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Show HN: My time tracking tool for your text editor (wakati.me)
126 points by welder on July 15, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 59 comments



Great concept, but I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with a plugin that sends a list of active files to a website (even if it is SSL-secured).


It would be a great concept for a "unhosted" application.


A really cool idea, but probably not useable by anyone working on proprietary software, I'm afraid. I'd love to use it as a productivity app - particularly if you could segment the data based on the active git branch - but transmitting file information over the wire is a non starter for myself (and I imagine many others).

Have you considered maybe supporting output via some sort of graphing language instead? (R springs to mind.)


Just curious, would you have made the same arguments against RescueTime? It too transmits your activity data (and who knows what else) over the wire.

I don't know if you use(d) RescueTime or not, so I don't mean it as an attack against you. I guess I just don't remember these types of arguments being leveled against RescueTime (maybe I'm wrong about that, but a quick search didn't reveal anything) and I'm curious as to the reason. Is it b/c of the recent privacy concerns being raised by the US govt's actions, that RescueTime had more cachet when it launched, they got the messaging right to alleviate these concerns, or something else?


Did I miss something? Where does RescueTime come into this?

And yes, when they launched, people had the same worry about the server. See: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=80182

"I don't really look forward to any time tracking program that uploads my stats to a server. I guess Google will buy it, if you have success, as they want to know everything about everyone. I don't think anyone would want the government or Google to know your habits so well that they can make a profile for you..."


I actually have used RescueTime. I would have probably raised the same concern except that I was using it, at the time, at the encouragement of my employer. If they were fine with it, then so was I.

I haven't continued to use it, but to be honest I haven't given it much thought.


I would like to know your thoughts about using Codeivate. Also what other time tracking app do you use?


The dev sent me a link to this last week. Told him the same thing about going over the wire. The difference is, I think that plenty of startups and other size companies that already have their mail and tasks and bugs and code outside of their firewall (or NAT) won't mind this.

The wire problem that exists for me, is that I am not going to use any new services that put my private personal data on someone else's server. My business data is less private since I share that data with other people constantly.


You can segment by git branch using the "Tags" drop-down. By default the text editor plugin sends the current git branch as a tag.


I would be able to use it if there was a way to just keep the data only in my computer.


For those looking for a local-only version of time tracking; I've had this in my vimrc for some time now. It's quite vanilla but gets the job done

https://gist.github.com/goatslacker/6004481


Just some somewhat-constructive feedback: It's always a pet peeve of mine to see the default bootstrap theme on new web apps. It doesn't take a lot of effort to customize it and doing so goes a long way to provide a sense of authority about your application.

I know it doesn't seem like that big of a deal (and for all I know, I could be alone with this sentiment) but it makes a world of difference for me.

That being said -- this looks awesome and I look forward to getting some consulting work to try it out.


Doesn't bother me in the least.

Bootstrap offers sane defaults and presents users with a familiar experience.

If my choices are color/design decisions made by someone who's specialty is something else, or just vanilla bootstrap, I'd encourage the latter.


I agree.


FWIW, it's not entirely default bootstrap - that's the simplex theme, I think. Hrm... no ref to that in the source, and maybe it's been changed since your post. it's 99% default, but looks good enough to get rolling with. I used the 'flatly' theme for http://appliedto.com, which was 'default bootstrap but a free theme' and it's been fine for the people I've showed it to so far, but may eventually spruce things up a bit more.


Water under the bridge here. I think the author has bigger fish to fry: Absence of a logo and a descriptive <title> are bigger issues if we're talking branding.


I agree. I think your comment was constructive.


Cool idea,

My problem with this type of granular time applications is that they are to granular :)

I don't only work on a project when I'm typing on a text editor. I actually do a lot of thinking before using a editor in fact the actual time I spend in the editor is maybe 60% of the time I work on a project.

So for my case I will have to use it with some other time tracking tool witch is to much of a hasel.

Keep us the good work, I am sure there is a market out there for this.


Yea it's not perfect, but you could just open a file and leave the editor open while you do other things for the project.


Cool. I just use org-mode in Emacs which tracks all of my tasks and puts a nice little timer in my status bar. It saves everything in plain-text and I can export it to various formats such as HTML or PDF as needed. I'd take a look at it for inspiration if you're interested.


