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July 14, 2008

RT 3.8.0 now available

Today, we're releasing RT 3.8.0, the first major upgrade to RT in about two years.  Over the past two years, we've been working hard to improve RT.  We're very proud of RT 3.8 and hope you'll find it a worthy upgrade.

Many, but not all, of the new features you'll find in RT 3.8 are the direct result of work we did for clients. WYSIWYG email composition, GnuPG email signatures and encryption, ticket relationship graphs and email digests are all enhanced versions of features we originally developed as "custom" extensions for clients. 

When we haven't been busy improving RT for clients, we've spent much of our time tidying and polishing RT. In the past few months,  we've resolved over 540 bugs and feature requests. RT's new visual style, "on-line" dashboards, workflow and performance improvements, along with literally hundreds of bug fixes and performance improvements are the direct result of your patches, bug reports and suggestions over the past few years.

I could easily claim that there are too many new features to list, but the reality is simply that there are more new features I could list than you're willing to read about. If you're interested in the full, sordid history of changes to RT since RT 3.6, you can find the full history in our public subversion repository at svn://svn.bestpractical.com/rt.

What's new in RT 3.8

 

A new visual style

Homepage

We've completely overhauled RT's visual style to look a bit more like what you'd expect modern enterprise software to look like. The pleasing blue gradient background and rounded corners will keep you on an even keel when dealing with even the most complex and frustrating issues. (We've also extensively tweaked the fonts, menus and layouts based on feedback from dozens of testers.  RT has always been easy for your team to pick up with little or no user training. The usability improvements in RT 3.8 should help keep your team happy and productive. )

Richtext email

Ticket_create

RT has been around since before the days of HTML email. We've completely retooled inline RT's email composition system to give your team a "WYSIWYG" composition window for HTML email using FCKEditor.  We chose FCKEditor because of its excellent cross-platform support. (It even preserves styles when you copy and paste from your word processor!) When creating, replying to or commenting on tickets, you can now make things bold, italic, red or blue (and do all sorts of other things to your text as well).    At the same time, we overhauled how RT displays HTML and multipart email messages to work more like desktop email clients.   We've always worked hard to make RT a good email citizen. That's more true now than ever.  When sending styled email, RT will always send a plain text equivalent along as well.  If you don't need rich text support locally, you can disable it from RT's configuration file.

Email signatures and encryption

Many organizations around the world use RT to manage the information flow of their mission-critical security applications. Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is the global standard for inter-organization secure email. We've updated RT with comprehensive support for PGP using the Gnu Privacy Guard. RT can now verify PGP signatures on incoming messages, decrypt encrypted messages and sign and encrypt outgoing mail.

User preferences

Display_prefs

RT has always been incredibly configurable and flexible. Through version 3.6, however, most of that configurability was in the hands of developers and administrators alone.  Starting with version 3.8, we've introduced a new user preference system.  For version 3.8.0, we've added the set of preferences we found our users most commonly reaching for, including:

  • Ticket history ordering
  • Timezone
  • Date and time format
  • Username format
  • Default queue
  • Size of message text boxes
 

Dashboards

Dashboard

With RT, it's easy to customize your home page to show you the saved searches and charts which matter to you on a daily basis.  Your RT homepage is your personal dashboard.  In RT 3.8, we've made it possible for you to build and save dashboards for particular projects or groups.  Dashboards can contain saved searches, saved graphs and ticket relationship charts. You can, of course, keep these dashboards to yourself, but you can also share them with the other members of a group you're in.   With just a few clicks, you can schedule daily, weekly or monthly delivery of a dashboard.  Here at Best Practical, we used this feature to send daily updates on the progress of the RT 3.8 release to the whole team -- complete with a list of open critical issues and a recap of all the issues resolved in the past day.

Charts of ticket relationships

Ticket_relationships

RT has a rich "relationships" system which lets you link tickets (or just about anything else) together to form larger projects. You can set up "depends on" relationships, "parent child" relationships and simple "refers to" links.  It's always been easy to see a single ticket's relationships as a list. Beginning in RT 3.8, you can build clickable diagrams of tickets and all their relationships. With a few clicks, you can customize which ticket attributes are displayed and how the chart will be rendered.  You can save charts you build and include them on your homepage or in RT's new dashboards.

Lots more!

