Axosoft OnTime 2007 Beta

Published in Web Development on Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Via ReviewMe I came across Axosoft OnTime 2007 Beta, a piece of software for bug and feature tracking as well as help desk ticketing and to-do list tracking. What I found was a pretty impressive piece of hosted software that makes a good effort at emulating a desktop app.

Note: This is a sponsored post, of Axosoft OnTime 2007 Beta via ReviewMe. Comments relevant to sponsorship can be submitted via the contact page.

Axosoft OnTime 2007 is billed as a product for software development teams, including project managers, developers, testers, and support staff.

With a name like Axosoft OnTime 2007 Beta, there is a good chance that xmlHTTPrequest must be involved, and in this case it is aplenty, driven with ASP.NET and SQL Server 2000 for data storage.

I have never used either of those, but I have developed with AJAX technologies to build richer web applications, and I have played with G-Mail, Google maps and Basecamp and many of the so called Ajaxy offerings of the web, but in my experience, OnTime 2007 Beta takes the cake for emulating a desktop application. Check out the interface below (or watch the video, and then compare that to this animated graphic of the 2006 version):

The test drive

I setup an account and logged in with Firefox and everything worked fine (except today, which is throwing an error in the Fox - it is a beta after all).

They really make an effort to emulate the desktop experience, hitting you with a setup wizard via a modal window the first time that you log in. You can skip this and go back to it later via one of the dropdown tabs from the upper menu.

Once into the app I put it to the test by adding tasks, creating reports (pdfs, csvs) and some other stuff. I didn't exactly have it loaded down with data, but it was responsive.

Some areas loaded a whole new pane to work in, others opened modal windows and still others popped open new windows. I'm not sure why they needed the pop-up windows when they have modals available.

At the end of the day, it is a very complicated system that no doubt requires some reading or training to use it properly and to compare it to their desktop offering, but lets just say that I was pretty much floored by what this thing could do as a web based application.

Upside and the downside

The upside here is a no-brainer: as a web based tool, maintenance is a breeze for both the company using the tool and for the company maintaining it.

The downside that I noticed was mostly related to things inherent in the delivery: my internet connection has been spotty the last few evenings, and this resulted in a less then satisfying experience. I suppose that if one is accessing remote data, which is likely with this piece of software, this would be an issue with both the installed and the hosted versions, however watching the application build itself as it downloaded each stylesheet over a tempermental connection was a bit... just not right.

The only other thing to mention was that the fit and finish was not equal to what we expect from an installed application. That is an issue with the medium, of course, which hopefully will only get better.


There is no doubt that hosted applications will be part of the future, and this little piece of beta software is almost here. I have to say that I was a bit hesitant when the request to test it out came in, but pretty impressed when I did. Kudos to the folks at Axosoft.

If you are a web developer, it may be worth trying this out yourself (free beta test drive). If you know of other apps that are as complex as this one, please drop some links in the comments :-)

Bonus Link: a bit about the Axosoft Data Center.

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