PHProjekt: Learn the Free Tool That Helps You Manage Complex Projects
PHProjekt is an open source project management solution published under the GNU public license. The cross-platform groupware was created in the late nineties by German company Mayflower GmbH.
However, support was discontinued in 2012 and all the source code was published on GitHub. The last version of PHProjekt developed and released by Mayflower is 6.2.1. It was rolled out in late 2012.
The original version of PHProjekt was written by Albrecht Gunther, who launched the software in the late 1990s to some considerable success. Gunther would continue to refine his project management application, releasing updated iterations over the next few years, until he eventually teamed with the German firm Mayflower GmbH.
Beginning in 2006, Mayflower became the principal developer and distributor of PHProjekt, working closely with Gunther to further refine and expand the software.
Mayflower Abandons PHProjekt
With the release of this latest iteration of the groupware, Mayflower abandoned further development on the project, and PHProjekt exists today as an open source project management systems with plug-ins and patches being developed and released from a variety of independent programmers.
Despite Mayflower's abandonment of the software, PHProjekt remains a popular groupware application and is still included with a number of auto installers including SimpleScripts and Fanastico.
While PHProjekt may have been discontinued, the application's many features and ease of use continue to make it a popular business management application.
All that is needed to install and run the latest iterations of PHProjekt is a web server, PHP 5.2.4 (or better) and MySQL 5 (or better). PHProjekt supports a variety of common protocols, including XML/SOAP, LDAP, and WebDAV, and is available for 38 languages and 7 types of databases.
PHProjekt is a modular application consisting of more than a dozen components, including the following features:
Administration: prohibits access to password approved project leaders. Allows administrators to manage groups and projects, assign and monitor tasks, monitor forum activities, create to-do lists and issue project reminders.
Calendar: supports single or group modes. Administrators can schedule events, assign projects, and create profiles for frequent users and groups. Supports email reminders and SMS notifications.
Contact Manager: provides a table view of all project members. Administrators can import and export contacts in multiple formats, and sort or filter them by category. Contacts can be kept personal or published to the larger community. The contact manager feature also provides a viewable history of all contacts with related notes and annotations.
Time Card System: this feature allows administrators to set working days for projects, note which members are "at work" and which members have signed off. PHProjekt's time card system also provides a monthly performance overview of all members.
Projects: this feature provides a list of all existing projects in an easy to read tree structure. Project leaders can assign duties and due dates, and closely monitor ongoing subprojects. Project progress can be viewed by Gantt diagram, with the project module tracking the status of ongoing assignments.
Chat: administrators and members can keep in constant contact with each other, even when working from disparate locations. Discussions can be archived for later reference.
Forum: this feature supplements the Chat module, allowing easy collaboration between team members and project leaders.
Request Tracker/Help Desk: allows administrators to assign and track project requests. Provides automatic email confirmation for completed requests, and maintains a searchable knowledge base of solved requests.
Mail Client: PHProjekt's mail client supports multiple accounts, allowing team members to send and receive fax and SMS messages.
Files: PHProjekt's file component provides easy to use filter and sort functions for all stored files and documents. Administrators can restrict access to any files, and documents can be exported in multiple formats including PDF, Doc, XLS, and XML.
Search System: a fully integrated search system supports full text search by module, as well as a total site search.
Robust and Expandable
PHProjekt is robust project management software, written in PHP, and since it’s open source software, it is free to use and adapt to your needs. All you need to make it work is a host that supports PHP and provides at least one MySQL or PostgreSQL database.
PHProjekt is a modular application and includes many modules to add more functionality to the system. The modules include a time card system, a group calendar, contact management, file management, chat and forum, a voting system, mail client, bookmarks, to-do lists, reminders and notes, bookmarks, helpdesk services. A number of other modules are available, too.
Thanks to relatively basic system requirements, PHProjekt can be installed on the vast majority of servers in use today. All you really need is PHP support and an SQL database and the groupware can be installed. PHProjekt is usually installed on Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP or LAMP servers, but can also be installed on Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) servers.
PHProjekt is OS independent, so it can run on either Windows or Linux, or niche operating systems. The software is available in English, German and Spanish.
PHProjekt is readily available from a variety of auto installers and web hosts. The application is open source, and free for use and modification by all users. While the application is easy to install, and relatively intuitive in its design, those using the software will benefit from the following online tutorials:
PHProjekt.com: this was the official website for the project when it was active. This archive snapshot from January, 5 2013 is mostly useful for the forum that contains a lot of useful information.
Installing PHProjekt with Softaculous in cPanel: this short video explains how to install PHProjekt using the Softaculous install tool in cPanel.
PHProjekt 6 - User's View: this short video tutorial provides a simple overview of the PHProjekt application with emphasis on user interaction point of view. While the video is far from in depth, it does help first time users familiarize themselves with the application's basic interface and functions. This short tutorial is specific to PHProjekt 6.0.2.
PHProjekt 6 - How to Create a Module: this short tutorial walks first time users through the process of creating a new module in PHProjekt 6.0.2. The video explains how to create a module, add users, and modify and define codes and templates.
PHProjekt on Microsoft IIS: published in 2008, this archived copy of Microsoft's brief guide walks users through the installation and configuration of the PHProjekt groupware application for use with the Microsoft IIS web server. Though somewhat dated, this brief tutorial stills provides useful information to anyone interested in the PHProjekt application.
PHProjekt User FAQ: while not strictly a tutorial or user's manual, this simple PDF addresses most of the frequently asked questions regarding the PHProjekt application and its many features and functions. First time users of the application should find this guide helpful in exploring all that PHProjekt can bring to project management.