  • Breeze through upgrades with new upgrade tools
  • Subscribe to iCalendar feeds of ticket due dates
  • Bookmark frequently-used tickets
  • Turn off mail from RT when you go on vacation
  • Get your mail from RT as a daily or weekly batch
  • Delete historical or spam tickets with RT::Shredder (only as a superuser)
  • Set up more configurable business rules with new Scrip Conditions and Actions
  • Forward tickets to third-parties from within RT
  • Enable and Disable RT extensions with the new Plugins system
  • Automatically log out inactive users with rt-clean-sessions
  • Run faster with less memory, thanks to numerous  performance improvements and bug fixes.

Download RT

You can download RT 3.8.0 at: http://download.bestpractical.com/pub/rt/release/rt-3.8.0.tar.gz
This release of RT has been digitally signed with PGP. You can download the signature file at: http://download.bestpractical.com/pub/rt/release/rt-3.8.0.tar.gz.sig

Commercial Support

We sell commercial support for RT.   If your organization uses RT in production, you should consider buying a support contract to help ensure that your RT instance continues to work well. To celebrate the release of RT 3.8, we're offering:

  • free upgrade support to new support contract customers.
  • a 20% discount on upgrades to RT 3.8 from any previous version of RT.
  • a 10% discount on migration to RT 3.8 from any other ticketing or issue tracking system.

To find out more about our support options, please contact us at sales@bestpractical.com.

2008 RT Fall Training

We provide unparalleled instruction in how to get the most out of RT.   On October 24, we will be offering  an intensive one-day developer and administrator training session taught by the developers who built RT. This is the first training session where we will present new features and changes in RT 3.8.

This comprehensive session will cover:

  • New features in RT 3.8
  • RT's system architecture
  • A guided tour of the RT source code
  • Extension mechanisms you can use to customize RT
  • How to tie RT into your existing authentication infrastructure
  • Building your own tools that talk to the RT backend
  • Automating common procedures
  • Customizing RT's workflow to match your own
  • How to write custom reports based on RT's data

This session will be only be offered in:

    San Francisco, CA on Friday, October 24th, 2008

Reservations

The cost of training is $995 per participant.  Discounts are available for organizations sending more than one participant and for academic institutions.  To reserve your seat, please send mail to training@bestpractical.com with the names and email addresses of all attendees. Register now to reserve your seat!  Space is limited.

Private training

Additionally, we offer private training sessions for organizations. If you would like to schedule a private training session, please drop us a line at training@bestpractical.com.

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Comments

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This is good news! The GUI needed an overhaul very badly. One of the common pitfalls of OSS. Does RTFM have the new GUI also?

Time to refresh the screenshots at the product page now and maybe an overhaul of the website?

I'm a tiny business and RT has enabled me to ensure that my clients get every single issue resolved, and that I can bill for every effort on Xantech's behalf.

Thank you for your awesome vision. You have truly made a difference to my business, and my clients.

Wow. This is so amazing. You guys are helping me at my job. My boss is excited with the possibilities of your product.

Thank you.

Scott

How can I edit the comments to remove excess garbage sent by users?

Alex,

This isn't the right forum for support. I'd recommend the rt-users mailing list for your question.

Best,
Jesse

What about Enterprise level Change control (related to, but not the same as tickets) and Basic Asset management?

Howard,

A number of organizations use RT for ITIL-compliant Change control by customizing RT with scrips, approvals and custom fields. As for asset-tracking, there's a third party plugin which provides basic asset tracking support.

rt-users@lists.bestpractical.com is probably the right place to discuss what you're looking for.

-Jesse

Is the IMAP functionality mentioned for Hiveminder earlier in 2008 (side link above, "Hiveminder in your email client") also available in RT?

Thanks

Ed,

We're hoping to get the IMAP server built out as part of RT 4.0, though we could do it earlier for a customer.

-jesse

3.8 looks great! We are getting ready to upgrade from 3.6.5 to 3.8.X... Not too sure yet, b/c it looks as if it would be best to upgrade to 3.8.0 before upgrading to 3.8.1... I have a ? about doing a direct upgrade... Will everything work if we go directly into the latest version or should we jump up to 3.8.0 first; to produce less issues?...

Is the new richtext/html email support supposed to display incoming html emails as richtext? I'm not seeing that working, but its not clear if thats a configuration problem or if I'm just misreading what the new feature is supposed to do.

