February 04, 2016

RT 4.4.0 released

We're thrilled to announce the availability of RT 4.4.0! This is the first release for the next major version of RT. The focus of this release series is quality-of-life improvements for both users and administrators.

Download RT 4.4.0 and get started today!

When upgrading, please be sure to review the upgrading documentation available in docs/UPGRADING-4.4, as there are a number of backward-incompatible changes that come along with the new version number.

A list of the major new features in RT 4.4.0 is included below. Many of the new features are described and demoed in a series of blog posts here on our blog in our What's New in 4.4 series, with still more to come.

Finally, we'd like to invite you to attend our next training session in Hamburg, Germany, which covers the new features in RT 4.4 as well as RTIR and its next version. Visit our training page for more.

- Shawn M Moore, for Best Practical

  • RT now includes the Assets extension for tracking your physical and digital resources.
  • Attachments can now be stored outside of the database either on disk, in Dropbox, or on Amazon S3. Attachments can also be directly served from S3.
  • SLA tracking is now part of core RT. You can define many different service levels that take your business hours and holidays into account.
  • External authentication and LDAP integration are now shipped as core RT features.
  • RT now has support for custom roles, along the lines of Requestor, Owner, Cc, and AdminCc. These roles can be single-member or multi-member. Privileges can be assigned to members of custom roles, you can search based on custom role membership, you can notify custom role members in scrips, and so on.
  • RT now has a modern file upload interface which allows you to select multiple files in one fell swoop, drag and drop attachments onto RT, and inline preview certain file types like images.
  • We've added a "scroll" option for gradually loading in ticket history as the user scrolls down, much like "infinite scroll". This considerably improves perceived performance.
  • Existing attachments on a ticket can be reused in subsequent replies, so you don't have to upload them again.
  • We now provide some basic Articles configuration for new deploys so that you can start using the feature immediately.
  • You can now break up your RT_SiteConfig.pm file into logically-related chunks under the RT_SiteConfig.d/ directory.
  • You can now specify default values at the queue level for certain ticket fields, including custom fields.
  • RT now warns you when you write the word "attach" (or "attached", etc) but haven't provided any attachments yet, to avoid "sorry, I forgot this attachment" followup mail.
  • RT now understands many more types of "human" date strings.
  • Users can now choose any subset of the seven weekdays to receive their daily dashboard subscriptions.
  • The query builder display format panel has seen several improvements; most importantly adjusting the display columns no longer reloads the entire page.
  • We've added a popout ticket timer for helping you track time inside RT. The timer is associated with a ticket and will add the time to to it for you.
  • RT now ships with keyboard shortcuts for primarily for navigating ticket search results.
  • We ship a (disabled-for-upgrades, enabled-for-new-deploys) scrip for carrying over time worked to parent tickets. Similarly, we ship a scrip for tracking time worked per user.
  • We've added a way to quickly create new linked tickets in queues other than the one that the current ticket is in.
  • There's a new site-level config setting and user preference for hiding unset fields on ticket display pages.
  • Custom fields now have a customizable "entry hint" for helping users understand what they should be entering as values.
  • TicketSQL and the search builder now support Status = '__Active__' and Status = '__Inactive__' type queries, so you no longer need to enumerate all statuses like Status = 'new' OR Status = 'open' OR Status = 'stalled'
  • The mailgate has been completely redesigned and modernized.

For more information including a complete list of changes please see our official release announcement.

 

January 22, 2016

Request Tracker: Quick Ticket Create

RT provides a variety of standard fields for tracking information about requests and has a powerful Custom Field system to allow you to track specific metadata as it relates to your organization. When creating a new ticket in RT, these custom fields are displayed to let you capture as much information as possible about your request from the get go.

However, there are times you want to create a ticket but don’t have the time to enter in all the desired metadata. Out of the box, RT includes Quick Ticket Create, which is a handy portlet that enables you to enter bare minimum information about a new ticket so that you can quickly create a new ticket.

The default RT at a Glance home page puts Quick Ticket Create at the bottom of the main body, which is handy. But several of us at Best Practical don't even want to have to scroll down, so we edit the page and put it at the top of the sidebar so it's easy to use right when the page loads.

Quick ticket create

RT also has a preference that will redirect you to the main display page of the newly created ticket after you create it. This is turned off by default, but you can enable it for all users in the RT configuration file with the $TicketAfterQuickCreate option, or select it as a personal preference in the Ticket display section of the personal settings.

