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JxProject - Overview

User Documentation

June 19, 2012

The user documentation has five sections:

  1. Overview: This document consists of information which applies to the application including installation, versioning schema, release notes, platform support and bugs/issues associated with this release.

  2. Gantt (Task Dependencies): The document covers all user interface elements and dialogs associated with the Gantt Chart such as task definition, task constraints, task links, resource constraints, the global options dialog and printing.

  3. Resource Scheduling: The document covers all user interface elements and dialogs associated with Resource Scheduling such as the relationships of resources and calendars, base schedule, default resource and schedule customization.

  4. Critical Path Analysis: The document explains the options and configuration capabilities of the Critical Path and Critical Chain capabilities of jxProject.

  5. Date&Timeline Formatting: This document describes how to use the Date Format dialog to define and assign date formats. Also the time line format dialog is described for customizing the headers of Gantt and Schedule charts.

  6. Resource Leveling: This document describes what resource leveling is and how it works in jxProject.  It also discusses how to alter the way that the project plan is leveled.

  7. Critical Path: This document explains many of the terms associated with critical path analysis and explains how to set up these calculations and display the results.

  8. Printing and HTML: This document describes how to print gantt and schedule charts to a printer or to HTML/images.

  9. Activation: This document describes the differences between an activated version of jxProject and the free version. It documents the activation process.

  10. Sponsor Updating: This describes the process that is used to do the adverting including details on how the process works and what information is being passed up to the server and down to the client.


Release Notes:  The version of jxProject.

New features in

  • Tasks assigned to the default resource are now shown in the schedule view. You may drag and drop tasks to and from the default resource. However, the default resource cannot coexist with another resource on a task. If the default resource is assigned to a task, it must be the only resource assigned to the task.

  • The Schedule Editor dialog, used for editing Resources and Calenders, has been rebuilt, however, it is very much the same as the previous dialog. The reason is to allow the easier addition of new capabilities going forward. You can now turn on/off resource leveling on a single resource. There is also a “run rate” or cost that can be set for each resource. Although the run rate is not fully implemented through the software at this time. Email and text messaging addresses can be associated with each resource.

  • A new dialog, “Check for Updates”, is available under the Help option of the menu bar. This will check if there is a new version of jxProject available. You can also set this to check for updates automatically on a periodic basis.

  • There have been some tweeks to where preferences are stored. Some settings like proxy and last update check are specific to the installation of the software and no longer mixed with settings such as resource leveling which are specific to a project. These changes should not affect the user.

Bug fixes in

  • When a task is scheduled, it cannot start until at least one of the assigned resources is available to begin working on the task. However, a bug was discovered that was allowing tasks to be scheduled before the resource was available. This occurred when the resource was scheduled to join the project several weeks after the project began.

  • Under Java 7, drag and drop images were very faint and offset from the cursor. It is difficult to support drag images for both Java 6 and Java 7, but ... I have done it. When jxProject moves away from Java 6 and is strictly on Java 7, the code will be cleaned up and the implementation will be more robust. There will be one more release after this that will support Java 6.

  • The jxProject launcher for windows now allows users to utilize Java 7. There was a restriction on Java 7 due to the drag image bug above. However, Oracle is now pushing Java 7 for users and I needed to get this fixed/supported.

Installation: It is best to refer to the download area of the jxProject.com web site for instructions on installation.  At the bottom of the download page are common installation problems as well as solutions to those problems. An automated installer/launcher is available for download and is provided for Windows platforms.  Java 1.6 runtime environment must be installed on the computer and can be installed before or after installing jxProject.  There are also files and instructions for manually installing jxProject without the installer. Launch scripts in Windows (batch, vb script) and Linux, Solaris, Mac OSX (bash scripts) are provided.

Platform support: The primary platforms of focus are Windows and Linux as they both have excellent Java environments provided by Oracle.   I have never tried jxProject on a Linux platform but I have heard reports that it works well.  I don't have access to a Mac, so I hesitate to declare the Mac as an officially supported jxProject platform, however there are many Mac/jxProject users out there so they must be having reasonable success.

