Help Desk System
by: InverseFlow, go
to the web site
- UNIX, Linux, FreeBSD, Microsoft Windows NT (NT, 2000
and XP) server. Apache, Netscape or Microsoft IIS web
server. MySQL or mSQL databases. Microsoft Access is
not supported. MySQL (version 3.23 or higher). PHP (version
4.2.3 or higher) when possible. Crontab is helpful but
not required. Hardware - AMD/Pentium 300mhz or more.
64 MB RAM (SDRAM preferably. Other
- remote access via telnet/shell is helpful during installation.
FTP access is helpful during installation. Time-run limitations
are hurtful but not fatal to the script. Crontab is not
on: Linux, Apache server, PHP, and MySQL.
there are no such things as foolproof, perfect software
or computer systems. The more features and complexity we
introduce, the better the chance of problems. When people
have problems they usually need help to solve them. Providing
effective and efficient help is essential to any business
with products. Inverse’s Help Desk System seeks to
provide these folks with a web-based help environment that
accomplishes this mighty feat.
Desk System (HDS) allows you to set up a web based help/ticket
system that allows users to post tickets which can be subsequently
addressed by technical support folks all through online
or e-mail based interactions. The beauty of the program
is that this process is accomplished with an elegance that
provides both sets of users the key ingredients required
to create a successful solution.
the HDS system on my Linux server required some basic knowledge
of my database system such as logins, paths and passwords,
but other than this the installation and a subsequent upgrade
were virtually painless. In reviewing the Windows instructions
I imagine the same could be said for an installation on
I've had some experience in the ticket system area having
worked with a number of customized ticket systems as well
as developing a specialized one myself and I can say with
some confidence that this product provides all of the essentials
and then some. If that were not enough, you get a key ingredient
with every license - the source code. With each license
you have the legal right to customize the source code and
even remove the copyright information if you so choose.
Now how often do you get that as part of competing packages?
Although the rights to change the code are part of your
license, you will probably find no burning need to adjust
the programming. Many of the functions within the system
have a customizable interface as well as additional options
that can be adjusted directly from the web-based interface.
To detail all of the features of this system would take
more space than allotted for this review, but let me touch
on some of the basic and advanced features that I found
The core features in HDS that make it work are the ticket
creation system, a friendly way to manage ticket lifecycle,
and the information associated with a ticket fix. There
are several features that make this particularly good:
customizable e-mails, automatic replies triggered by department
and or keyword options, a trigger to send an online survey
form when a ticket is closed, and statistics telling you
about response frequency, speed and quality.
Workload for ticket responders is eased not only by the
clear interface and notices, but also by providing these
users with the ability to create generic replies that can
be selected on the fly for common problems and modified
appropriately for a specific response. Responders can also
flag different tickets and assign a priority to them or
transfer them to another person or department.
For users one of the neatest advanced features is the
ability to register tickets via e-mail. When users send
an e-mail to a specific address the ticket system can be
set up to manually or automatically collect and process
these e-mails and turn then directly into tickets.
features of note are the ability to add attachments,
both public and private (only staff can see
them). Get a lot of the same questions? HDS has a searchable
knowledge base which can be set up to provide users with
the option to self-help. Ticket closed prematurely? A user’s
reply to a closed ticket will automatically re-open the
ticket and inform the group responsible for solving the
In terms of cons, I really could not find many. Sure your
business might be slightly different, but the base provided
enables you to address most any problems, in some cases
much better than other systems I've used. Perhaps the only
feature I would have liked to see changed was in the auto
replies. When a generic auto reply is added as well as
one with keywords, the generic one is used automatically
and overrides the keyword one. It would be nice if the
keyword replies could be set to override the generic ones
Overall I felt that HDS provided a truly helpful solution
to a troublesome problem - how to provide online help efficiently.
With the added bonus of the ability to modify the source
code at will, it is hard to see how one could go wrong
with this product.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org