I was using Org-mode but found it hard to actually use the data I was logging. That's where WakaTime started.

I also hated when I forgot to check-in or check-out from a task in Org-mode and had to guess about a timestamp. The whole experience was tedious.

With WakaTime I have many possibilities for data visualization and reports for my side-projects and contracts.


For those of you who were commenting and looking for a local only timetracking , I have a git plugin that supports Redmine timetracking, and is git friendly. Also, works for gitbranches and git repos, tracks by repo/by branch or annotated tag - does some other stuff - got to stop adding random features.

https://github.com/PAntoine/TimeKeeper

(EDIT: correct url/project)


Cool idea... It took over my ST2 though. When trying to enter the API key, the console flashed wildly with a couldn't find api key message of sorts. Then, when I finally got the API key to be accepted, I was unable to access package control via ctrl+shift+p. That functionality was replaced with another cmd window that instantly closes. Not sure what the deal is with it, but I'm uninstalling for now.


How did you uninstall? If I remove it from the packages folder it just installs it again.


I just opened my User/AppData/Roaming/Sublime Text 2/Packages folder and deleted it... It hasn't re-installed for me.


How does it know if I am doing useful work? If I just leave me vim window on and leave for lunch, will it know I am idle or log the time? Also, opposite scenario, when I am concentrated on something, I basically read the code for a good 30-35 minutes, without typing anything into vim. Can it distinguish it as useful work rather than otherwise?


Scenario 1: You leave Vim to read HN for a while.

WakaTime will ask you when you return if you want to log that time to the current file or not. This happens if you're away for > 15 mins.

Scenario 2: You are reading code without editing it for 30 mins.

At wakati.me you can check the "save" checkbox to filter out any files/projects that were not written to. That file where you did not make edits won't be shown on the website.


Great idea for a plugin, but it made my Sublime Text 2 install unusably slow. I'm not sure what could be doing that - the fact the developer suggested installing bind to cache DNS requests makes me think it checks in with the site very often and I have a poor internet connection where I am right now.


I'm currently making use of Codeivate - http://codeivate.com/ - it's pretty awesome!

You can check my progress here, http://www.codeivate.com/users/jbrooksuk


Do you have a bug tracker?

When I left my computer for awhile, I'm now getting infinite "You were away 17 minutes. Add time to current file?"

It's possible that it's not infinite and I just have THAT many files open, but gah. I have to uninstall this plugin for now. Let me know when it's fixed!


https://github.com/wakatime/sublime-wakatime/issues

I've temporarily switched to using Sublime instead of Vim so that bug will get fixed today.


Does this track time even when the window is unfocused? If possible, it shouldn't: I often leave my editor open but idle even for hours, and this might skew the tracking by counting a lot of time on a file on which I didn't really work for that long.


We do something pretty similar with PaymoPlus but it works with any app http://www.paymo.biz/paymoplus - not sure why you would limit the app only to text editors.


I limited it to text editors because I was making this for myself and I'm a programmer.

I wanted to visually see the data I was already tracking with Org-mode and also wanted my time tracked without my involvement.


Tried it out, the search in file went really slow. Also, when I was away, it asked me if I wanted to log the away time. That's fine but opening up dialogs until Sublime crashes, not ok.

Will try it out more when/if those two things are fixed.


It's probably slow now because of the HN load.

Right now I don't have a better way to log AFK time besides the dialog. Just to clarify, are you worried about Sublime crashing while you're away?


No, the whole plugin is slow. When I search for things for example, Sublime is slow. The website is not slow.

And no, I'm not worried about Sublime crashing when I'm away. The dialog that pops up when it asks you to log you time, popped up like a thousands of times and then Sublime crashed.


I had the same problem with the search. I had to uninstall for now.


some portion of my project time is while in an text editor. some portion is not. and use a variety of editors and tools. so if it only captures a narrow subset of my actual spent project time, it's not a net-win for me personally. easier to start/stop a stopwatch of some kind. since that's out-of-band, it's automatically inclusive of all activities, whether an editor involved or not. reading time counts, thinking time counts, meetings, phone convos, etc.


