Redmine

Redmine is a flexible project management web application. It provides a wiki, an issue tracking system, forums, email notification with multiple project support. It is a valuable addition for any company managing projects. For software developers it integrates with an SCM (git, hg, svn and others.) The software is a Ruby-on-Rails web-application, using a MySQL database, with a very active community of developers who have extended the system with many useful plugins.

My experience of this application, and in comparison with another well regarded project management tool, trac, is that they are both very similar in concept, but with differences that affect the choice of one over the other for any particular requirement. It’s difficult to talk about one without making the comparison to the other, so with that being the case, out of the box, Redmine seems more complete and functional than trac, since it uses a web based authentication system, has multiple project support and has forums and other useful content types built in, rather than having to first learn their existance, then figure out how to install a plugin as you have to do with trac. For projects that you are later going to detach and move elsewhere, having it integrated is problematic, with trac since it by default only handles one project, it’s easily transplanted by transferring the whole directory structure from one machine to another. For projects that are going to aquire very complex documentation, trac allows deep url’s whereas redmine is limited to one level, although it does within itself allow a logical structure to be defined, and while it works, its just not the same.

A good rule is if you only have one project to manage, or you know you may have to later transfer the site is to use trac, for multiple projects then use redmine and perhaps look forward to future updates adding the facility to have deep url’s on any wiki content.

The performance of ruby on rails apps leaves something to be desired for low volume sites, since if not continually used it drops out of memory, and the first hit after not using it for a while is very long. After the first access it is fast thereafter, so while an annoyance its not too bad. It’s a problem that can be overcome by either tweaking some web-server settings, or perhaps a cron job to access the web-site every hour to keep the caches warm.

If you are interested in running redmine, either on your own infrastructure, or would prefer a hosted solution, we can provide this for you.

The project page for this application is: http://www.redmine.org