Version numbering: Elements of the version number are defined as <MAJOR>.<MINOR>.<PATCH>.<SKEW>.  The version number significance works from left to right.  The values are always in the numeric range of (0 … 255) inclusive.  Each release of the product will have a higher version number than the previous version, keeping in mind the order of significance rule. 

·        <MAJOR> Incremented for significant changes in product features

·        <MINOR> Incremented for minor feature changes and/or significant bug fixes/performance improvements

·        <PATCH> Incremented for minor bug fixes/performance improvements/documentation changes

·        <SKEW>Incremented for multiple public releases of the same versioned product acting almost as a product build number.  An odd numbered skew indicates a non production (alpha or beta) release of the product while an even numbered skew indicates a production release of the product.

Sponsor Panel:  The sponsor panel appears in the upper right hand corner of the main jxProject window.  It scrolls through a list of images/ads every few seconds as the application is running.  Double clicking on the image will initiate a web browser and take you to the sponsor’s site.  Information about advertising with jxProject can be obtained in the services section of jxProject.com.


Known Bugs/Issues:

  1. ISSUE: If you have finish constraints on two or more summary tasks, you could get slightly inconsistent scheduling results if a summary task with a finish constraint (task A) directly impacts the scheduling of another summary task which also has a finish constraint (task B) and that the scheduling of task B also impacts the scheduled finish time of task A. I should put in a picture to describe how to create/avoid this situation. It is rare that finish constraints are used on summary tasks, and even more rare that they would be configured in this way, therefore I've decided to postpone the resolution of this issue to focus on issues which affect more users.

  2. Bug: Cannot uninstall jxProject; java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: com.zerog.ia.platform.Sys.getSpecialFolderJNI  This problem occurs during uninstall on Windows platforms when installed against Java 1.6. This is a problem with the zerog, InstallAnywhere installer which is incompatible with Java 1.6. InstallAnywhere is no longer being used by jxProject as of 10-Aug-2007. For those users that are affected by this uninstall bug, a procedure for removing the application has been published under the “Problems and Solutions” section of the user documentation of jxProject.com.

  3. BUG: JVM crash during print: You should always save your file before printing!  I have seen the JVM crash suddenly when printing large jobs (over 50 pages).  I haven’t worked with this enough to know what might be causing it but it is something in Sun’s code or perhaps the print driver I was using. Phil Race at Oracle contacted me about this bug and we exchanged several emails. UPDATE: Sun has identified and corrected several problems regarding printing and fonts in Java 5.0 update 11, which resolves this problem.

  4. Bug ID: 4694478 REGRESSION: pageDialog() mixes up margins for some printers in landscape:  This is a bug in Sun’s code.  For some printers, when you are using landscape paper orientation, the top/bottom and left/right margins get reversed.  I have this happening on my HP psc 2110.  Sun has not given a date for fixing this problem.

  5. Bug ID: 4265778 Java2D incorrectly renders objects with large coordinates: This is Sun’s bug affects the print preview when the number of pages is greater than 20 along a row or column.  You will see inconsistent or blotchy rendering in the print preview as you scroll away from the top left of the print preview page.  This does not impact the actual printing, but it does make the print preview look a little screwy.

Release Notes History

New features in

  • Critical path capabilities such as, early start, early finish, late start, late finish, start float and finish float have been added along with many options to customize the calculation parameters for these values. The early/late – start/finish values can be displayed graphically on the Gantt chart.

  • The Option dialog has a new “Critical” panel that allows the user set various criteria for identifying tasks as critical. The tasks identified as critical are displayed graphically on the Gantt and Schedule charts.

  • A button has been added to the upper tool bar to allow one-click access to the options dialog.

  • The options and table/chart settings are now saved inside each project file when the project is saved. This ensures that when the file is opened later, or by another user, that the options and view settings are in the same state as when the file was saved.

  • When the user sets a start date for a task, and that date is earlier than the project start date, then the project start date is automatically moved back to the same date.

  • On the Gantt Chart, you may select the resource(s) name, and then drag and drop the resource(s) onto another task to move/add the resource(s).