Would a day planner view solve this? That view would show you blocks of time for the day so you could see when you started working and when you stopped working without worrying about the meetings or breaks in the middle.


I think the MUT (minimum useful tool that nails it) would be like a stopwatch app/command, that also lets you specify what project (and optionally task within the project) is being started/paused/resumed/completed. Then it can show you total breakdowns by project, task, etc. In a completely private and local way. In a terminal. With GUI only as an optional bonus. This may already exist and I just am ignorant of it. Seems like an "old" problem that should have been solved by now and I just haven't stumbled upon it. I could write it I guess. But yeah, I don't want a desktop GUI or web app, by default. Give me a CLI in a Terminal. With text, I can then have lots of easy/obvious ways to slice and dice that, script it, etc.


Awesome idea. Getting devs to track time is always a pain, and this kind of thing is a great way to get the data needed for less-annoying project management.


How is this different from http://rescuetime.com (other than only tracking the text editor)?


Good question. WakaTi.me knows what project your working under while rescuetime.com only knows that your inside your text editor.


That makes sense.

RescueTime gives me information about how much time I spent in each file and is showing me the project as part of that info, but it doesn't rollup time spent in a project.

Still seems of limited use since it wouldn't show me time spent debugging in a browser, working in the database, etc. From a productivity standpoint RescueTime lets me dictate that http://myproject.dev is "debugging" time, Sublime Text is "IDE" time and that Terminal is also "development" time. If I could change how Sublime Text displays info in the title bar then I could probably set it to know that "Sublime Text -> My Project -> file" was time spent in "development/my project".


Actually, RescueTime does know and report on what file / project you have open inside the text editor, as long as the info is in the window title (which both these apps do). And it's keyword-searchable by whatever is in that data point-- usually filename, project name, directory tree etc. It works this way with just about all text editors.

The key word search method is how people usually accomplish the idea of project reporting-- but is admittedly not perfect, like you could get if we actually could consume that meta data.

However, the "document" level details are only exposed to you in the premium version-- in the free version you just get an open document count, so that is a significant difference.

I've always thought the long term path for an enriched time measurement experience would involve plugins like this one. Great to see someone working on it.

Disclosure: I'm a RescueTime employee.


Ah, I am a premium member, so that makes sense that I saw that in my dashboard.


"other than only tracking the text editor" is the key part there.

It's interested in the files and projects you're working in, I think, so it's a bit more specific to programming.


http://www.timecamp.com can automatically capture time based on keywords in window titles, very similar


Or http://timingapp.com which does track what files you work on, and can be grouped into projects?


I bought timingapp and had high hopes for it, but immediately ran into various issues. First and foremost, it wouldn't let you edit the names of activities or the duration spent on any of them. You could enter a duration, but if there was a typo (like entering 12 hours instead of 12 mins), then too bad. I contacted support, but they said the features to edit...well, anything, were not currently available.

That stuff I could forgive since it's a new app, but my major issue was actually more insidious. It uses a background applescript to track your apps and your activity in each and I think it might either contain or inadvertently be causing a memory leak. I keep a memory tracker in my status bar and so I'm fairly in tune with how much memory I have on average. Within a day or two of installing the app, I noticed my memory usage going from ~50% to ~95% usage with the difference sitting in "inactive memory."

I had not changed any other major configs, started using a different set of apps, or installed any other apps since installing TimingApp, so I was very suspicious of it. Still, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and restarted my machine. I worked for another few days and my memory would just casually creep back up to ~95% and stay there until a "purge" command or another restart.

I uninstalled, restarted, and all my memory issues have since disappeared.


Interesting. I'm testing it now, so I'll keep an eye out for that, thanks. So far I'm not seeing anything odd though.


Nice. I signed up for an account and installed the sublime plugin. Is there any way to export data? Even if it's just an API for now.


Yes, I have a JSON api that the Backbone.js website uses. To export all of your logged time, just page through this resource:

https://www.wakati.me/api/v1/actions?page=1&show=file,is_wri...

I'll publish api docs soon to make writing your own plugin easier.


This is a great idea but would love to have the same thing for org-mode with git commit message integration


There is bug on the windows when I changed file terminal window popup.


If it worked with TM2 I'd use it.


Really nice idea. I like it :)


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