I’ve used countless web based software products. Free, shareware, paid and one thing I’ve never understood is the lack of a system information page. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comprehensive information page with details on the software itself, such as database usage, internal variables, and so on. I certainly have never seen one that reports on the state of the server itself, in my case PHP.
So in the help desk software we’re building I’ve just finished adding my first rev at one. It’s semi buried in the administrative interface as it should be. Not in anyone’s way but there in case it’s needed. I think it’s going to be a huge time saver for supporting HelpSpot users.
Now I know you techies out there are thinking, “well I just go to phpMyAdmin for database information and run phpinfo() to see how PHP is setup”. True, but I’m not writing software for you! As I’ve said in previous posts I need the help desk manager to be able to give me all the information I need to support them. If they have to go to IT, game over.
Now some of the nifty features include a nice HTML table with all the internal HelpSpot variables, a dump of all the php.ini settings, php version, database info like type, version, and table info like sizes. I’m also considering adding some info on slow queries and so on. In addition to all this being in HTML tables, at the bottom of the page there is a text area with all the information in text format. This will allow the user to easily copy and paste the information into an email for our review. No having them contact IT, dig around the MySQL command line, etc.
I’m excited to see if it’s effective. If it is perhaps more software will pick up on making this type of information convenient for users to access.