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Coding Thread, What do you look for in a helpdesk? in Coding and Web Development; I'm trying to sharpen up my coding skills by writing a new helpdesk for our school. The current one leaves ...
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    bizzel's Avatar
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    Question What do you look for in a helpdesk?

    I'm trying to sharpen up my coding skills by writing a new helpdesk for our school. The current one leaves a lot to be desired and is far too basic to be of much use. To give you an idea of what's already in my solution, here's a couple of screenshots. It's currently done in Java (C# for windows mobile) but I might be moving it entirely to C# in order to tie in with WMI. The whole thing is networked using a mysql database as a backend, and the client + server comms are all tcp/ip. I'll be opening up the source when it's all complete. Anyway, I could use some input as to what's missing. What are the top 3 things that you look for in a helpdesk solution?





    Last edited by bizzel; 12th January 2008 at 10:20 PM.

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    mmoseley's Avatar
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    Well Done Bizzel, i really do like this!

    When will it be available?

    3 things i like in a helpdesk:

    1. Emails users with updates of how things are goin
    2. intergration with AD
    3. an available status screen, for instance if the net is down we can say it is dont bother us!
    Last edited by mmoseley; 12th January 2008 at 11:57 PM.

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    bizzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmoseley View Post
    Well Done Bizzel, i really do like this!
    1. Emails users with updates of how things are goin
    2. intergration with AD
    3. an available status screen, for instance if the net is down we can say it is dont bother us!
    Thanks for the comments. To answer your question, it'll be beta quality in a couple of months provided my working week stays quiet (everything works, would you believe!).

    Email updates would be interesting. I'm not sure how to do that from C# (that's what the codebase is moving to) but I'll certainly investigate it.

    AD integration is something I have planned to eliminate the need to log in, that's another reason to move to C# as well.

    I really like the status screen idea. How do you think that could tie in with the Known Issues screen? I picture two halves, one showing a traffic light system for major services and the other showing a list of detailed issues.

    Keep the comments coming!

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    mmoseley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzel View Post
    I really like the status screen idea. How do you think that could tie in with the Known Issues screen? I picture two halves, one showing a traffic light system for major services and the other showing a list of detailed issues.
    How about a ticker tape style at the bottom of the app?

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    If a client needs to be installed MSI format would be handy so it can be deployed using group policies.

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    DanW's Avatar
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    looks great so far!

    how about intergrating some sort of asset managment into the system?

    so when a call is logged, you can attach it to an 'asset' on the database.


    if you want any beta testing doing feel free to drop me a pm

    Dan

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    bizzel's Avatar
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    Asset management would be great to have and I'll certainly give it some thought. Our AM system in school is terrible, so slow! It has a barcode scanner so integrating with that would be fun. I've discovered how to send mail in C# (it's surprisingly easy!) so that's definitely in.

    What I'll do next is create some interface mockups to see what works best and work it from there. AD integration will probably be the most time consuming part as I haven't done that before. MSIs are definitely going to be the best way to package it - we're on CC3 so it makes our lives a lot easier too.

    Once I get some beta quality code you're welcome to help test it. In the meantime, I'd love to hear more comments and suggestions. After all, it's designed for us.
    Last edited by bizzel; 13th January 2008 at 09:21 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzel View Post
    It has a barcode scanner so integrating with that would be fun. ..... I'd love to hear more comments and suggestions. After all, it's designed for us.
    If you are integrating bar code stuff you may be able to use these QRCode things, then they can be read out by a cell phone cammera so you don't have to lug a scanner around.

    There is a open source .NET library for reading and writing them here http://www.twit88.com/home/opensource/qrcode

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    bizzel's Avatar
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    Righto then, it's well underway now. I'm going ahead with my port from Java to C# so that I can add extra functionality. Here's the finished spec:

    Support Suite Features

    • Completely free and open source!
    • Compatible with Windows XP, 2003, Vista
    • Fully AD-integrated
    • MS-SQL 2005 Express Backend
    • Networked Client-Server Model
    • Support requests logged as Tickets
    • Full knowledge base and step-by-step troubleshooter wizard
    • Fully-featured asset management built in (features WMI data gathering)
    • Download centre to give staff easy access to authorised patches and utilities - can be attached to tickets
    • Customisable e-mail notifications
    • Live ticket notifications for admins


    Component Model

    • Framework Service: Provides SQL connectivity and data transfer for client and admin console. Runs as a service on W2K3 servers. Also provides awareness of client activity for the console, allowing realtime monitoring of events. Notifies of updates and can automatically download MSI packages.
    • Admin Console: Provides a powerful yet intuitive interface for technicians to deal with tickets and provide resources for staff.
    • Client: Simple interface walks staff through self-help diagnostics and sending support tickets. Can be fully configured from the admin console. Human readable error messages!


    Screenshot for good measure:


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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    That looks good bizzel. Any idea when this will be released?

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    bizzel's Avatar
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    It will be a couple of months before I can release anything approaching feature complete. If anyone can code C# (at any level) and wants to help out, please let me know!

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    The MS-SQL express backend may have issues as I think it may be limited on how many concurrent connections you can run (or it used to)
    I do c# and I link out apps into MySQL for the free'ness of it.
    I would be happy to help with this

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroHour View Post
    The MS-SQL express backend may have issues as I think it may be limited on how many concurrent connections you can run (or it used to)
    I do c# and I link out apps into MySQL for the free'ness of it.
    I would be happy to help with this
    The connection limit has been removed from this version, this is only a problem if the DB is being served up by a XP Home/Pro workstation and then the OS connection limits apply 5/10.

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    CSNM-Carl's Avatar
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    I'd very careful with your choice of name, we use Kayako SupportSuite who are leaders in the Helpdesk software and I don't think they would be very happy with you calling your Helpdesk Support Suite.

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    bizzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS New Media View Post
    I'd very careful with your choice of name, we use Kayako SupportSuite who are leaders in the Helpdesk software and I don't think they would be very happy with you calling your Helpdesk Support Suite.
    I'm not sure how I missed that...I know they have a product called eSupport but I totally missed their other products.

    I'll change the name to something more unique before I release any code then, it's not a fantastic name anyhow.

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