Cool Calendars in 2.1

Freeside 2.1 was released this week without much fanfare.  The fanfare will be coming, but with the trade show coming up, I’ve been focused on getting ready for that.  I’m going to take a minute though and point out a new feature in 2.1… Calendars.


Freeside, through the integration with RT from Best Practical, now has support for iCal as well as a calendar report so that you can see the time line on a group of tickets.  For iCal integration, you will need calendaring software that supports the iCal feed.  There is a reasonably large list of iCal compatible software on Wikipedia.

To use calendaring, the first step is to create a search. For example you could search for all tickets that belong to you, or belong to a specific group of customers that you manage.  To get reminders too, you may want to add the following snippet (click the advanced link):

     AND (  Type = 'ticket' OR Type = 'reminder' )

Go ahead and run the search, and you should have a list of tickets and optionally reminders.  Now to do something with the dates…

First, for iCal, look at the upper right and there are a number of links for exporting the data.  You can download it via a spreadsheet, or get a feed from RSS or iCal.  Right-click on the iCal link and copy the link.  Then open your iCal software and past the link in the field for your iCal feed.  The system will export all of your due dates so that they will now show up on your calendar.  This is awesome for planning installation schedules.  Many applications will allow you to show multiple feeds ona single calendar, color coded – which is great for managers to ensure that they aren’t creating problems for the team.

The second thing that you can do with a list is get a calendar report.  if you look to the upper left, there is a calendar link.  This will show the start, end and due dates for all of the items in the current search.  This is really good for seeing how projects are progressing for a customer, or what the team has been working on.  To get a good picture for completed work, be sure to include all tickets, not just open tickets.

Being able to see what is coming up has been really helpful for me, and I hope that it will help you too.


Get the word out!

I am biased, but I think that Freeside is the best value in enterprise class billing platforms.  I’m not aware of another Billing and OSS platform that provides the same features and service as our software with configuration and support.  In a prior life, when I was a proprietary platform, We were paying about $1500/month for basic telephone support and annual upgrades.  Customization was astronomical @ $250/hour, and the hours they bid made my head spin.  We used to half joke that it was six-months and $1MM to get anything done in that billing system.  With that in mind, you can understand why I was so happy when, a little over seven years ago, I found Freeside.

I couldn’t believe that an installed and supported system was under $3,000, and telephone support for under $500/month! Seven years ago, it was even less.

Since then, I’ve been a huge advocate both of the open-source and paid installation path. I’ve gone to trade shows with Ivan, I’ve talked it up to almost anyone that would listen, which is why nobody was surprised when I joined Freeside.  Those who I have talked to can probably vouch for my infectious love of the billing platform, and I’m not exaggerating when I say, it changed my entire outlook on billing.

I have a problem though, It bums me out that we’re still relatively unknown.  Sure we get some airplay on mailing lists, and every now and then we’ll show up in a magazine article, (thank you to those who give us airplay and write magazine articles), but I’m looking for some help from the community.  I need evangelists who are willing to post a blog entry about our great billing system.  Friends that are part of a Linux Users’ group?  Do you belong to an ISP association?  A VoIP consortium?  Then spread the word – Tell people what you know… Freeside ROCKS!  Thank you for listening and thank you for sharing!