  • When a new project is started, a resource named “myself” is automatically added to the project and all tasks added to the project will automatically have “myself” assigned to the task. The “myself” resource can be edited to reflect the name of an actual resource and the auto assign of the resource to tasks can be changed via the new “assigning resource” capability.

  • The user may now designate any resource in the project as the “assigning resource”. The “assigning resource” is automatically added to any newly defined task.

  • A file logging facility and accompanying dialog has been added under the Help option on the menu bar.

Bug fixes in

  • When a task is scheduled, it cannot start until at least one of the assigned resources is available to begin working on the task. However, a bug was discovered in that duration driven tasks with finish constraints on them, were being allowed to start without an available resource. This has been fixed.

New features in

  • The ability to drag and drop data from jxProject to other applications. For example, drag and drop from the Gantt table to/from a spreadsheet.

  • The ability to drag/drop tasks from the Gantt table/chart onto the Schedule table/chart; and the ability to drag/drop resources from the schedule table/chart onto the Gantt table/chart.

  • The ability select and drag tasks to alter their duration on both the Gantt and Schedule charts. Cursor changes provide visual user feedback. Data panels, indicating the new values of duration/work follow the cursor as these changes are made. Similar functionality is implemented for altering the lag of task links/dependencies.

  • The task edit dialog can be initiated on the schedule chart by double clicking a task on the schedule chart. The schedule edit dialog can be initiated on the schedule chart by double clicking on a vacant area of the resource/calendar row.

  • The row height and time-line settings of the schedule chart and resource dialog are maintained and restored as the dialog/window is opened and closed.

  • The Indent and out-dent of tree table hot keys has been changed to Alt-Shift-Right arrow and Alt-Shift-Left arrow.

Bug fixes in

  • An undetected circular constraint violation was discovered during testing and has been fixed. This bug would have significant impact on the user if they encountered this defect. Upgrading is highly recommended.

New features in

  • The activation authentication now accepts the user id, or the users home directory. This is to better support users with roaming profiles.

  • The Ra- rank adjustment tool for resource leveling has been changed to make it more intuitive for users. Only tasks which are scheduled to occur at or after the start time of the successor task and have rank values less than the predecessor task are moved higher in rank during this operation. The effect is to move only those tasks that need to be moved to accomplish what the user wants. This should be more intuitive.

  • The expiration date of the software has been eliminated for production releases. Only beta software will have an expiration.

Bug fixes in

  • For windows users, the file open/save dialog always defaults to the users personal “My Documents” folder instead of the user home directory.

  • For windows users, the application preferences are now stored in the AppData folder, rather than the users home directory. This is to better support users with roaming profiles.

  • The “file not found” error was being presented to the user as an application exception, which scared some users. So it is a more friendly error message now.

New features in

  • The “Load Example” button was removed from the upper tool bar. The example project plans are now accessed from the Help pull down menu on the Menu Bar.

Bug fixes in

  • For some versions of Java the version number was not being parsed correctly causing some users to see an exception when opening or saving files.

New features in

  • None.

Bug fixes in

  • Problem: Java 1.6.0_02 on the Windows platform has a problem which can cause the application to freeze for up to several minutes when the user attempts to open or save a file. This issue is specific to the file dialog and zip files in the directories. Fix: An alternate dialog for selecting files to open/save files has been implemented for Windows users on the problem Java platform.

New features in

  • For the Windows platform the installer/uninstaller has been upgraded to use Inno Setup. Also, a new launcher has been implemented using Launch4j. The result is better integration with desktop; a faster and more reliable install/uninstall and smaller download size.

Bug fixes in

  • The optimizer was not performing as designed in some situations which resulted in tasks moving forward in the project plan instead of moving backwards. This sometimes resulted in an optimization going back and forth subsequently undoing the previous optimization and then coming back and doing the same incorrect optimization again on the next attempt by the user. A very frustrating experience I'm sure. There were a combination of 4 bugs identified and fixed that were creating these problems; all of which have been fixed. Please send an email to support@jxProject.com if you see inconsistent or odd behavior from the optimizer.

