Thursday, February 28, 2013

Request Tracker documentation

Request Tracker documentation is scattered in various places. This is a list of specific documentation resources I have found so far.


General

First of all, since I'm serious about using Request Tracker, I made sure to buy and read the book, RT Essentials by Jesse Vincent et al. The book (published in 2005) is getting a little long in the tooth, but it contains useful information on setting up and using Request Tracker.

Request Tracker has a blog. Of late there have been two important blog entries regarding documentation:

There is quite a bit of information in the slides from Jesse Vincent's All About RT presentation, which were available on-line at the time of this writing.


Built-In Documentation

The really important documentation is built-in, meaning that it comes with the RT distribution. In other words, if you've install RT, you've already got this documentation.

Actually finding the built-in documentation isn't completely straightforward, but it isn't difficult either. Some pointers are on the RT: Request Tracker Documentation page at the website of Best Practical, the company behind RT.

RT installs all of its files under a particular directory, which I will call the RT root directory. It's a good idea to know this directory and perhaps even create an environment variable for it. For example, in openSUSE 12.2 the RT root directory is /usr/share/request-tracker. Well, actually, the RT distribution in openSUSE is split into three sections as you can see by doing rpm -ql request-tracker. Of course, this doesn't make finding the documentation any simpler, but here's a start:
# ls /usr/share/request-tracker
doc  etc  html  local  share
# RTROOT=/usr/share/request-tracker
# cd $RTROOT
# ls
doc  etc  html  local  share
# find $RTROOT -name '*.pod'
/usr/share/request-tracker/doc/web_deployment.pod
/usr/share/request-tracker/doc/initialdata.pod
/usr/share/request-tracker/doc/glossary.pod
...

All of these ".pod" files are actually manpages that can be displayed using perldoc [filespec].pod.

Also, ".pm" files typically contain in-line POD documentation that can be displayed in similar fashion. Among these, the RT_Config.pm stands out. To access this documentation, you first have to find this file. Most likely, it's in the same directory as RT_SiteConfig.pm (the main configuration file for your RT instance). Once you know where it is, change to that directory and run perldoc RT_Config.pm. On my installation, this file is not writable, so I copied it to a different name and ran perldoc on that. This contains the authoritative description of each configuration option; hard to imagine getting by without it.

Installation

For installation, the README is indispensable.

The blog entry openSUSE 12.3: How I installed and set up Request Tracker contains a description of how I got Request Tracker up and running on openSUSE 12.3.

This blog entry describes how I installed RT on the previous version of openSUSE (12.2).

This wiki page contains links to installation guides for various distributions and flavors of *nix. Note that it's a wiki. Among other things, that means if you find some information there that is outdated or obsolete, you can fix it and thereby bring benefit to yourself and others.


Administration


Administration -- General


Lots of administration tasks can be done by logging in to RT as root
http://requesttracker.wikia.com/wiki/ManualAdministration

Administration -- Backups

RT now contains guidelines for making backups.





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