Give Quick Ticket Create a try and never forget to make tickets for all of the important things that need to get done!

January 20, 2016

Learn about RT 4.4 and RTIR in our first public training of 2016, coming to you from Hamburg!

We're thrilled to be in Hamburg, Germany on March 14-15! This training will introduce you to the new features in RT 4.4 as part of a comprehensive overview of RT. Whether you're an old hand at RT or a recent convert, you'll have a good understanding of all of RT's features and functionality by the end of the session.

Also, this session will include our very first RTIR training! We will walk through the incident response workflow, how to integrate RTIR with other systems, and how to best leverage RT's features for security teams (especially the new ones in RT 4.4!). We're also happy to show you the new flexible workflows that the next version, RTIR 3.4, offers you.

We can’t wait to tell you about what we’ve added for you in RT 4.4, including Assets, for tracking physical and digital resources. We’ll show you how to set up service level agreements (SLA) which take your business hours and holidays into account. There’s a new built-in timer for tracking time worked on tickets. You can now upload multiple files at once with a quick drag-and-drop, as well as reuse existing attachments on replies.

We’ll show how RT 4.4 improves things behind the scenes for you. You can have your users authenticate against external services (LDAP). RT can now seamlessly store attachments outside of its database, putting them on the filesystem, uploading to Amazon S3, or in Dropbox. You can even serve them directly out of S3. You can create custom role groups then assign them to queues and tickets. These custom roles can have their own permissions and notifications. We think you’ll find these are foundational for improving automation. There are also some major performance enhancements like gradual ticket history loading that will improve your team’s day to day experience.

Agenda

The first day of training starts off with a tour of RT's web interface and continues with a detailed exploration and explanation of RT's functionality, aimed at non-programmer RT administrators and users. We'll walk through setting up a common helpdesk configuration, from rights management, constructing workflows and notifications, and the basics of Lifecycles.

The second day of training picks up with server-side RT administration and dives into what you need to safely customize and extend RT. We'll cover upgrading and deploying RT, database tuning, advanced Lifecycle configurations, writing tools with RT's API, building an extension, and demonstrate how to extensibly alter the web UI and internal functions. RTIR will be the focus in the afternoon of the second day.

It goes without saying that you'll get the most out of training if you attend both days of the course, but we've designed the material so that you can step out after the first day with a dramatically improved understanding of how to use RT.

Attending

We do have a limit on how many people we can effectively teach, so please register as soon as you can to make sure you get a seat. If you can't make Hamburg, please feel free to suggest a future location by dropping us a line at training@bestpractical.com! Our spring training will be in Washington, DC.

For both days, the cost is USD $1,495. A single day is USD $995. Each class includes training materials, a continental breakfast, and snacks (lunch is not provided).

If you'd like to pay with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover, please visit Best Practical's online store. Unfortunately we are unable to accept American Express or PayPal. If you'd prefer to pay with a purchase order, please email us at training@bestpractical.com. Be sure to include: if you want to attend both days or a single day and the full names and email addresses of attendees.

Finally, please contact us at training@bestpractical.com for discounted pricing if you are from an academic institution or if you'd like to send more than 3 people.

Thanks for supporting RT!

January 05, 2016

What's New in 4.4: Assets Now Standard in RT

In February of 2014, we released an official Assets extension to make it easy for IT departments everywhere to track and manage all of the equipment they are responsible for in RT. Support groups have more things to track than ever including software licenses, laptops, printers, and servers. And with the Internet of Things just around the corner, they may soon be adding automated sensors and robots to the list.

The initial release was an optional extension, which is often how new features start for RT. To make it easier for more people to work with it, we've pulled it into core RT so it's now standard in every install or upgrade to RT 4.4.

An asset in RT is similar to a ticket in the sense that for each object you want to track, you create an asset record. Assets is built with RT's powerful custom fields, so you can manage all the information you need: model number, type of asset, date purchased, date support expires, contact details for support, etc. And assets are grouped into catalogs, much like tickets are grouped into queues. For example if you want to keep your servers separate from your printers because different departments support them, or if they just have very different sets of custom fields, just create two separate catalogs.

