Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reading Predecessors from SharePoint

We've received many requests for this feature and we're happy to say 'it is here!' What is the feature, you ask? The ability to receive Predecessor information from a SharePoint task list and update the task dependencies in IntelliGantt and MS Project. Basically, with a click in the 'From SharePoint' column, a project manager can enable users to create predecessors in SharePoint and have them show up in their local tool.

Here it is in action. First let's create a very simple MS Project plan.

After we publish it to a SharePoint task list using the IntelliGantt Add In for MS Project, here is our data in SharePoint.

In SharePoint 2010 there is a 'Predecessors' column that let's you add task dependencies. While not available out of the box in SharePoint 2007, you can actually create the same 'Predecessors' column by creating a Lookup column based on task titles. As long as you name the column 'Predecessors', IntelliGantt will recognize it and happily work with it.

So, let's create some predecessors via SharePoint, like so:

Hmm... looks like we created a circular task dependency. I hope things turn out ok.

Before we perform the update with IntelliGantt, we need to make sure it knows about the Predecessors column. We open the 'Workspace Settings' screen by choosing IntelliGantt->Project->Settings. In this case, we will mark both the 'To SharePoint' and 'From SharePoint' columns as active. This means IntelliGantt will do a bi-directional sync on the Predecessors column.

Perform the sync by choosing IntelliGantt->Update and the task dependencies will be created on the desktop too:

And look, IntelliGantt noticed the circular dependency and it didn't cause any trouble. As it processed the SharePoint data it checked to make sure each dependency was acceptable. Having Task 3 dependent on Task 2 was not, so the dependency wasn't created.

Wouldn't it be smart if IntelliGantt updated the SharePoint task list so that it didn't have the circular dependencies anymore? We thought so too. Here's what the SharePoint task list looks like after the IntelliGantt sync:

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

SharePoint Forms Based Authentication Support

Just a quick note to mention that the latest IntelliGantt Web Part for SharePoint (version 1.0.35) supports forms based authentication when running 'out of browser'.

Basically, the IntelliGantt Web Part for SharePoint can be installed on your PC or Mac(!) desktop as an 'Out of Browser Application'. Or 'Rich Internet Application'. It's literally a right-mouse click away-- no downloading setup.exe or MSI installation packages.

In fact, you can try it out right now by going to our IntelliGantt Web Part Demo page and right-clicking anywhere within the application.

Clicking on 'Install IntelliGantt Web Part onto this computer...' will, just as you suspected, install it on your computer. Note, if you'd like to remove it, start the IntelliGantt Web Part application on your computer and then right-click on it. Then the menu option will be 'Remove this application...'. When an 'Out of Browser' application is removed nothing is left behind.

Once running the IntelliGantt Web Part from your computer, a new icon appears on the top row for configuration:

Click the 'configuration' icon to throw a wrench in... er... open a panel that let's you set the URL of the SharePoint site:

And set the username and password to use. Be sure the 'Use Forms Based Authentication' checkbox has the check. Then IntelliGantt will use FBA when it communicates with your SharePoint server.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Simple Scheduling with SharePoint Tasks

We're going to have to come up with a signature line like 'New Feature Monday' or 'Feature of the Week' as we roll along enhancing the IntelliGantt Web Part. Today we will take a look at scheduling and how a project manager can grant or revoke scheduling privileges.

With 'Edit Schedule' set to true, as shown here via the standard web part editor tool, IntelliGantt will respond to left-mouse clicks over the schedule endpoints.

When you move the mouse over an endpoint it will turn dark gray.

If its a milestone, which looks like a single dot because the start and finish dates are one and the same, when you drag it will remain a point in time. If you'd like to turn a milestone into a task with distinct start and finish dates, hold down the 'shift' key and drag to the right (into the future!). The task body will appear, filling the space as you drag the finish date.

If you wish to turn a task into a milestone, simply drag the finish point over the start point.

You can change a task's start and finish date by clicking its body and moving forward and backward in time. You can change multiple tasks by moving a Summary Task containing sub tasks forward and backward in time.

Finally, you can link any two tasks together by hovering the mouse over an endpoint, left-click down and drag to a target task. Once you move out of the source task's row a line appears showing you are in 'link mode'. The result is a task dependency that shows both in the IntelliGantt Web Part:

And in SharePoint:

Finally, the IntelliGantt Web Part can both show you the list of task dependencies when you hover over a task endpoint, or navigate to task dependencies when you click on a predecessor or successor task of your choice. To see this in action please check out the screencast which shows the nifty animation accompanying the action.

These images were pulled from the screencast and show our SharePoint connectivity. Everything you see in this demo can also be done when the IntelliGantt Web Part is working with Basecamp as well.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

IntelliGantt Web Part for Basecamp

We just posted an update to our IntelliGantt Web Part and have some exciting news-- we are introducing Basecamp support!

There are still two major features we will be putting into the product to better support Basecamp-- views and ad hoc searching-- but the basic connectivity is in place. As of today you can:

- View one or more of your Basecamp projects together in one tool in a hierarchy.
- Give your Basecamp Todo Items a Start and Due date.
- Link two Basecamp Todo Items together as dependencies
- Reschedule a Todo Item, Todo List or entire project by drag and drop
- Print

Perhaps the most exciting feature, because we've been getting asked this a lot, is that it runs on a Mac as well as a Windows PC.

There are two requirements: 1) You must install Silverlight and 2) You must install the IntelliGantt Web Part for Basecamp as an 'Out of Browser' application.

Don't worry, it's as simple as right-clicking the mouse (or simulating a right-click for those Mac users :) on the web part. We provide all the steps in our forum.

Once the IntelliGantt Web Part for Basecamp is up and going, you have a constantly updated view of your Basecamp projects. Every team member using the web part will see the same data, such as those dependencies and start/finish dates.

Let us know what you think. We're excited to bring the next generation of tools to Basecamp and look forward to your feedback.