And yes, the new UI is a welcome improvement.

Jess,

Have a look in your RT configuration file. You're after this:


=item C<$PreferRichText>

If C<$PreferRichText> is set to a true value, RT will show HTML/Rich text
messages in preference to their plaintext alternatives. RT "scrubs" the
html to show only a minimal subset of HTML to avoid possible contamination
by cross-site-scripting attacks.

=cut

Set($PreferRichText, undef);

Can RT 3.8 be deployed on Windows platform? Is there an installable available for RT 3.8 on Windows? If so could you please provide the link? Thanks.

Samuel,

There isn't an installable RT 3.8 for Windows, though it runs great on Linux in VMWare.

I'm testing this new release but I would like to know if richtext/html email format is used to send emails. When I try to send richtext message from RT, I receive a plaintext email.
Is it a configuration mistake ?

hi i am Joe from Meridian computer which is located in India i would like to purchase a software package from your company and we need 200 users and also pricing of those packages of RT 3.8 .so please give the price list and what are the server does your software package support and also your phone no
Thanking you

Is it possible to add RSS capabilities?

Greg: RT 3.8 includes built in RSS feeds for search results.

Did the users ask for the new look? We've been using RT2 for awhile and just upgraded to 3.8. There is too much white space around the "boxes". Nothing flows.

ni un brillo

Dont like new google (gmail) look...

Does anyone know if there is a web interface on this program that would allow external users (customers) to create their own ticks?

@nick - Yes, SelfService is built into RT. It has been since 2.0 (2001 or so)

Hi, We are a SAP service company and sell support on a block time basis, we currently have web ticketing systems that has to many limitations and are looking at alternatives.
Is RT able to monitor time spent rather than just time stamping the different responses.

Also can it manage annual support contracts and block time which will be on an invoiced basis

I remember this from the Wesleyan days. Now I'm going to make sure I use it for my new project that will require ticket tracking. Cheers!

  • How Much Does this software costs as my company is looking at obtaining one or is it a freeware?
  • Where can RT be purchased
  • What is the difference between RT and Helpdesk?

@'Bosun:

  • RT is open-source, which means it's freely available to download and deploy. There are no per-seat or per-user licensing fees. It's licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL. The only thing we ever charge for are our services related to RT.
  • RT is available as an open-source download or as a supported system from Best Practical Solutions, LLC. You can download it at our website.
  • We don't tend to compare ourselves to the competition. However, a few items that differentiate RT from other ticketing systems are:

    • Opensource - Since RT is open-source software, you can customize and extend it yourself, and aren't reliant on the vendor if you choose not to be.
    • RT is built in Perl, so it's easy to modify.
    • The Web UI is entirely template based.
    • RT has rich access control.
    • It has been designed around email from the very beginning.
    • You have full access to the API when extending or customizing RT.
    • RT has a very large and amazing community of users.

  • For more information about RT or the RT services Best Practical provides, please see our website.

Is the support fr mobile devices? I have techs that I would like to push tickets to so that they can update the ticket status & what was done.

Can the tickets get pushed to an accounting system such as Quickbooks for biling purposes? Is there MS Exchange suppot?\

Hi Good day,
I would like to ask how to configure RT tracking system using Windows XP OS? then how could we configured it to run using our local computers or using the web? appreciate feedback.

Also it's our first time to use this tracking system and we really don't know to much about pearl language and how to configure this tracking system, we would like to ask your help regarding with our problem on configuring the tracking system in our computer so that we could test it here in our side, i highly appreciate your feedbacks.

Is this project still alive?

@steven,

Yes, RT is very much alive. RT 3.8.8 is due out in a few days. There's a very active user and developer community. http://github.com/bestpractical is where you'll be able to see daily commits to the codebase. http://lists.bestpractical.com/ is where you'll find user and developer mailinglists.

I am currently working with a client that have RT and fall in love with it over remedy and the easy of use.

John Jones
www.tsintegrator.com

Been two years now, so isn't it time for the next major update?

@fatboy - We've actually been rolling features into 3.8 point releases, so 3.8.8 is a very different beast than 3.8.0 was. But yes, we're starting to gear up for the next major release, probably sometime this fall.

Is the new richtext/html email support supposed to display incoming html emails as richtext? I'm not seeing that working, but its not clear if thats a configuration problem or if I'm just misreading what the new feature is supposed to do.

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