Manage Your Redmine Issues With RedminePro

RedminePro is one of those apps which I’m sure few of us use, but for those who do it can be of tremendous help. Redmine is a free and very complete project management system which contains a superb issue tracking module. RedminePro allows you to connect to that module and manage your issues effectively.

Read on to check it out!

Getting Started

Once the app has been installed you will need to connect to your Redmine installation. Just enter any name, the server’s location, username, password, and API key.

In order to find your API key go to the “authentication” section in the settings and click on “Enable REST web service”. Go to the “My account” section and on the right side of the page you’ll be able to click “Show” under “API access key”.

Information Structure

After adding one or more servers, the first list you should see is the server list. Clicking on any one of the servers will take you to a list of projects found within the selected Redmine installation. You can then click a project to go to a list of queries, this is where most of the magic happens.

Queries allow you to list your issues in specific ways. There should be two default local queries: all issues and assigned to me. By clicking edit at the top of the bar you will be able to add your own queries. You could build one which lists high priority issues assigned to your employee which have to be done by tomorrow. The build process is very simple so you should be able to create complex ones without much fuss.

Building a query using the left bar.

Remote queries are much the same as local ones but are set up on the server, not on your iPad. When you create a local query no one else can use that query unless they build it for themselves. If you build a query on the server anyone can access it and instead of building it from scratch you can just specify the query ID and the query will be pulled from the server. To get the query ID just go to the issues for the project and you should see a list of queries on the right (provided that you’ve created some). The URL of these queries contains the ID at the end.

This is not a great way of pulling remote queries, but this might be an API limitation as opposed to being the app’s fault. Either way, for me it is just easier to quicky build the queries locally, but it would be a welcome feature if my remote queries were pulled automatically as well.

Handling Issues

When you tap on a query you should see the “issue handling” interface which contains a list of issues on the left and the details of the current issue on the right. You will be able to sort the issues if you wish, and the bottom bar of the right pane allows you to add an issue, log time spent, copy an issue, show it in the website and so on. These are pretty commonly used features and are handled very nicely.

A list of issues on the left and the selected one shown on the right.

While named somewhat confusingly, you can update your issues by clicking on edit in the top right. This works as expected, much like on the website, but optimized for a touch interface.

The only area where the app falls short is attachment handling. It does allow you to use attachments but only if you sign up for a service named cloud app which will set you back $5 a month. I find this weird since I am betting that the app’s target audience has access to an FTP server so it would be nice if the app could use that.

In addition you don’t see attachments at all! You need to go into the web interface to view them. I find this especially weird since implementing upload via FTP is surely more difficult but viewing an attachment shouldn’t be that much work.

If you need to check an attachment just use the “more” menu to open it in the website and you will be able to view it.

Design & Usability

There isn’t a lot to talk about in the design department as the app pretty much conforms to the standard iOS interface. While I would enjoy something fancy like the interface of Things or Twitter there is really no need for it. The app functions just fine and at least there are fewer distractions.

From a usability point of view RedminePro performs well. Aside from some minor inconsistencies everything is pretty easy to find and logically structured. An example of an inconsistency is the “more actions” icon found in the issue view on the bottom right. The icon used is the usual “send” icon but the sub-menu it opens is actually for deleting, copying, refreshing, etc. Not a huge deal once you realize it, but I think just using the text “more” would have proven more useful.

One issue I have with the app is that it tends to crash much more than others. While I’ve been writing this I have been using it to help me along the review and it crashed twice. I can open it and go back to where I was within 5 seconds, but it is a nuisance. As far as I can recall it hasn’t crashed in me while wiring long update notes so your data should be safe.

Overview

All-in-all RedminePro is a solid app and very much usable in a day to day working environment. It has some shortcomings mostly to do with crashing and attachment handling but other than that I make good use of it every day.

It doesn’t really have any competition, except maybe iredmine which is free but is an iPhone optimized tool and is less complete than RedminePro. The real competition of RedminePro is the online web-based interface of your Redmine installation. You could just visit it using Safari and work with it for free. I found however that using the app is much faster (especially for the bulk of my daily housekeeping), I even tend to use it when I have my MacBook handy.

Despite its shortcomings I recommend RedminePro to anyone who uses Redmine itself (I also recommend checking out Redmine if you don’t). It will take $5 out of your pocket but it will give you a significant speed boost so hopefully you can make a return on the investment soon!


Summary

RedminePro allows you to quickly and easily manage your Redmine issues on your iPad

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