The “Client Site” in NetOffice

Getting ready to release our first version of NetOffice Light, and I was initially planning on removing the Client Site functionality altogether. This brought about a few protests – so I’m asking anyone who does use that function:

  1. What parts do you use the most?
  2. What parts do you use the least?
  3. What’s missing?

Specifically relating to the Client Site part of NetOffice. Thoughts anyone?

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11 thoughts on “The “Client Site” in NetOffice

  1. Hi.
    We are planning to use NetOffice in our company. It looks like, the developement of NetOffice stopped 😦 I was looking at ovet 20 different online project-management tools, and NetOffice is still the best solution. Others are poor or ugly. Streber is the next choice but it still lacks some functionality like – easy to use Client Site.
    I thik client site is needed, and it’s very good idea because:
    1. You can publish f.e. project files, discussions etc. to the client with one click. You don.t need to send e-mails etc.
    2. Client can see project progress, all the contacts, links etc. in one place. He won’t sen you e-mails twice a week “What was that testing url”
    3. Client can easily report bugs and changes. Reporting changes like “I’d rather want ir blue not red” is the most needed funcionality. Why use Bugzilla, Mantis etc.? Put it into netOffice – the Support Requests.
    4. Client can discuss some changes using bulletin. The whole team can track the discussion. Now i’ve got tons of emails from client, forwards of emails from client, responses for forwards, comments for emails that someone forwarded me from client etc. and I still don’t know if I’m up to date with client ideas and suggestions.

    I realize that making clients use this page can be difficult, so the page should be easy and look a bit better than it looks now.

    For example Streber offers “client” user for the application. I think it’s not a good solution because:
    1. The interface is heavy and hard to use for simple person from office.
    2. You cannot control what client can see or not.
    3. There are some bugs – as client I can delete even admin’s tasks!!! (Even as a guest on Streber site I can do too much)

  2. Ow, yes, same like previous commenter (looking over 20 tools for project management) we would really like a “mean-clean” project tool and are willing to contribute some code or layout when wanted/appreciated.
    In our sales department they really hate the many, many buttons and options so IMO that should be on like an advanced layer (DIV-HIDDEN etc)(when possible)…Clear and easy GUI are main issue (new project, task and contact etc. … easy/simple does it) The client site is ideal for discussion and bug tracking (instead of e-mail to one of the developers who is in germany/bahamas and not replying mail).
    Again, an easy and simply GUI with the deeper/elaborate options somewhat tugged away for geeks/programmers. Count me in.

  3. Re the hidden elements, I’d ultimately like to strip out all of the nasty javascript in there and convert it over to jquery… but that’s a biggie and perhaps a little way off yet! But I do agree there’s plenty of room for improvement there.

  4. I ran across this article completely by accident. But it interests me since we have used netOffice (Dwins) for almost two years and have had very good success with it. Your decision to remove the Client Site is completely understandable; it’s hideous, hard to use and a reflection of you to your customer!!

    But the features cannot be ignored.

    We do not use Client Site at all for obvious design reasons. But what is really needed in netOffice is a complete overhaul of the block structure. Bottom line, it was built backwards. HTML is deep in the block themes so it’s excruciating to make a branded site, let alone a Client Site that is tolerable. This is why all netOffice implementations look the same. What’s worse, it’s an examples of open-source gone wrong in that contributions were added with very little standards in place resulting in spaghetti code.

    Coding style aside, the framework is easy to use and expand upon and at the core netOffice offers much useful functionality for a small to medium sized shop. We’ve been able to add several reports such as forecasting, employee performance/trends, interfaces to bugzilla and extranet, billable/non-billable trends, pipelines, future revenue forecasts, etc…

    netOffice development has not stopped Peter, it’s just been forked once again and not in the open-source spoitlight. I did the same as you and looked at all the different web-based collaborative project management tools out there, and netOffice fit our environment, and fit it well.

  5. Hi,
    After testing lots of project management solutions, i’m ready to integrate netoffice (or noffice dwins) for a company. Before that, i’d like to have a look on your netoffice Light.

    Can you tell us more about date for the release?

    Thanks,

  6. I wouldn’t wait for me John if you have to do something soon – we’re actually stripping out all the existing javascript and dumping the table-based layout, which is quite a big job.

    Will be a while, but my thoughts are that if we’re going to do this thing then we should do it properly.

    The current javascript and layout blocks are very heavy and a pain to customise, so we’re going with jQuery for all the javascript work and only using tables where we have tabular data; the rest of the layout will be all CSS.

    So there could be a bit of a wait… but I believe it will be worth it!

  7. I did the same exhaustive search – with the same result. netoffice, despite having no real support now, seems to be the best at doing the job and still keeping it simple.

    I am really looking forward to using the client site, as you can involve vendors/customers without giving too much access. It WOULD be nice if it looked better, I haven’t dug in yet to see how painful that might be.

    Netoffice and an integration to vTiger 5.03 is also being planned. They both are a bit difficult to deal with because of lack of API – I am hoping that Jitterbit integration will help with some of that.

    I’m very interested in the “light” rewrite, I am using the DWINS version now.

    Greg

  8. Thanks for you comments on NetOffice Light. You might want to look at Vertabase (http://www.vertabase.com); another in this class of online project management software tools. Interestingly, they use social network media as part of their project management offering, message boards, blogs, and RSS feeds that also include interestingly ubiquitous productivity tools, PDFs, Excel and Google spreadsheets. These types of tools help build the intelligence of the group involved in a complex project. See their blog for more detail.

  9. Thanks for your comments on NetOffice Light.

    It’s kind of ironic that, being in the web industry, we have moved away from using web-based project management at all!

    As a result we’re not moving forward with this project.

    I have some good reasons for this move, and once we’ve fine tuned the system I’ll post here about what we’re doing ans why…

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