New features in

  • A dialog for editing task properties such as dependencies, lag, drivers, duration, work, notes. There are string search abilities for dependencies and resource assignment.

  • The ability to associate and edit a positive or negative lag between links.

  • A file history dialog for accessing the past 50 files opened or saved. The last four files appear on the file pull down menu.

  • The ability to select and drag/drop tasks on the Gantt chart to alter the duration.

  • The ability to select and drag/drop task dependencies on the Gantt chart such as links and arbitrary constraints.

  • The addition of two new arbitrary constraints, must-start-before and must-finish-before.

  • Comments can now be associated with arbitrary constraints.

  • A “pop-up” context menu on the Gantt chart giving access to relevant dialogs and insertion of arbitrary constraints.

  • New columns on the Gantt Table: Work Breakdown Structure numbers (WBS), Info, Priority, Notes.

  • The ability to “flash” a graphical schedule for resources on a single task row in the Gantt chart via context menu.

  • The ability to control the visibility of columns for the Gantt and Schedule tables via dialog.

  • The addition of accelerator keys to select table rows/columns; activate context menus; indent and outdent.

Bug fixes in

  • The mouse wheel pan/scroll was sometimes being activated using the alt key, not any more. (Fixed)

  • The timeline format dialog could throw exceptions if null values were pasted into it. (Fixed)

  • In some valid situations, indentations of tasks or drag/drop of tasks were being disallowed due to circular constraint violations. (Fixed)

New features in

  • Cut/Copy/Paste has been added to all tables in jxProject. Tables with multiple row selection capability also have “fill up” and “fill down” capabilities. Standard accelerator keys are implemented.

  • Context menus (popup menus) have been implemented for all tables and are available via right clicking (popup gesture) on the tables. The menus have standard menu options depending on editing capabilities for the table.

  • If the user clicks the middle mouse button on a component that is within a scroll pane, a pan/scroll image will appear and the window will scroll as the user moves the mouse. This is similar functionality to that available in popular web browsers.

  • Full Time Equivalent (FTE) work hours. This concept has been integrated into jxProject and the values user customizable via the FTE panel in the Tools->Options dialog. FTE hours are now factored into the Gantt table so work and span hours are displayed and edited as FTE values.

  • Automatic Table column resizing has been implemented. Double click on the right table column header separator to have the column resize to show the full values in each table cell for the column. This functionality is standard for software spreadsheets and expected by the user.

Bug fixes in

  • The mouse wheel on the Gantt and Schedule tables were scrolling horizontally, it now scrolls vertically as the user expects. (Fixed)

  • The Gantt chart is now properly sized so trailing text on the tasks is not truncated. (Fixed)

  • Scheduling rules were being deleted from the Resource/Calendar during undo/redo operation “set as base calendar”. (Fixed)

  • Some users were dragging slowly and getting inconsistent results when attempting to drag/assign resources. The mouse drag gesture recognizer now has an increased amount of time to recognize the drag. (Fixed)

  • The main project window title had a problem where spaces in the file name had the characters “%20” inserted. Filename spaces now appear as spaces in the window title. (Fixed)

  • The links on the Gantt chart would sometimes be one pixel forward or down from the task they were connecting from. This was a pixel rounding error. (Fixed)

New features in

  • Alternate shading of table rows to help guide users eyes across the page.

  • Standard accelerator keys for undo/redo(cntrl -Z) file save (Cntrl+S) ...

  • Customizable date formats for start and finish times via pop up dialog.

  • Customizable TimeLine formats using custom date formats via pop up dialog. TimeLine automatically implements appropriate format based on the scale of the time line when the user is stretching or compressing the timeline.

  • Work fields can be specified down to the minute while duration can be specified down to 1/10th of a second.

  • Resources can be added “on the fly” through the Schedule table or directly in the resource assignment dialog by typing in the name of the new resource directly into the table.

  • The rule scheduling dialog now uses AM/PM time instead of 24 hour time.

