Last Monday (which seems like a very long time ago), I said that I was going to come clean about Ticket Desk Pro.

It has a background that goes back two and a half years, that’s how long it’s been in development.  But Ticket Desk Pro isn’t the name it’s always been known as.

The original item of software has an excellent pedigree and it’s been worked on extensively by the developer this last 4 months or so and had new features added to it at my suggestion, and will now continue to be developed under its new name.

We also found a fair few minor bugs and fixed those too.

The old version will shortly disappear after TDP is launched.

Here we go then.

Ticket Desk Pro has been developed by David Bennett of Maian Script World, and TDP is based on Maian Support.

Maian Support hasn’t had any work done on it since March 2007.  David considered it as complete as he wanted it to be, but I saw there were a few really nice things he could do to it to turn it into a much more friendly piece of software.

So after sweet talking him for about a month, he finally agreed to not only re-write Maian Support and turn it into Ticket Desk Pro, but also to do some other nice little scripts with me too.

One of them you may have already used if you bought resale rights to SmartDD LITE, is the Nickel Script.

(I still can’t believe that was free when I went to register a domain for the script!)

So back to TDP.  I have lots of other little ideas for improving it, but even in its current state, it’s a vast improvement over Maian Support in all sorts of little ways.

Three of the more noticeable things that we did was to:-

#1 – Add in extra filters to the open tickets.  This is an incredible time saver over the original script.  Now you can also select by “Awaiting Admin Response” to show you only the open tickets that are awaiting an answer from you.

This is a godsend when your support desk becomes busy.  I really don’t know if I could have kept my sanity without this one feature alone.  It was well worth all the testing and tweaking we went through to get it working correctly.

#2 – Allow the linking of multiple users to a department, and multiple departments to a user.  The old script took an “all or one” approach, you could either be responsible for all departments or one of them, but nothing in between.

Ticket Desk Pro now allows you to select and allocate multiple departments to a user, which is very useful if there’s some parts of your support system you don’t want everyone to have access to.

#3 – Add in Standard Responses.  Hallelujah!

You can now create a standard response, which when answering a ticket can be selected from a drop down and added to your answer just by clicking the “Add” button.

So you can either create complete answers to the same question, or create snippets of standard responses and add each one in turn to an open ticket until you’ve built a complete answer to the ticket.

I can’t even begin to tell you how useful this is.  If I lost this one feature, I’d probably want to use a different script, it’s that good.

Overall TDP is probably the best support desk system I’ve seen.  I’m not just saying that because it’s mine, I’m saying that because it’s true.

The most important thing to me was that it should be easy to use while still being fully functional.  David has achieved that in spades.

We’ll continue to add in truly useful features as they arise, but we won’t fall into the trap that we see many software vendors do of “over-engineering”.

What I mean by that is, sometimes an item of software is finished.  It doesn’t need anything else adding to it, but the developers feel that they have to continue adding in features that will never get used by 98% of people.

I’ve seen some great software turn into bloatware over the years that eventually became unwieldy and replaced by something slimmer from another vendor.  Example:  Microsoft Office, once the best, has now become over-engineered, and replaced on many people’s desktops by the much better Open Office.

If we add in a feature, then the majority will find it useful.  We also figure that if we find it useful, then so will most other people.

Okay, apart from the three important changes above, we’ve made all sorts of very useful little changes under the hood in various places throughout the script.  I even found a few bugs from the original that no-one had reported.

Tomorrow I’ll make a post about the pre-launch nickel sale, but just to warn you, the date for pre-launch is set for Tuesday 1st April.

-Frank Haywood