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About Bittrail

About Bittrail

What is Bittrail?

Bittrail is an equipment checkout system designed for small to medium sized labs that check out equipment to students or patrons. As the name implies, it is designed to help keep accurate records dealing with checking out equipment, to leave a "bit trail" similar to if you are using paperwork to leave a paper trail. Although the system does generate a print out for check-outs that the student can sign, its main tracking ability lies with tools in the system itself.

Bittrail uses a web interface, so that you access it all from a web browser. The whole system uses a secure SSL connection, so that no data will be compromised when in transit to the server.

How did it start?

Bittrail was originally developed for the University of North Texas CECS Advanced Technology Lab, which checks out multimedia equipment to students to use in support of CECS classes. The old system for checking equipment out was to fill out paper work every time someone wants to check anything out. Each time, we had to fill out their name, address, student id, etc. on one page, and on a second page we put a check beside the equipment they were checking out. It was very ineficient, and if someone had something overdue, it was often over-looked since the paperwork was just sitting in a drawer.

Originally Bittrail was going to be a group project, where all of the staff members were going to help design and code it. At the time, everyone was busy with their own projects, so I decided to work on it myself. I ended up putting uncountable hours into the project, not sure exactly how I would be payed for all the work, since 95% of the work was done from home. I was ready to just write the whole thing off as a good addition to my resume, when I got the idea to host Bittrail for other labs with the same needs. The money charged helps pay for the expensive hosting required, and the time and energy I spend further developing and supporting the project.

What is Next?

I have many plans for further developing Bittrail. Anything I add in the future, as long as it isn't an add-on, will be included with out additional charge and automatically installed on your server. Of course, if you don't want a certain feature you are able to disable it in the admin section.

A few things to look for in coming versions of Bittrail:

Soon I will have the Project Manager site up and running, which will have a lot more detail on current to do lists for Bittrail, and will also give the ability for current Bittrail users to suggest new features.

How can I use Bittrail in my Lab?

Bittrail is available to use on a monthly or yearly basis. All aspects of Bittrail management are handled in-house. You pay either a monthly or yearly fee, which ever is more convenient to you, and we take care of all:

We are also working on a number of different add-ons that extend the usefulness of Bittrail. For instance, there is a new Communication Center, that by using a 3rd party forum integrated into Bittrail, makes communication between staff members very easy. We are currently working on a Help Center add-on that links certain areas of Bittrail directly to help pages about those parts of Bittrail. The help pages are customizable by lab supervisors, so that it is possible to change things to reflect your lab's policies. Most add-on's cost an additional monthly or yearly cost in order to cover the additional hosting requirements, since add-on's require additional 3rd party software to be installed. For more information, please see our Hosting Plan page.

The developer and system admin for Bittrail is Jonathan Foote, a University of North Texas alumni who is currently the Sr. PHP developer at a DFW based software company.

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