RT 4.4 Assets Page

Assets are thoroughly integrated with RT tickets to support some common workflows you'll need as you support your infrastructure. You can easily find assets assigned to a user on their User Summary page. From an asset record, you can select the "Create linked ticket" action to track service like moving a server or ordering more ink for a printer.

Catalogs leverage RT's lifecycles, which means for each catalog, you can define the statuses that each asset can cycle through. A typical cycle might be from "new" to "in repair" and at some point to "recycled". You configure it to follow your process and workflow. You can see a quick demo of Assets in this video.

 

To learn more you can walk through the asset tutorial or read the assets documentation. Just in time for the next 4.4 release candidate, we have added an RT permission, ShowAssetsMenu, so the menu will be hidden by default when you upgrade. If you don't plan to use assets, you can leave it that way and none of your users will see the Assets features. To enable it, you can grant rights to access the Assets menu and a catalog to a few users or groups and get started. The tutorial explains this in more detail and don't hesitate to send us an email at contact@bestpractical.com if you have more questions.

If you missed some other posts on the new features in RT 4.4, you can find more in the new feature overview.

December 18, 2015

What's New in 4.4: Improved Attachment Handling

Just as attachments are a vital part of everyday email, they are also fundamental to RT. Whether you are a working with a user sending a screenshot showing an error or exchanging a spreadsheet with accounting to track your new hardware order, we work with them all the time. Recognizing this, we've made several improvements to how RT interacts with attachments. Read on for details or just watch this video.

 

To start, if you type some variation of the word "attachment" into the comment/reply box, RT will gently remind you to actually attach something, just like your email client does. To add those attachments, you can now drag files from your desktop and drop them in the attachment area below the comment box. If you prefer using the file selection dialog, you can click on the attachment box and then select your files. In either mode, you can now select multiple attachments to quickly add them all at once.

We've updated the attachment handling once you've selected them as well. Once attached, you'll see a small thumbnail preview so you can be sure you have selected the correct attachments. We also start uploading the attachment in the background the moment you pick it. Previously we would wait until the entire page was submitted, which could cause a delay with large attachments. Now we get a head start while you are finishing up your changes, which will make for a quicker submit once you're done.

Attachments on Ticket Create]

As you continue to work on a ticket, sometimes you'll want to reuse an attachment already on a ticket. For example, someone replies with an attachment and you want someone not on the ticket to also see it, so you want to send it along. Now you can select from the attachments already on the ticket rather than grabbing a copy from your desktop.

Finally, we've added the ability to store attachments in external file storage solutions. By default, attachments are stored in the database, which for most installations isn't a problem. However, some users work with a large number of very large attachments, which can disproportionately grow the size of the database and its backups. You can move attachment storage to standalone files on your server or to Amazon S3 or Dropbox. You can find more information on this new feature in the configuration documentation and with the feature documentation.

If you missed some other posts on the new features in RT 4.4, you can find more in the new feature overview.

December 11, 2015

What's New in RT 4.4: Overview

Coding_scaled

As we're wrapping up testing of RT 4.4, it's time to start showing you some of the new features we've added to make RT even more useful. If you're looking into RT version 4.4 for the first time, take a look at the list below to learn more. And if you have helped us by testing our 4.4 release candidates, thank you, and you might still find something new in the blog posts to come. Finally if you're still on an older release of RT, possibly even in the 3.x series, take a look at some of our previous releases to see all you get by upgrading in addition to the new 4.4 features.

As always, RT 4.4 comes with a full set of upgrade scripts and additional upgrade information, so we hope you'll be able to upgrade soon and take advantage of the new features. If you need help upgrading from any version of RT, we also offer a range of upgrade and support services. Just send email to contact@bestpractical.com.

New RT 4.4 Features

One of the bigger changes in this release is we've integrated our popular extensions for Assets, SLA management, and LDAP integration. This will make it easier for new RT users to discover the features provided by these additions and will provide more seamless integration with RT as we go forward. These are all significant additions and we'll have more details in the coming weeks.

RT 4.4 also brings many more new features and improvements:

We'll provide details on these and more over the next few weeks. And you can always find RT's documentation in the documentation section on the Best Practical web site.

End of Life Products

Best Practical maintains and supports two major releases of RT at a time, as described in our version support policy. As such, the release of RT 4.4 will mean RT 4.0 and other related products will be scheduled for end of life. We'll provide details on products, versions, and end of life dates in an upcoming post. Don't panic! We're here to help you upgrade to a newer version to stay supported and get all of the new features and functionality.

