SPARCS Release Notes/History
v3.1.6 (03-Jan-2007) New Feature Release:
v3.1.1 (25-June-2006) Bug Fix and New Feature Release:
- Improved the audit logging of task changes:
- Added new field to separate user followup comments from task change information.
- Improved detection/reporting of changed values during task modify operation.
- Added task change audit information to the Task Browser-Expanded and Task Review screens.
- Blank field selections on the Task Add and Modify screens are now recorded as NULL values in the database.
- Added a Close Text attribute to tasks to enable reporting on the comments recorded at the closing of a task.
- Added new OIL Summary report - summarizes issue counts by severity and issue status.
- Added two new Flash-based reports: Task Count by Severity and Task Count by Lifecycle Phase.
- Improved task search by date on the Task Browser screen: date ranges can now be specified for task open date, close date, followup activity, expected start and end dates
- Added new validation logic on the Task Modify screen.
- Added Impact Type search field to the Task Browser screen.
- Added "dirty form" checking to the Task Add and Task Modify screens.
- Added Tooltips display of project summary when hovering over the project Id field in the search results on the Task Browser screen.
- Added an "Unspecified" default value to several drop down lists on the Task Add screen.
- Moved the Followup-related fields from the Task Modify screen to a popup window accessible via a link on the Task Modify screen. This allows systems configured to use the rich text editor to utilize a properly sized editor box.
- Fixed issue that would cause a popup report to rerun if it had been previously selected on the Task Browser screen and the web browser reload button was pressed.
- Fixed formatting of the followup comments text boxes on the Edit Task Time screen.
- The Task Review screen now reports the followup-based actual times instead of the task-level ATC.
- Reduced the number of queries required to report on filtered ATC values.
- Improved the formatting of the task problem and followup information on the Task Browser-Expanded views.
v3.1.0 (08-May-2006) New Feature Release:
- Added Impact Type and Impact Comments tracking for tasks, along with the associated lookup table.
- Fixed an issue that could cause task groups and their related tasks to become disassociated if the used task group settings are edited.
v3.0.8 (03-January-2006) Bug Fix Release:
- Added task export to MS Project feature. Tasks filtered on the Task Browser screen can now be sent to a MS Project file, complete with start/end dates, durations, percent complete and dependencies.
- Replaced the plain text area editor with a rich text editor for editing problem detail text. The new editor enables HTML editing and has a spell checker.
- Added Timesheet Report option. This new report allows selection of a tech, start date and end date and will generate a timesheet for the selected user grouped by project and day. The report can include all tasks with activity for the user over the selected date range, or filter timesheet entries by the current task search filter settings.
- New privilege level: Followup. Users with this privilege level (5+) are allowed to submit task followup entries, even if they do not have permission to modify the main task detail information.
- Replaced the ATC text entry field with a link to the timesheet for the the selected task. All time entries should now be entered at the followup level to allow more accurate time tracking. On the Task Modify screen, the ATC timesheet link displays the accumulated total ATC time.
- Replaced Export to Excel checkbox with a drop down style report selector that includes Excel, Timesheet, Task Summary and MS Project.
- Modified the Task Review screen to display a link to the Task Dependency Viewer screen only if the selected task has dependencies, otherwise the word "None" is displayed.
- Added a second level sort option on the Task Browser screen.
- Added all task attributes as sort options on the Task Browser screen.
- Added tooltip-style project summary popup information to the Project Id fields on the Task Browser screen when Project Id is a selected reporting field.
- On the Task Browser screen, modified the summary bar to include both ATC calculation by followup entry and a separate total for the task level ATC values.
- Added Expected Start Date, Expected End Date, Release Name, Impact Type, Impact Comments, Project Name, Task Level ATC and Unfiltered ATC fields as optional task table reporting columns.
- On the Task Browser screen, if expanded mode is turned on, display the task details text in addition to the followup and (optional) summary information.
- On the Task Browser screen, if the ATC column is enabled by the user, display both the followup actual time calculation and any task level time in parenthesis.
- Added validation to the Task Add screen to ensure non-contradictory values for Assigned Tech and initial Status.
- Adjusted all screens that allow selection of Priority so that the range can be set with a configuration value.
- The Difficulty Level and Percent Complete fields can now be set to zero (as opposed to empty) values on a Task Add operation.
- Modified the Task Close logic to no longer automatically set the task Status to Complete when a task is closed. Not every task that is closed fits the definition of complete (ie. On Hold tasks).
- Fixed a problem on the Task Browser screen: when the Close Date field was a selected display column, an unclosed task would show a close date in the year 1969 (an unlikely date).
v3.0.7 (01-January-2006) Feature and Bug Fix Release:
- Conditionalized display of the Task Id checkbox in the text search section of the Task Browser screen so that it is only visible in Task mode and not Project mode.