PHProjekt WikiBook: this is a good, if terse, introduction to the whole system.
PHProjekt Hosting Considerations, Installation
The relative simplicity of PHProjekt and its dependence on widely used technologies made it a relatively popular groupware solution in some circles. This is why many hosting companies still offer it as part of their plans.
Many shared Web hosting plans include PHProjekt in their one-click install script repository, so if you don’t consider yourself technically savvy, you can get it up and running with no technical knowledge. Check with your hosting provider to find out whether PHProjekt is available—both SimpleScripts.com and Fantastico De Luxe include this script as an option.
If you are a bit more technically savvy, you can install the script on your own using your host’s cPanel to create a database, and then file transfer protocol (FTP) to upload the script’s files to your website.
The file needs to be decompressed into an appropriate folder outside the ones accessed by HTTP. Then you need to set up and configure the application and run the configuration script.
Of course, make sure that the database user selected for PHProjekt has all the rights to load files and that the webserver group can write in tmp, logs and upload directories.
Although support for PHProjekt is limited, manual installation guides for Windows and UNIX-based environments are available online. Installation is relatively straightforward regardless of OS.
Groupware is ideal for the single freelancer who juggles multiple projects, but it also works well in an environment where several people must work together on smaller pieces of a larger project.
The modular approach used in PHProjekt means that a lot of features are optional, reducing clutter or adding functionality to tailor the perfect project management solution for your organization.
With no new iterations or bug fixes in the pipeline, it fell to the open source community to provide continued support for PHProjekt. Though the software has technically been discontinued by its original creators, it is still widely available and continues to be used.
Still, the lack of ongoing development by Mayflower has led many users to search for alternatives to PHProjekt. Fortunately, there are a number of viable alternatives to PHProjekt for business owners and management teams to choose from.
Alternative Project Management Software
While PHProjekt may have a long history in the industry, it is by no means the only project management software on the market. There is a variety of alternatives, many of which match or surpass PHProjekt's performance profile. Some of these applications are, like PHProjekt, free and open source. Others are licensed as Software as a Service (SaaS), and require users to pay a subscription fee.
Odoo: project management is just one of the business applications available to users of Odoo. The software is fully compatible with both Windows and Linux platforms, and can be extended to other operating systems if needed. Odoo's project management application makes it easy for team managers to organize and schedule projects. Live chat and email allows collaborators to remain in constant communication while working. Features include Gantt charts, a Kanban view, and analytical graphs to track project performance. Odoo's community edition is free and open source, with advanced options requiring paid subscription.
Taiga: a free and open source project management application developed primarily for start-ups and smaller enterprises. The software includes standard project management features such as backlog, tasks, sprints and issues. Taiga seamlessly integrates with GitHub and GitLab, making it an ideal fit for developers. The software is highly customizable, and has been designed with a simple and intuitive interface.
OrangeScrum: one of the premier open source project management tools. This free application is easy to install, and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. Features include a scrum task board, resource planning, progress tracking, and Gantt chart views. OrangeScrum supports quick file sharing via Dropbox and Google drive. While the software is free and open source, professional support and maintenance is available for an annual fee.
ProjectLibre: this is marketed as the free, open source, alternative to Microsoft Project. It is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac. The software supports basic task management, resource allocation, and tracking of projects. ProjectLibre's key features include Gantt charts, resource histograms, and WBS/RBS charts. A cloud-based version of the software is currently in development.
OpenProject: a full featured project management application with a highly intuitive user interface. The software supports Agile and Scrum teamwork and work flow from multiple locations. OpenProject provides full featured support for the entire life cycle of a project. It offers enhanced task management features, time line reporting, and time and cost analysis. Management and team members can use the integrated wiki features to preview and edit tasks, compare evolving content, and monitor projects.
Asana: this promotes complete and easy collaboration between remote workers and management. The platform's features support effective project planning and task management through email integration, file sharing, and status and milestone tracking. The uncomplicated interface makes Asana an ideal fit for project managers with limited computer skills. There is a free option for start-ups and small businesses with fewer than 15 participants, while larger organizations will be required to pay a subscription fee.
Basecamp: a web-based project management application designed to integrate with mobile devices. The application allows project managers to easily schedule and track all major milestones, deadlines, and events through an intuitive interface. Team members can easily collaborate via real time chat, message boards, and comment threads. Documents and files can be remotely stored for easy retrieval by administrators or team members. Team leaders can schedule automatic checks to monitor the progress of all assigned tasks, and can access regular progress reports from team members. Though Basecamp may lack some of the more advanced features of other, more expensive, project management applications, the availability of third-party add-ons makes the platform highly customizable and a good fit for small to mid-sized enterprises.
While PHProjekt is no longer being developed or maintained by Mayflower GmbH, it still remains popular enough to receive patches and plug-ins from an open source community of professional programmers and enthusiastic hobbyists.
It remains free for use or modification, and can be easily downloaded from a variety of web hosts. PHProjekt is a lightweight application, and is typically featured as a one-click install.
Competing project management applications may have taken center stage since PHProjekt was discontinued in 2012, but the software continues to be adopted by enterprises looking for an efficient and easy to use project management system.
Project management software can be an effective tool for enterprises of all types and sizes. However, like any tool, it is important to choose the right one for the job.
PHProjekt has long been the go-to solution for smaller organizations needing project management software. But with PHProjekt no longer in development, it may be time for business owners and project leaders to look towards the alternatives and assess which platform is right for their organization.
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