Tag Archive: jutda.


A while ago I released a helpdesk tool that I use to manage support requests, under the name of Jutda Helpdesk (named after my small consulting company). The project has received a slow but steady stream of patches and bug fixes, however it's always been a little tricky to manage with a single committer over at Google Code. To make life easier for everybody involved, I've renamed the project to django-helpdesk and shifted the source code and issue management to GitHub.

I thought I'd spend a few words talking about these two changes.

Firstly, the change in name. Because django-helpdesk was originally built for my own use internally at Jutda and WhisperGifts I released it under the name of "Jutda Helpdesk" when I opened the source up a few years back. There was a bit of a thought that I could release more products with a similar naming scheme, such as "Jutda Basket Weaver" and "Jutda Donut Maker". Those products never eventuated, leaving the only open-source product as "Jutda Helpdesk". This seems to have caused a bit of confusion, with people referring to the product simply as "Jutda" which does no good for either the helpdesk product or my business.

The next change was a move from Google Code to GitHub for the project site, including the source code management and issue tracking. The reason for this was twofold:

  1. For users to offer patches they had to log an issue with a patch and hope I could apply it sooner rather than later. By using GitHub, anybody can fork the project and begin making changes, meaning I don't need to be involved for people to share code changes.

  2. Every other Django project that I personally follow is on GitHub, and I prefer the git DVCS workflow over SVN. It seems most of the Django community is of a similar mindset, from what I can see.

So the project has been moved. I've migrated any issues that were open and that I feel need working on; most feature requests were culled out as I am not in a position to do custom development at the moment. Now that people can fork the project on GitHub I hope feature requests come in the format of pull requests or at least patches.

Lastly I've made a few other distribution improvements. The project is now on PyPi so you can install it using 'pip install django-helpdesk'. The listing over at DjangoPackages has also been updated so that you can see the PyPi downloads and mark yourself as a user of the package.

I would love to hear any comments or feedback you've got via e-mail or on Twitter (where I'm @RossPoulton. Enjoy!

Jutda Helpdesk - A Django-Powered Ticket Tracker for Small Enterprise

I'm a firm believer in providing a great customer support experience to your customers, so when I needed a way to manage customer requests for WhisperGifts, I began putting together an in-house solution.

There are a number of great open-source helpdesk packages available, however most of them are written in PHP which is not installed on my server for various reasons. This caused me to begin to write one in my framework of choice, Django.

The website for Jutda Helpdesk can be found at www.jutdahelpdesk.com, which includes documentation and links to the Google Code Page which is used for bug tracking and version control.

Some of the features include: * Full e-mail integration (it can pick up e-mails from your POP3 or IMAP mailboxes) Sends HTML & plain-text e-mails (templates controlled via admin screen) Multiple ticket queues, to use for different products or customer groups Pre-set replies for common ticket responses Built-in reporting & statistics Automatic ticket escalation with the ability to ignore weekends & public holidays Web-based API to allow 3rd party software integration

A full demo is available online where you can try out the features and get a feeling for what it's capable of.

There's still a little bit of work that needs to be done, but it's at a stage where you can use it publicly. I am using it already to manage support calls for Jutda Products including WhisperGifts and it hasn't given me any major grief so far.

If you want to contribute to the project, please submit it via Google Code and I'll review it. I'd also love to hear how you're using Jutda Helpdesk - I know there are at least a few installations out there from people who have found it via Google, so let me know and I'll give you a shout-out :)

WhisperGifts Sees the Light of Day

I got married in March 2007, within a few months of a number of friends. We all shared our trials and tribulations as we each prepared for our big events, and a number of common issues arose. One of these common points of confusion was the preparation of a bridal gift registry - a list of gifts that we would love to receive from our guests.

Being somewhat geeky, I started to put together an online bridal registry system that could not only be used by my fiance and I, but also by our friends and family. This case of scratching an itch turned into a service that would eventually become WhisperGifts, the first public offering of Jutda.

This service evolved over time into a solution suitable for the commercial prime-time and as of today is ready for public consumption at whispergifts.com.

Here's just some of the major benefits of WhisperGifts:

  • Allows your guests to shop at any store they like. Aunty Mary who works for MegaTVCorp can now buy you that 42-inch LCD that you want, without paying department store prices
  • Allows you to describe the types of items you want, rather than selecting a brand and model
  • Lets your guests browse for gifts in the comfort of their own home
  • Lets your guests easily see gifts sorted by category (Kitchenware, furniture, or outdoor living for example), within certain price brackets, or by priority
  • Can magically e-mail reminder messages to guests before the wedding
  • Can magically e-mail you a list of guests and their selections just after your wedding, helping with the process of sorting out who purchased what when it comes to writing thank-you notes.

More information on WhisperGifts is available at the WhisperGifts website and in a recent Jutda blog posting.

Soon I'll publish some Django-related technical details of the service, as elements of a commercial service built on Open Source software are often interesting to the community as a whole. As a teaser, here's a few built-in functions that were made much easier with Django. Stay tuned (or rather, subscribe to the RSS Feed) for implementation details over the coming weeks.

  • E-mailing of PDF lists of gifts / purchasers
  • Integration with PayPal to allow for upgrades to be purchased
  • A subdomain per-user, to allow for ease-of-communication
  • Built-in context-sensitive inline help and tips to maximise the benefit obtained by users, both free and paying

Jutda: Django-powered Solution Provider

In my recent catchup blog post I mentioned in passing a few projects including Jutda and WhisperGifts. Now, I'd like to formally introduce the former of these (with the latter coming very soon now)

When I'm not 'at work', I spend a significant amount of time working on other projects both independently and together with other talented developers. These days, all of these projects are powered by Django.

Jutda is the glue that will pull these projects together under a single name.

The name comes from the nearly-extinct Wagiman language, spoken by a small number of indigenous Australians. It means "to point" or "to show", which I've taken on as the ethos of my new company: We’re aiming to show the way to others, to make life easier through the use of elegant online solutions.

The ultimate aim is to create simple solutions for everyday problems. No bells, no whistles, just beautiful outcomes for ugly problems.

More information about Jutda can be seen on the About Jutda page, and in the initial blog post I published on the Jutda website.

The first project that's been finished and published is WhisperGifts, about which I'll write more in a future blog post. I'm very excited about the possibilities of this, and the impact it may have on couples in the process of organising their wedding festivities.

I've also got a few other projects in the pipeline, with no fixed feature-set or timeline. Projects that are well on their way to adulthood include:

  • A personal fixed asset register: Do you know the serial number of your television? The warranty details for your refrigerator? The phone number of the guy who borrowed your Playstation for his son to use over Christmas? What would you do if your house burnt down tomorrow, taking all of your warranty paperwork with it? I'm helping you sort out this mess.
  • A personal information manager: There's been many takes on these, but none of them suit my needs quite well enough. Why can't I keep track of pages of information along with photos, embedded maps, lists, enhanced details of my contacts, and more - all in one place?
  • An open-source ticket tracker / helpdesk system. We're currently using a Django-powered helpdesk system internally to manage WhisperGifts support queries, and we're in the process of cleaning it up and abstracting it out from our other systems so that we can publish it for everybody to see and use. It's written in Django, it has full e-mail integration, it has both public and private web interfaces, and it provides open access to your data. It rocks.

So that's Jutda. Although I'm not planning for it to take over and become a full-time job, I hope to get some useful tools out in the wild for everyday consumers, whilst contributing further code back to the Django community wherever possible. Wish me luck!


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