- Conditionalized the Severity option on the Order By select list on the Task Browser screen so that it only appears in Task mode and not Project mode.
- Updated the Task Id text search code on the Task Browser screen to allow spaces anywhere in the task id comma-separated list.
- Added code to Project Review screen to prevent an undefined project id from generating warnings.
- Fixed a problem that would cause an erroneous display of severity keywords on the Task Browser screen when the severity for a task fell outside of the range of defined severity types.
v3.0.5 (03-December-2005) Feature and Bug Fix Release:
- Converted Severity numeric scale to table-driven description-based severities.
- Added the ability to search for tasks by task Id number on the Task Browser screen. Multiple task id numbers can be specified with a comma-separated list.
- Added persistence for difficulty level and percent complete fields on the Add Task screen.
- Improved SQL query generation for browsing tasks: if all severity or priority values are selected on the Task Browser screen, the generated SQL optimizes these parameters out of the query.
- Adjusted the behavior of the ATC calculation so that hours are accumulated within the specified work session start and end times, and not on the followup record creation time.
- Fixed the behavior of the ATC Tech Filter calculation on the Task Browser screen so that total ATC hours and individual task ATC hours are properly filtered by any specified tech.
- Fixed the unestimated task counter on the summary bar of Task Browser screen.
- Fixed a problem on the Post Project Add screen that would cause a SQL warning after pressing the RETURN button.
- Fixed a problem on the Project Review screen that would cause a SQL warning if the project had no assignee.
- Fixed a problem on the Task Review screen that would cause a SQL warning if the task had no assignee.
v3.0.4 (27-November-2005) Feature and Bug Fix Release:
- Fixed an issue that would cause multiple warning messages to be displayed if a new task was created with no task assignee and a status of Assigned.
- Fixed an issue on the Add Task screen that would cause entered task estimates for the new task to become orphaned upon closing the popup Task Estimates screen.
- Modified the Add Task and Modify Task screens to refresh estimate totals without regenerating the page, since this could cause unsaved task changes to be lost.
- Task Summary and Detail values for new tasks are now saved in the session, and presented to the user in subsequent visits to the Add Task screen.
v3.0.2 (24-November-2005) Minor Feature and Bug Fix Release:
- Added the Close Task By Release Name feature to allow a release manager to close all tasks that are identified by a selected Release Name.
- Reworked the task close handling code.
- Created a script to migrate task estimates from PTS 2.9x schema to SPARCS 3.0.x schema.
- Updated the Task Modify code to cause task modifications to update the followup work type and lifecycle phases to automatically reflect the current task values for these fields.
- Fixed issue on the Task Browser screen that would prevent proper preselecting of the Release Name field if any existing release names were marked inactive.
v3.0.0 (04-July-2005) Major New Release:
- Enabled client-side column sorting on the Task Browser screen.
- Fixed relative addressing issue with Excel task table style sheet that caused a warning to be displayed.
- Fixed problem on Task Timesheet screen that would prevent presetting of Work Type and Current Lifecycle fields.
v2.9.6b (24-January-2005) Bug Fix Release:
- Major rework of existing HTML, including:
- Validated and corrected all HTML code using Tidy.
- Replaced all deprecated <FONT> tags and and attributes with style sheet controls.
- Added a number of new CSS classes, with color override capability in preferences.
As each page is loaded, any user-specified preferences will override the built-in stylesheet.
- Updated application banner code.
- Improved empty table cell behaviour.
- New Preferences screen with support for runtime stylesheet updates, improved selection of
task column display, color selection pallette, theme support and Project Notification selection.
- Themes can be loaded and saved to allow users to define color sets. Loading a theme and then saving
preferences will allow the user to adopt the theme settings.
- Rewrote email notification system. The new code is more platform independent and
provides notification triggers based on project subscriptions.
- Fixed attachment update message on Task Modify screen.
- Fixed an issue that would allow a user to create a duplicate task id by pressing the browser reload button.
- Fixed a bug that prevented a new (or existing) task from being created (or modified) with no Release Name value.
- Fixed a bug that could cause a SQL error after opening and then closing the Task Dependency Edit or View screens
and then returning to the Task Browser screen.
- Widened Status and TaskClass flags to allow more values
v2.9.6a (12-December-2004) Minor Feature Update Release:
- Fixed a problem that prevented the Edit Task Groups pop up from rendering.
v2.9.6 (25-November-2004) New Feature/UI Update Release:
- Added Open Tech as a task display column option.
v2.9.5 (11-November-2004) New Feature/UI Update Release:
- The search results table on the Task Browser screen now has customizable column display.
Each column now contains a single type of data, which improves the client-side column sorting
and eliminates a problem with cell merging in the Excel-formatted task reports. Users
can select the desired columns to display in the task search results table from a new
multi-select list of task attributes on the Preferences screen.
