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Tracking Project Hours?

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When I last time had a look at the log, it was quite difficult to utilise. I even set up a FileMaker Pro database and with that it was somehow possible to track hours, but identical file names & changes of file names caused the Situation to be Normal.

The log, you see, does not know which project a file belongs to. If all files of a project have the same prefix (job no), you get closer. Still, when you only get the date & time of opening & closing a file (as separate rows), Mr Tallyman has to do a fair bit of work to tally the bananas.

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Go to VectorDepot and browse for a program called Logex.


Logex reads and analyze the VectorWorks log file extracting from it all saved drawings on which you have spent more than 1 minute.

A typical output could be this:

fileX 23/05/2006 20:39 00:33
fileY 23/05/2006 20:42 00:11
Untitled 1 23/05/2006 20:42 00:01
fileZ 23/05/2006 20:42 00:25

Once saved, the output is a text file with each line representing an event (drawing) record.

The record fields are:

  • the name of file (drawing)
  • the when (date of event)
  • the time spent for that file

Fields are TAB separated, so the file is ready to be used in a database or in a worksheet for further statistics.

Logex analyze the integrity of the VectorWorks log and check if there are errors (due to VectorWorks crashes or possible deactivations / activations of report from the VectorWorks general preferences).

Errors are classified by a color syntax that may be helping for the correction work.

Presently logex is available only on Mac OSX? 10.3.9 or more, any version of VectorWorks? (version 12 with some limitations due to a known bug in the "saved as?" lines produced in the report). There is no way for Windows users.

Logex is available in Italian and English localization.

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The flaws in the logic of programs which track the time you have a drawing file open are the assumptions that you will:

- Spend all of your time drawing, and don't get distracted doing other things.

- Always remember to close the drawing file down while you spend half an hour on the phone about an issue on another project?

- Not have multiple drawing files open (I often work near the limits of open files).

- Close all of your files down when you go to lunch etc.

Surely the answer is to be disciplined and manually record your times in a diary or on a time sheet. That way you can make adjustments based on what you actually did, rather than mislead yourself into thinking after the event that you spent more time on a drawing that you actually did.

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Before I started on the Allnetic thing, I used the log file quite a bit. I found that it would make an entry everytime the autosave was activated (which I have set to 5 minutes). And autosave only works on the active drawing, and if VW was the front window - so when I did have multiple files open, I could tell what I was actually working on by the autosave entries. Still a lot of work wading through it.

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