Digger Solutions is an intranet application
that takes a classic open-source marketing tack: give away a bunch of useful functionality,
and hope to make some money by selling additional add-ons. The free part is useful
enough that it just might work out that way.
The idea is simple: this is the sort of application that a small consulting company
might use to manage its projects and time. It’s implemented in classic ASP with an
Access backend (scripts are available to convert the backend to SQL Server 7.0 or
2000 if you prefer). At the heart of the system are tracking pages for clients, projects,
tasks, and timecards (hours applied to an individual task – you might have seen other
systems call these timeslips). There’s not full Gantt-chart project scheduling here,
but there is plenty of room to plan future projects, as well as a good set of reports
to tell you how you’re doing.
There are also a bunch of other things that dress up the intranet: a shared calendar,
company news, a discussion area, resource links, an employee directory, and a document
repository, for example. You can create and update message logs for each client, and
inspect both the work logs for clients and for employees. On a local server, it’s
all quite fast, and it seems to work as advertised. The source code is somewhat commented,
and there’s an administrator’s manual with some basic documentation.
I was able to get IOS up and running quite quickly on my own server, poke around in
the sample data, and enter my own. The few problems that I hit were in misconfiguration,
and they were easily solved with the help of the support area on the Digger Solutions
So if you get all that for free, what do you need to pay for? The answer is that,
although you can administer everything by manipulating the database directly, there
are Admin Paks for things like news, calendar entries, and employees. These range
in price from $19.99 to $99.99 (for a complete package that includes everything).
There are also some skins to make IOS look nicer, though it’s perfectly functional
I was just thinking about writing something like this for a distributed development
team that I’m involved with. Now I just may implement IOS instead. After all, reinventing
wheels is not a great use of time.