- Made a number of other formatting improvements to the task search results table. In particular,
formatting for Expanded mode (which displays task followup details) and Last Activity mode
have been cleaned up.
- Fixed some HTML generation code for the HEAD and BODY tags for the Modify Task Confirmation and
Modify Preferences Confirmation screens.
- Added stylesheet to the Modify Preferences Confirmation screen.
v2.9.4a (15-October-2004) Bug Fix Patch Release:
- Added a new Severity attribute to the Tasks table. Previously, the Priority
attribute has served two purposes: the desired order to complete tasks and the
severity of the associated issue. These two attributes are not always weighted
equally. The Severity attribute is now used to specify the relative seriousness
of the issue, and the priority attribute is used to determine which issues should
be resolved first. A SQL script has also been provided to migrate existing priority
data into the new Severity column.
- Fixed a query issue of the Task Summary Report screen.
- Added the standard stylesheet to the Task Modify Confirmation screen for consistency.
- Updated the Task Review screen to properly format table entries that contain blank
v2.9.4 (07-September-2004) New Feature/Minor Bug Fix Release:
- Fixed a problem that would cause a sql error to be displayed on the Task Browser
screen if no tasks matched the current filter settings.
v2.9.3 (05-June-2004) Minor Bug Fix/Enhancement Release:
- Added timesheet date validation to Task Modify and Add Followup screens.
- Improved session handling by adding persistence to Task Browser screen checkbox fields
(ie. Search Summary/Details, Summary Reports, etc.)
- Added the ability to search task activity during a specified date range
on the Task Browser screen.
- Added Actual Time to Complete (ATC) filter-by-tech capability. This enables a user to
filter the ATC information for selected tasks by a specified tech and report the total
- An adminstrator (level greater than 90) can now modify the specified tech for any
work session entry on a timesheet using drop down lists.
- Modified the word wrap style for followup comment text boxes to better preserve
line breaks created by the user.
- Fixed a minor problem that would occasionally cause work session times to be displayed
with a precision greater than two places past the decimal.
- Fixed a problem that would cause a followup tech to be recorded as the current
assigned tech instead of the logged in user on the Task Modify screen.
- Performed some cleanup in the Task Search Results table code: removed some
vestigal code, added comments, updated task retrieval database queries, etc.
v2.9.2 (14-May-2004) New Feature Release:
- Added validation to Timesheet screen to prevent a timesheet update if
any session's end time precedes its start time or if any session time
exceeds 24 hours. Infractions of these rules are pointed out during any
attempt to submit the timesheet page - all entries on the page are checked,
not just recent modification attempts. Focus moves to the first error
field if there are any violations.
- Added stylesheet to project-related screens to improve consistency.
- Fixed issue that caused a database error when switching from Project Review
screen to Task Browse screen.
- Replaced "Close" button images for "Close Task" and "Close Project" functions
to differentiate from "Close Window" function.
v2.9.0 (30-Apr-2004) New Feature Release:
- New Open Task Summary Report added. Provides a report which displays the
number of open tasks matching search criteria at specified intervals, grouped by
priority. To use, check "Summary Reports" checkbox on main task browser screen,
select "All" for task state selection, select any other required filter information,
and click the "Update" button. The date/interval selection window will appear.
Select start date, end date and number of days for reporting interval. The report
will appear in the popup window as an Excel spreadsheet suitable for charting.
v2.8.1 (28-Feb-2004) Minor bug fix:
- Added new Timesheet Editor screen to enable better tracking of
individual work session times. This screen provides the capability of
editing start times, end times and descriptions for work sessions for a task.
The screen updates session durations and total work time on the fly as changes
to individual sessions are made. Non-administrative users can view/edit any
of their own work session information, and adminstrative users can alter work
session information for all users.
- Main task browser screen now displays the total accumulated work session time
for all selected tasks.
- A less than optimal fix for a problem that caused the Generate Excel mode
to stay locked on until the user logs out of the system has been applied. The
problem was created as a side effect of the session management facility. The
system now avoids storing the Generate Excel setting in the session to
prevent the situation. This configuration switch will be put back into the
session store in a future release.
v2.8 (08-Feb-2004) Significant New Feature Release:
- Fixed taskgroup_id query parameter that could restrict displayed tasks on
the initial display of the main task browser screen.
v2.7 (24-Aug-2003) New Feature Release:
- Added task start and stop fields and calendar popups to followup
section of the task modify screen.
- New Multi-Task Dependency Tracking feature. Tasks can now have
multiple task dependencies. Two new screens were added to facilitate
this feature: a Dependency View screen and a Dependency Edit screen.
The edit screen enables task browsing using the main task search
mechanism, and adds checkboxes next to any matching tasks to provide
dependency selection. Existing dependencies not matching search criteria
appear in a second section on the Dependency Edit screen.
