Redmine – Project Management Tool

Redmine is a web application for project management, developed in the open-source model and distributed freely. Our team has been using it as our primary project management tool for almost a year.

Every company or team which works in the so-called “projectized model” needs robust tools to manage projects. This is especially important in the web/mobile development field, where projects are developed and deployed fast, often as early “betas”.

In our company, the search for a decent project management system was a tough quest. In general, our expectations of such a tool were pretty standard, but we also had a couple specific requirements that we considered vital, and expected the solution to conform to our practices, and not the other way around.

There are probably hundreds of project management tools on the market, web applications or desktop programs, commercial or free, provided in the SaaS model or installed on your server – the list goes on. Being the proponents of free and open-source software, we targeted our search at such solutions – however, this didn’t make it any easier, as there are still dozens of these.

We tried out more than ten different solutions – some of them got disqualified quickly after a preliminary examination, some made it to round two, which was actually using the thing for a few days or weeks. At that point, the best contestants were dotProject and ProjectPier, each of which withstood a few weeks of usage. In the end, however, we found too many things we didn’t like in these tools, and we abandoned them as well.

Finally, we got our hands on Redmine, an application built on the well-known Ruby on Rails framework. What got us immediately interested was its configurability and extensibility, manifested in the overall organization of projects and subprojects, the user permissions system, and a great deal of additional features available as plugins.

Thanks to this flexible design, coupled with the richness of features that Redmine offers, we got a tool that meets a vast majority of our requirements.

Speaking of the richness of features, we found the following most useful:

  • Flexible organization of projects – Redmine allows you to create a hierarchy of projects/subprojects and to archive closed projects
  • Granular access control – Users can be assigned different roles and permissions for each project that they participate in
  • Ability to easily define new issue trackers (such as tasks or bugs) and issue statuses
  • Ability to create discussion boards for each project
  • Time tracking
  • Revision control systems integration (including Subversion and Git)
  • LDAP authentication
  • Configurable E-mail notifications
  • Multiple language versions (especially important for us, since we have both Polish and English-speaking clients)

Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are certain things that Redmine can’t do for us. Still, it’s hands down the best project management tool that we’ve worked with.

If, like us a year ago, you’re looking for a good project management application, we frankly suggest you try Redmine.

Enter the Blog

With this very post we’re starting our company blog. Our intention is to write about the interesting things that happen in our company, about our projects, and to share our experieces from working with new technologies.

We introduced the blog feature as part of a major update of the engine that our website is running on. Until recently, it was based on Drupal (a popular open-source content management system) version 5, which is somewhat outdated and needed to be replaced with a newer release. The current website that you’re looking at has Drupal 7 under the hood.

Working on the transition allowed us to take a close look at the changes that were introduced in Drupal in the years between version 5 and version 7. With no doubt, they were for the better – what we found noteworthy, among other things, is the fact that some vital features that used to be implemented in modules are now in the core (such as the ability to easily create new content types), and that there is a much better implementation of multilanguage features.

With that in mind, we hope Drupal 7 will serve us well, and will help us make you feel welcome on our site.