you’re willing to incorporate it into a larger tool.
The next two are a pair of sorts. timebook and a derivative called timetrap.
As I understand it, timebook is python-based while timetrap is a ruby version, and they both have similar structures and functions.
From a strictly superficial standpoint, timetrap seems to have a few more options than its predecessor, but that might just be the benefit of working in the wake of another program.
Personally I see little difference between the two, so you might have to install one, try it out, then install the other and see how each one ranks.
(I notice that they share commands — they both scramble for the “t” command as their default application name — so you might have to unplug one before trying the other.)
For my money both python and ruby applications tend to bog down low-end hardware, and so if I have to make a life-and-death selection, I would probably go with timebook. To each his own though, and if you have a lot of processor power, it won’t matter.
Last but not least is punch, a/k/a punch-time-tracking on Google Code, which works atop of todo.txt, which is a list manager.
I don’t have a screenshot for that one, mostly because I had trouble getting the two to work together. For some reason there seemed to be a disagreement over what the configuration file should be called.
Judging by the examples on the home page though, it appears to work much like the others. If you already use todo.txt, this might be a natural choice for you.
And there you have it. The odd part of this little essay is that few of these are in the repositories for the two distros I usually check — Arch or Ubuntu.
worklog is in the Ubuntu repos for Dapper onward, and AUR has only timebook-hg to speak of. So in that sense, if you’re looking for some very, very easy projects to sponsor, here are a few.
I just have to remind you of emacs and it’s allpowerful Org-mode :-).. i’m not sure what’s memory footprint of this combo, but that’s what i use (and i’m twice a month surprised by another unexplored functionality)…
I’ve tried it, actually, and started out some of my earliest console-only attempts with emacs and org-mode.
I dropped it later on only because it was rather weighty, for low, low-end machines.
yeah, that’s what I thought. But it is really a godsend on my Win7 working machine 🙂
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Thanks for the review! Finally got worklog working. Indeed, I also find the reverse list order and the need for a project and a log file quite weird.
On Ubuntu, you have to press DEL twice to quit. After you press it once, the “status bar” indicates to press it again to “really” quit. Weird.
I hope timebook is soon packaged for Ubuntu/Debian. From what I’ve read, I like their UI (or at least the sound of it, not having tried it) the most.
I use TimeTrack, which is a TCL script. It is over at http://github.com/dongola7/Time-Track-CLI
The thing that made it a win for me is that it is pure CLI. No curses, like punch. Simple, fast, and easy to use.