- Session Management facility added. PTS now remembers task and project
search criteria across screens - even after logout. The session
information persists for an administrator-configurable timeout period.
(Defaults to 8 hours.)
- Converted the project and release selection drop down lists to
multi-select lists on the main task browser screen. This makes it
possible to search for tasks in more than one project and for more than
one release at a time.
- Ported PTS software to MS-Windows. With the exception of email
notification, all functionality in PTS can now be served up from an
Apache server running on Windows.
- Added new stylesheet to all pages for improvements in appearance.
- Added task attachment feature. A file attachment can now be uploaded
and associated with any task. A link to an attachment will appear on
the task details screen.
- Supplied some missing HTML tags.
- Popup calendars have been added to the Task Followup screen
to provide the ability to track the start and stop times for work
sessions on individual tasks. Reporting will be added that will summarize
task duration based on this information.
- A popup warning is now issued when the task or project close button
is pressed to prevent accidental closure.
- Increased height of multi-select boxes on the Task Browser screen.
v2.6 (12-Jul-2003) Bug Fix and New Feature Release:
- New Task Grouping feature to allow linking related tasks
within a project (for example, related tasks in a test case).
- Major code cleanup in the Task/Project Browse screen.
- Task/Project filter form display improvements.
- Fixed troublesome field pre-select bugs in search filter form.
- New PTS database automated backup tool with rotation support.
- Added total selected task information to task selection summary on
Task Browse screen.
v2.5.2 (08-Jul-2003) New Feature Release:
- Added security roles to allow control of various features of the
v2.5.0 (03-Mar-2003) New Feature Release:
- Added ATC (Actual Time to Complete) field to all pertinent
screens to make it possible to compare task estimates (ETR)
task browse screen. The table can be sorted in either direction by
column clicking on the desired column heading.
- Cleaned up the task browse screen to facilitate the new
- Added the ability to automatically generate an Excel spreadsheet
of task search results. Clicking on the "Generate Excel" checkbox
and pressing the "Update" button on the task browse screen will cause
a pop up Excel spreadsheet to appear.
- Added some improvements to the default color scheme for various
screen features. The user can now set the task browse result table
header row independently from the rest of the screen by defining the
- Added Release Notes link to Login screen.
- Other minor code fixes (ie. fixed missing closing </TR> tags
on the task browse screen).
v2.07 (29-Jan-2002) PHP4/MySQL Updates:
- Removed a number of calls to addslashes() that were used to
write quoted fields to the database. Newer versions of PHP and
MySQL didn't need these calls and their presence caused extra
backslashes to appear in read-back database fields.
- Updated several database functions in db-mysql.inc for
compatibility with recent versions of MySQL
- Added "Release Specification" feature. Task browser screen now
allows selection of a Release tag as part of the task filter.
Selection method is by a drop down list of available releases.
Releases tags are added to the system through a new "Release Names"
link on the maintenance screen. Release name selection is also
allowed on the New Task and Modify Task screens. A new database
table (releases.mysql) has been added to the system to hold the
release names, id numbers and descriptions. A new "release_id"
column was added to the "tasks" table to hold a pointer to the
corresponding row in the "releases" table.
- Modified task summary chart on the task browser screen. The
status and task class entries now display the full status and
task class names instead of the single-letter abbreviations.
The task class, status and priority information are in bold type
to differentiate them from the labels.
- Modified the email generation code for the task-modify feature.
The status and task class information are now displayed as full
words instead of single letter abbreviations. Also, the highly
annoying <br> line delimiters in the generated mail message have
been replaced with newlines.
- Fixed extraneous '\' quoting problem that occurred when
modifying a task summary or problem details. Using single or
double quotes should no longer be a problem.
- Added "ETR" as an order-by choice. When this option is selected
on the task browser screen, tasks that appear in the browser list
will appear in order of smallest ETR value to highest, with
unestimated tasks appearing at the top of the list with ETR values
- Changed modify task and followup task to include the name of the user
submitting the change. This additional information is displayed on
the post mod/followup review screens.
- Added the task classification code. This includes changes to the
maintenance screen which allow control of new and existing task
classes; a change to the task add and modify screens which allows
selection of a task class for the TID being created/modified; and
a multiple selection list on the task browser screen that allows
filtering by task class.
- Cleaned up the Status multi-selection list on the task browser
screen to make it more intelligently turn on/off the selections
and remember previous selections.
PTS 2.00 - Revision: 4-Oct-1999:
- PTS 2.00 is a composite of PTS 1.72.00 and 1.71.33-daa, with many
additional features and bug fixes. Most notable among the new features
are the task detail/summary search capability, repair time estimate
tracking and task/project broadcast notification.
- Updated documentation, along with a more detailed change list, will
be added shortly.