March 17, 2006

A quick look at GanttProject 2.0

Author: Dmitri Popov

Although my daily work doesn't require any project management tools, I do have a soft spot for GanttProject, an easy-to-use application that has been previously featured on NewsForge. GanttProject's developers recently released version 2.0 of the application, which introduced two significant features: critical path and PERT charts.PERT chart stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique, and according to Wikipedia 'PERT is basically a method for analyzing the tasks involved in completing a given project, especially the time needed to complete each task, and identifying the minimum time needed to complete the total project'.

Wikipedia also tells us that

critical path is the sequence of project network terminal elements with the longest overall duration, determining the shortest time to complete the project.... The duration of the critical path determines the duration of the entire project.

Both features are used mostly in the management of large and complex projects, which will help GanttProject make inroads into the corporate world.

The new version also sports an improved Export Wizard; the big news here is its ability to export projects into Microsoft Project format. If you choose to export a GanttProject file into HTML format, you also have an option to upload it to an FTP server directly from within the wizard.

Unfortunately, GanttProject's site doesn't seem to provide a coherent list of new features and improvements, so the pleasure of finding nuggets in the new version is all yours. My recent discovery is an addition of the 'days off' option for project participants in the Resources section.

Oh, and GanttProject 2.0 also has a brand new logo and splash screen. In short, GanttProject 2.0 is a solid update of an already great application. If you are into project management, you should take a close look at it.

Editor's Note: Microsoft Project 2003 retails for $599 (standard) or $999 (professional) and runs only on Windows. GanttProject is free software, written in Java, licensed under the GPL, and runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows platforms.


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