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September 19, 2005

RT Essentials: The Ticket to Managing Teams and Projects

Sebastopol, CA--In a typical organization, there's always plenty to be done: Vendors need to be paid. Customers need to be invoiced. Sales inquiries need to be answered. Bugs in hardware or software need to be fixed. And when the end of the day rolls around, someone has to keep track of who wanted what, who did it, when it got done, and most important, what remains undone.

This is where a ticketing system comes in. A ticketing system allows you to check the status of various tasks: when they were requested, who requested them and why, when they were completed, and more. RT (Request Tracker) is a high-level, open source ticketing system that allows a group of people to efficiently manage tasks, issues, and requests submitted by a community of users. In RT Essentials (O'Reilly, US $34.95), authors Jesse Vincent--one of RT's core developers, Robert Spier, Dave Rolsky, Darren Chamberlain, and Richard Foley introduce the system and explain its uses for end-users, system administrators, and developers who are interested in using RT to manage tasks.

Jesse Vincent originally developed RT while working as a summer intern at a web design shop. The company's founders allowed him to take his creation with him, continue to hack on it, and offer it to others to use. "Over the next few years, I found more and more organizations picking RT up for tracking everything from security incidents to sales inquiries to email counseling sessions for troubled teens," Vincent recalls. "Our current best guess is that over 10,000 organizations use RT."

RT is especially important in our current business world because, "RT can help a company to track each step of the inevitably complex flow of international service and production processes, and this is a good thing," notes coauthor Foley. "RT uses the thin-client (web-based) model, and is especially suited to today's networked structure."

Coauthor Dave Rolsky agrees, adding, "RT is a tool I use every day, and it's very powerful, but has needed better documentation for awhile. This book will help fill the documentation gaps."

The book starts off with a quick background lesson about ticketing systems, and then explains how to install and configure RT. Readers will learn how to perform day-to-day tasks that turn their RT servers into highly useful tracking tools. Among other topics, the book examines how a company can use RT to manage its internal processes. Advanced chapters, aimed at developers, focus on creating add-on tolls and utilities using Perl and Mason. Other topics include:

  • Maintaining an RT installation
  • Customizing RT with templates, actions, and scripts
  • Using RT from the command-line
  • The nuts and bolts of RT's internals
  • Tips on contributing code to RT
  • No matter what kind of data an organization tracks--from sales inquiries to security incidents or anything in between--RT Essentials is the ticket to instilling order where it's needed most.

    Additional Resources:

    RT Essentials
    Jesse Vincent, Robert Spier, Dave Rolsky, Darren Chamberlain, and Richard Foley
    ISBN: 0-596-00668-3, 200 pages, $34.95 US, $48.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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