December 01, 2015

It's nearly here! Best Practical's last 2015 RT training, in Chicago!

One more reminder that we are offering our last public RT training session of 2015 in Chicago, IL on December 14-15! There's only a few spots left, so if you want to be among the first to hear directly from our engineers about the new features in Request Tracker 4.4, please sign up soon!

For both days, the cost is USD $1,495. A single day is USD $995. Each class includes training materials, a continental breakfast, and snacks (lunch is not provided). There are discounts available if you're from an academic institution or if you want to send more 3 people. Write to us at training@bestpractical.com for more info!

If you'd like to pay with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover, please visit Best Practical's online store. Unfortunately we are unable to accept American Express or PayPal. If you'd prefer to pay with a purchase order, please email us at training@bestpractical.com. Be sure to include: if you want to attend both days or a single day and the full names and email addresses of attendees.

If you can't make Chicago, we will be hosting trainings in Hamburg, Germany, and Washington, DC in the first half of 2016.

Thanks for supporting RT!

November 17, 2015

Our Last Training of 2015 is Filling Up!

A reminder that we are offering our last public RT training session of 2015 in Chicago, IL on December 14-15! We are nearing capacity, so if you want to be among the first to hear directly from our engineers about the new features in Request Tracker 4.4, please sign up soon!

For both days, the cost is USD $1,495. A single day is USD $995. Each class includes training materials, a continental breakfast, and snacks (lunch is not provided).

If you'd like to pay with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover, please visit Best Practical's online store. Unfortunately we are unable to accept American Express or PayPal. If you'd prefer to pay with a purchase order, please email us at training@bestpractical.com. Be sure to include: if you want to attend both days or a single day and the full names and email addresses of attendees.

Finally, please contact us at training@bestpractical.com for discounted pricing if you are from an academic institution or if you'd like to send more than 3 people.

If you can't make Chicago, we will be hosting trainings in Hamburg, Germany, and Washington, DC in the first half of 2016.

Thank you for using RT!

November 03, 2015

RT 4.4.0 release candidate 1 released

We're extremely excited to announce the availability of RT 4.4.0rc1: the first release candidate for the next major version of RT. 

We would be thrilled to hear your experiences installing or upgrading to this release; the more feedback we get, the sooner the official release of RT 4.4.0 can occur. Please be sure to review the upgrading documentation available in docs/UPGRADING-4.4, as there are a number of backward-incompatible changes that come along with the new version number.
 
In addition, to help kick off RT 4.4, we're having a public training session in Chicago on December 14-15! This two-day session covers RT basics, as well as development, and will highlight the new features in today's release candidate. If Chicago isn't a good fit for you, we'll be having public sessions in Washington DC, and Hamburg, Germany, in Q1 and Q2 of 2016 (respectively). To purchase a seat via credit card for the Chicago training, please visit shop.bestpractical.com. If you prefer to pay via other methods, or you have questions, please write in to training@bestpractical.com. And, as always, we welcome suggestions for training locations in the future.
 
A list of the major new features in RT 4.4.0 is included below. Many of the new features will also be described and demoed in a series of blog posts here on blog.bestpractical.com in the coming weeks.
  
