Tasks Pro™ 1.6 beta 1

I’ve just posted the first beta release of Tasks Pro™ 1.6. I started making the changes for this release back in February, so to say this has been a long time coming is quite an understatement. :)

Version 1.6 will be a free upgrade for all Tasks Pro™ 1.5 customers.

There are two big features in this release:

  1. The implementation of the ADOdb database abstraction layer and unofficial support for PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server databases.
  2. The ability to have Tasks Pro™ check an e-mail box and create tasks from any messages sent there.

The database changes are quite a bit larger than what I normally like to tackle in a point release like this, but the timing was influenced by a client who wanted to run on MS SQL Server and was willing to help fund some of the development time. To implement the database changes, I had to change every piece of code that interacted with the database. This is a huge amount of change in the code base, and I’m sure that there are still some bugs in there to be found.

Also, to all customers who wish to use the beta: please note that the database.inc.php file has changed in this release. You’ll need to re-apply your database settings in the new file.

The database abstraction layer is also something I thought it was important to add before the next major release when I implement reporting. With the addition of reporting, Tasks Pro™ will be used in more enterprise situations and database flexibility is important in those implementations. I plan to add at least one more feature along these lines before the reporting release.

The “create tasks from e-mail” feature is a really cool for a number of different reasons, and has been a frequently requested addition – and before you ask, yes this will be added to Tasks as well. I know a few customers that have implemented this using procmail, but not everyone has that level of control on their server (many small companies and groups run Tasks Pro™ on a hosted ISP account) and I wanted to make the feature as accessible as possible.

There are several ways in which I believe people will use the “create tasks from e-mail” feature:

  • Support e-mails – a number of customers have told me they want the ability for incoming support e-mails to be turned directly into tasks.
  • Integration with web forms and other systems – most systems will create e-mails as notifications. Now those e-mails can be used to generate tasks as well. I expect this to be a common integration point (rather than writing code to insert data into the database from an external system).
  • Mobile access for creating tasks – Blackberry users will especially like being able to send in an e-mail to create a new task.
  • Forwarding e-mails to create tasks from them – if, like me, you get a lot of e-mails that need follow-up or action, you can forward them to a Tasks Pro™ monitored mailbox and turn them into tasks.

The “create tasks from e-mail” feature requires that your PHP install be configured with the PHP IMAP functions enabled.

Adding the ability to read e-mails and create tasks from them was fairly simple, however supporting file attachments was ridiculously hard. I worked though a half dozen sample-code “implementations” from the php.net site before cobbling together my own solution. It’s worked on all e-mails I’ve tested with, but if it doesn’t work properly for you, let me know. I feel for people developing e-mail programs, what a nightmare.

All Tasks Pro™ 1.5 customers can download the beta immediately from the King Design download page. If you choose to try out the beta release, I highly recommend signing up on the beta mailing list so you’ll be notified of new releases and any serious problems that might arise.

This post is part of the project: Tasks Pro™. View the project timeline for more context on this post.