1.6, by John Bennett
to the web site
Free (must keep links to PerlDesk intact)
an open-source maniac. I love coding PHP and I love exploring
the endless number of scripts available as open-source online.
One area in which PHP is lacking is in the availability of
an all-inclusive, easily managed help desk application. To
find such an application, however, all we have to do is look
it is written in Perl, which has a reputation of being a cryptic
language and more complicated than PHP, PerlDesk handles the
task of support ticket management simply and intuitively.
install of PerlDesk is fairly simple, with only the same setup
issues which accompany any Perl script. Be sure that permissions
are set correctly (755 for all .cgi files) and that the path
to Perl in the shebang line is correct on all scripts (for
me, that line would read #!/usr/bin/perl -w). Also ensure
that your MySQL database has been set up correctly and that
you have the login information (username, password and hostname)
in the conf.pl file. After these tasks are complete, you'll
be able to run the install.cgi file with no issue.
is a complete support management tool, which is divided into
4 sections: User area, Staff area, Administration area and
a Knowledge base area. The first of these areas that we'll
look at is the admin area.
you have installed PerlDesk, you'll be able to login to the
admin area using the default username and password (admin/demo).
Here, you'll find quick stats on tickets, staff and users,
as well as links to perform any of the administration tasks
you find necessary, including users, staff, requests and settings.
Each of these sections is further divided into more specific
admin tasks. The admin section is useful for adding departments,
adding staff, viewing support tickets and contacting users
or staff via e-mail or announcements. A new feature in the
1.6 release of PerlDesk is the search capability, which allows
the administrator to search the support database by username,
name, e-mail, URL, or company.
staff area of PerlDesk gives staff members a quick look at
unresolved tickets within their assigned departments, allows
them to respond or to change the status of a ticket or to
assign that ticket to another internal department and provides
for easily adding common questions to the knowledge base.
Staff members can also research problems using the knowledge
base or resolved support requests. This section is also graced
with a search box similar to the one newly added in the admin
section, allowing the staff member to search requests by priority,
username, subject, call id, or text.
user area is a simple, but quite functional, interface. The
options in this section allow for opening a support ticket,
viewing all open tickets, viewing closed tickets (and re-opening
them if necessary), searching open and closed support requests,
editing the user profile and viewing the knowledge base.
final area of PerlDesk, the knowledge base area, is an excellent
tool which allows the user to see all categories, list knowledge
base articles within a particular category and view specific
articles. This is an excellent way to deal with commonly asked
questions, installation information and current issues affecting
There are a few things I'd like to see in PerlDesk's future
releases. The ability to work with tickets directly from the
admin area would greatly ease its use for managers. Removing
the requirement that the user enter his name, company and
e-mail address when submitting each new support ticket would
make the process a bit simpler for end-users. Allowing staff
to set priority on tickets instead of placing this responsibility
on users would make it easier for the staff to prioritize
their work based on the business's definition of those priorities.
PerlDesk provides all the tools necessary for a company to
run a professional support system. It does this with a compact
package, fast scripts, a database backend and an intuitive
interface. It is truly the best application of its kind. I
would highly recommend PerlDesk to any company in need of
such an application.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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