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Helix® Professional TimeTracker

 

A useful way to manage collaborative collection design

One of the most critical aspects of designing and building a successful Helix collection is the ability to write a good specification.

The Helix® Professional TimeTracker is a Helix code clipping that you apply directly into the collection where you are working. It consists of a single relation and a set of Sequence icons, some of which you may already have in your Collection.

At the beginning of each work session, simply open the TimeTrax screen (see illustration) and make a note in the Description field about what you’re working on and enter it. The default Start time is captured. Later, when your work is complete, return to this screen, click the “Last” button to bring the record back up and stamp the End time to generate the Elapsed Time (ET) in hours.

Useful for both remote and local design work

In spite of Helix’s ease of use, both individual and business users have often sought the assistance of professional designers to help them realize their Helix programming objectives. Historically, such work was almost always done on-site and required users to shut down their Helix collections while the work was in progress.

However, with the introduction of Helix’s copy-and-paste structure capability and the growth of the internet since the early 1990s, it has become possible, even more practical, for the work to be done off-site, turned into “clipping files” and subsequently pasted into, or, as we now say, applied, to the collection structure at a mutually convenient time (i.e., outside normal business hours). These developments have also had the unintended but beneficial consequence of allowing Helix users who need help to get it from outside their local area, providing greater work opportunities for professional designers regardless of their location.

From a practical standpoint, when the professional begins working on a copy of the live collection, they would distinguish that one from the one they work in by appending a prefix or suffix to its name. For example, if the name of the Collection is “Accounting System,” they would call it “Offline Accounting System” or “Accounting System Working Copy” to avoid confusion and potential errors during work.

TimeTracker performs three functions

The Helix® Professional TimeTracker performs three essential functions for any Helix professional designer:

  • It enables the simple collection of time information within your workspace, eliminating the need to jump back and forth between separate applications or to scribble notes on a pad while you work.
  • It allows you to easily export the information you see on the screen so you can import it into your billing application.
  • If you continue to work in an offline copy of your client’s Helix collection after you’ve installed it, you can keep the live copy up to date between billings by deleting all records in that copy the next time you download it for work, exporting the data from your working copy and then “reloading” that data into the live copy when you resume working in that one again.

How to install the clipping in your Helix Clippings folder

  1. Purchase and download the Helix® Professional TimeTracker package. (Package is named hptt.zip)
  2. Double click hptt.zip to unzip the folder containing the script, installer and instructions.
  3. Double click the Install TimeTracker.app AppleScript or manually copy the clipping (Helix Professional TimeTracker) to your Helix Clippings folder. (~/Library/Application Support/Helix/RADE/Clippings)
  4. If Helix RADE was already running, activate it and choose Refresh Clippings Menu from the © (Clippings) menu.

How to install the structure in the clipping in your collection

  1. In Design Mode, with the Collection window focused, click the © (Clippings) menu and choose Helix Professional TimeTracker from the Clippings submenu and then clicking the OK button in the Apply Structure dialog.
  2. Place the Sequence TimeTrax in a menu or in a button on a form from which you would like to access it.

Installation and Usage Notes

  1. This is a one-click structure application. The clipping file contains everything it needs.
  2. That said, if your collection already has sequences that perform Export All, Import All, Clear Form, Find First, Find Next, Find Previous, Find Last and Enter commands and you don’t want to duplicate them, you should select and pair those Sequences in the Apply Structure dialog (see illustration at right).
  3. As a general rule, when applying structure in the Collection window, it is a good idea for all other Helix windows (except the Inspector and the Element Panel) to be closed.
  4. The export and import Sequences in the Helix® Professional TimeTracker are set to optional, which means that the first time you run them, you must hold down the option key when clicking the buttons to bring up the dialogs necessary to define both the file names and paths you will use.
  5. Once you have done this in each copy of the collection (i.e., the original and the working copy), you will not have to do it again. You can simply click the buttons and the data will be exported or imported smoothly, simply and correctly.

How To Purchase Helix® Professional TimeTracker

Price: $7.77. Purchase through the web store.

Helix® Code Exchange: Helix® Professional TimeTracker, ©2014 by QSA ToolWorks, LLC. All rights reserved.