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Network Support

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Network plug-ins for VPT

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Introduction

The following two plug-ins allow VPT to work in a network and share project data among several workstations. These plug-ins help transfer project data from a workstation to a server and combine projects from different users.

The network support implemented by these plug-ins is quite simple and hence easy-to-use. An outline of the functionality is the following:

  • A network may have one or more computers that are able to access a shared folder on one of the computers.
  • A regular copy of VPT is installed on each workstation along with the network client plug-in (VPT Client).
  • Each client copy of VPT is used in much the same way as it is for personal use. However the client plug-ins allow to retrieve and store project data from/to the server by copying project files over the network.
  • One copy of VPT (dedicated or a regular workstation) is used to manage project data for the whole workgroup. The Network Server plug-in is installed in this copy of VPT (VPT Server).
  • All project files for all users are stored in a shared folder on a File Server. This could be any computer on the network, even one of the workstations provided the folder is accessible to all VPT clients and the VPT server.

The workflow of the whole workgroup can be described as this:

  1. Before starting a new project, VPT administrator (the user of VPT server) creates an empty project that defines the applications to track in the project, hourly rates, custom activity categories, etc. This empty project will be used as project template for all workstations working on the same project.
  2. A user before starting to work on a project, uses client plug-in's Get Project From Server command that allows him to pick the project template.
  3. The template (empty) project is transferred to the user machine and the client VPT can be used as usual. It is possible to open several different "network" projects at a time as with local project.
  4. It is still possible to work on local projects, i.e. those projects that are not considered part of the workgroup's task. Just use VPT's "New Project" command to create a new project as usual. A local project cannot be saved to the server for processing, though.
  5. When the work on the project is finished or when it is necessary update team progress, project data can be transferred to the server for processing. Client VPT command Send Project to Server will move the project file to the server. The local copy of the project is either deleted or the data in it is purged so there's no double time tracking.
  6. The project file is moved to a special user folder on the File Server where all intermediate project data are collected for each user separately.
  7. It is possible to continue working on the same project by getting a new "fresh" template for the same project. Newly collected data will be moved to the same user folder on the file server afterwards and stored with other "fragments" of the same project.
  8. The VPT server (VPT with the server plug-in) is used to combine pieces of the same project for each user and then combine different user projects together to create collective database for each project for the whole workgroup. Combined project data is stored in separate folders on the file server (each user's combined projects are stored in separate folders).
  9. After the project data was combined, it is possible to load all the projects of any user or the combined projects of the workgroup into the server VPT for creating reports or viewing individual data.

Proceed to the next page for more details on configuring and using the plug-ins.

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