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Ongoing Work on Time Tracker UI Changes

This post is a notification about currently ongoing work and upcoming changes to Time Tracker user interface.

Nature of Work

We are planning to do incremental updates to Time Tracker in an effort to make it better for mobile browsers and also more consistent across different desktop browsers.

Redesigned registration page in Time Tracker
Redesigned registration page in Time Tracker

Currently, mobile browsers are served by a subset of pages in the /mobile/ directory. This delivers basic functionality but the code is old and needs maintenance.

We decided to redesign the UI to use the same pages for both small and large screens. This means that the /mobile/ directory will eventually go away. Instead, a different layout will be used depending on screen width.

When doing this work we will also try to remove styling from php pages and move it to css files where possible. Note that Time Tracker currently allows for custom css for groups to customize presentation as you like. See an example of how to use custom css at https://www.anuko.com/time-tracker/what-is/not-complete-days.htm

Problems and Compromises

The approach we are taking is not without its issues. For example, small screens demand horizontal alignment in the middle to look reasonably well on a variety of devices. Because the same page is to be used for all devices, desktop UI will also be different for some elements such as error messages.

It is impossible to fit large tables into small screens. For example, a list of entries with multiple custom fields on time page. Or reports. We will try to address this by making displayable columns configurable, and also by making tables scrollable horizontally.

Risks

There exists an inevitable risk of breaking things occasionally, especially considering that browsers cache css files. Do to nature of this project, we will be changing css frequently. If things stop working for you try to refresh a page and contact us if the problem persists.

Incremental Changes

A scope of this project is big. The only practical way we can do it is via incremental changes, or "one page at a time". For example, right now only login and registration pages are redesigned, while others remain the same. As we go forward, more and more pages will be adjusted.

Redesigned login page in Time Tracker
Redesigned login page in Time Tracker

Currently, a redirect script is present at the root of the site that detects mobile browsers and redirects them to /mobile/ directory. It is not yet clear when we remove it, but we'll do it eventually. Perhaps after redoing some critical pages like time entry.

Suggestions Welcome

Some users requested that we use element ids consistently across the project. We will try to address this. If you have other improvement suggestions feel free to contact us.