  • RT now includes the Assets extension for tracking your physical and digital resources.
  • Attachments can now be stored outside of the database either on disk, in Dropbox, or on Amazon S3. Attachments can also be directly served from S3.
  • SLA tracking is now part of core RT. You can define many different service levels that take your business hours and holidays into account.
  • External authentication and LDAP integration are now shipped as core RT features.
  • RT now has support for custom roles, along the lines of Requestor, Owner, Cc, and AdminCc. These roles can be single-member or multi-member. Privileges can be assigned to members of custom roles, you can search based on custom role membership, you can notify custom role members in scrips, and so on.
  • RT now has a modern file upload interface which allows you to select multiple files in one fell swoop, drag and drop attachments onto RT, and inline preview certain file types like images.
  • We've added a "scroll" option for gradually loading in ticket history as the user scrolls down, much like "infinite scroll". This considerably improves perceived performance.
  • Existing attachments on a ticket can be reused in subsequent replies, so you don't have to upload them again.
  • We now provide some basic Articles configuration for new deploys so that you can start using the feature immediately.
  • You can now break up your RT_SiteConfig.pm file into logically-related chunks under the RT_SiteConfig.d/ directory.
  • You can now specify default values at the queue level for certain ticket fields, including custom fields.
  • RT now warns you when you write the word "attach" (or "attached", etc) but haven't provided any attachments yet, to avoid "sorry, I forgot this attachment" followup mail.
  • RT now understands many more types of "human" date strings.
  • Users can now choose any subset of the seven weekdays to receive their daily dashboard subscriptions.
  • The query builder display format panel has seen several improvements; most importantly adjusting the display columns no longer reloads the entire page.
  • We've added a popout ticket timer for helping you track time inside RT. The timer is associated with a ticket and will add the time to it for you.
  • RT now ships with keyboard shortcuts for primarily for navigating ticket search results.
  • We ship a (disabled-for-upgrades, enabled-for-new-deploys) scrip for carrying over time worked to parent tickets. Similarly, we ship a scrip for tracking time worked per user.
  • We've added a way to quickly create new linked tickets in queues other than the one that the current ticket is in.
  • There's a new site-level config setting and user preference for hiding unset fields on ticket display pages.
  • Custom fields now have a customizable "entry hint" for helping users understand what they should be entering as values.
  • TicketSQL and the search builder now support Status = '__Active__' and Status = '__Inactive__' type queries, so you no longer need to enumerate all statuses like Status = 'new' OR Status = 'open' OR Status = 'stalled'
  • The mailgate has been completely redesigned and modernized.

 

 For more information including a complete list of changes please see our official release announcement.

 

October 14, 2015

Please Join Us For RT 4.4 Training in Chicago!

We’ve been hard at work on the next new major release of RT and it’s almost here! The first release candidate for RT 4.4 will be available in early November!

To celebrate the new release of RT, we’ll be holding our next RT training in Chicago, IL on December 14-15, 2015.

This training will introduce you to the new features in RT 4.4 as part of a comprehensive overview of RT. Whether you're an old hand at RT or a recent convert, you'll have a good understanding of all of RT's features and functionality by the end of the session.

We also can’t wait to tell you about what we’ve added for you in RT 4.4, including Assets, for tracking physical and digital resources. We’ll show you how to set up service-level agreements (SLA) which take your business hours and holidays into account. There’s a new builtin timer for tracking time worked on tickets. You can upload multiple files at once with a quick drag-and-drop, as well as reuse existing attachments on replies.

We’ll also show how RT 4.4 improves things behind the scenes for you. You can have your users authenticate against external services (LDAP). RT can now seamlessly store attachments outside of its database, putting them on the filesystem, uploading to Amazon S3, or in Dropbox. You can even serve them directly out of S3. You can create custom role groups and assign them to queues and tickets. These custom roles can have their own permissions and notifications and so are foundational for improving your automation. There are some major performance enhancements like gradual ticket history loading that will improve your team’s experience every day.

Agenda

The first day of training starts off with a tour of RT's web interface and continues with a detailed exploration and explanation of RT's functionality, aimed at non-programmer RT administrators. We'll walk through setting up a common helpdesk configuration, from rights management, constructing workflows and notifications, and the basics of Lifecycles.

The second day of training picks up with server-side RT administration and dives into what you need to safely customize and extend RT. We'll cover upgrading and deploying RT, database tuning, advanced Lifecycle configurations, writing tools with RT's API, building an extension, and demonstrate how to extensibly alter the web UI and internal
functions.

It goes without saying that you'll get the most out of training if you attend both days of the course, but we've designed the material so that you can step out after the first day with a dramatically improved understanding of how to use RT.

Attending

We do have a limit on how many people we can effectively teach, so please register as soon as you can to make sure you get a seat. If you can't make Chicago, please feel free to suggest a future location by dropping us a line at training@bestpractical.com!

For both days, the cost is USD $1,495. A single day is USD $995. Each class includes training materials, a continental breakfast, and snacks (lunch is not provided).

If you'd like to pay with Visa, MasterCard or Discover, please visit Best Practical's online store. Unfortunately we are unable to accept American Express or PayPal. If you'd prefer to pay with a purchase order, please email us at training@bestpractical.com. Be sure to include: if you want to attend both days or a single day and the full names and email addresses of attendees.

Finally, please contact us at training@bestpractical.com for discounted pricing if you are from an academic institution or if you'd like to send more than 3 people.