Review: Intranet Open Source
Intranet Open Source 2.7.2
Here's an intranet application that takes a classic open-source
marketing tack: give away a bunch of useful functionality, and hope to
make some money by selling additional add-ons. The free part is useful
enough that it just might work out that way.
The idea is simple: this is the sort of application that a small
consulting company might use to manage its projects and time. It's
implemented in classic ASP with an Access backend (scripts are available
to convert the backend to SQL Server 7.0 or 2000 if you prefer). At the
heart of the system are tracking pages for clients, projects, tasks, and
timecards (hours applied to an individual task - you might have seen
other systems call these timeslips). There's not full Gantt-chart
project scheduling here, but there is plenty of room to plan future
projects, as well as a good set of reports to tell you how you're doing.
There are also a bunch of other things that dress up the intranet: a
shared calendar, company news, a discussion area, resource links, an
employee directory, and a document repository, for example. You can
create and update message logs for each client, and inspect both the
work logs for clients and for employees. On a local server, it's all
quite fast, and it seems to work as advertised. The source code is
somewhat commented, and there's an administrator's manual with some
I was able to get IOS up and running quite quickly on my own server,
poke around in the sample data, and enter my own. The few problems that
I hit were in misconfiguration, and they were easily solved with the
help of the support area on the Digger Solutions site.
So if you get all that for free, what do you need to pay for? The answer
is that, although you can administer everything by manipulating the
database directly, there are Admin Paks for things like news, calendar
entries, and employees. These range in price from $19.99 to $99.99 (for
a complete package that includes everything). There are also some skins
to make IOS look nicer, though it's perfectly functional without them.
I was just thinking about writing something like this for a distributed
development team that I'm involved with. Now I just may implement IOS
instead. After all, reinventing wheels is not a great use of time.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.