  • Arbitrary constraints such as “start after” and “finish after” can be inserted and edited directly on the Gantt chart using accelerator keys (Cntrl- left mouse button) for “start after” and (Cntrl- right mouse button) for finish after.

  • When new tasks are inserted, the default duration is the same as the value of the duration column units in the table.

  • The last names of assigned resources are now displayed on the Gantt chart.

Bug fixes in

  • Undo/Redo for arbitrary constraints is now implemented. (Fixed)

  • Print preview was not working when the root node had a blank name. (Fixed)

  • Divide by zero exception during optimization due to tasks with zero duration. (Fixed)

  • Tasks were being scheduled in the next day for resources that were in far western time zones and had work schedules that were late into the evening. (Fixed)

  • The Options dialog checkbox for rendering tasks on the schedule chart was not repainting the chart after the user had changed the selection. (Fixed)


New features in

  • None.

Bug fixes in

  • The TreeTable “focus” was not behaving correctly; setting up a new project required the user to click the task name cell every time. The behavior is more natural now, the user can type in a task name, hit return, and type in the next task name.

  • Another “focus” related problem was that the rows selected in the TreeTable would be cleared whenever a change was made, even if it did not affect the table. This has been corrected and rows/cells will remain selected unless there is a significant change to the table.

  • Undo/Redo now results in the TreeTable rows being selected after an undo/redo which involves inserting or moving rows. This gives the user much better feedback as to what is happening.

  • The [Ra+] links were not exhibiting consistent rank altering behavior in situations involving summary tasks.

  • New projects used to say “New Project” in the top row, now it is blank.


New features in

  • The rank of a task now looks something like: 22 – 17 > 8. This is interpreted as follows: The rank is 22, the rank can be reduced to 17 without impacting predecessors of the task, and the absolute minimum rank of the task is 8. The rank can now be edited directly by the user. The rank determines the priority in which resources are assigned to tasks during resource leveling.

  • A resource optimizer was added that performs a resource optimization operation with the push of a button. It identifies gaps in the resource schedules and alters the rank of the task to reschedule it into the gaps. Keep pushing the button and more optimization is done and the project plan shrinks. The free version gets 10 optimizations, the activated version has unlimited optimization.

  • A new kind of task to task link has been added called an RU link. RU stands for resource user. This link is a soft link, it only affects the calculation of the task rank, allowing the user to control the rank priorities without having to insert a hard link dependency link. This also keeps the optimizer from moving tasks that the user does not want moved as part of the optimization operation.

  • A couple of pseudo task links have been added called Ra+ and Ra-. They allow the user to alter the rank of a task relative to another task in a similar manner as link creation.

  • Full undo and redo support was added for all changes to tasks, links, resources and calendars. The free version supports an undo/redo stack of 10, the activated version supports an undo/redo stack of 50.

Bug fixes in

  • There is a bug in Sun's JVM that does not allow the printer to be selected from the page setup dialog. A new button was added to the print preview specifically for printer selection.

  • When saving a project plan as images, if there was a “.” in the path name where the html file was being saved, the supporting images would be saved into the wrong directory.


New features in

  • The addition of “span” column in the Gantt task table. This complements the “work” and “duration” columns giving the user another option for driving the scheduling of a task. A span driven task will be scheduled over the work time of the first assigned resource on the task. This kind of task driver would typically be used for meetings.

  • The addition of a line (purple) which runs the full height of the Gantt and Schedule charts indicating the current time. It is on by default but can be turned off by the user in the options dialog.

Bug fixes in

  • None.


New features in

  • The ability to write turn off the scrolling advertising by activating the software.

Bug fixes in

  • On windows systems the users home, as reported by Java, is sometimes incorrect. So, on windows, the USERPROFILE environment variable will be used, if it is not available, then the Java System.getProperty(“user.home”) will be used.

Files created under all previous releases of jxProject can be read directly into the version.  The release is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2005.


New features in

  • The ability to write out jxProject tasks and resource schedules as HTML and images.

  • Added a pop-up menu to the tree table cell which allows the user to expand/collapse one or all child/descendant nodes.

  • Added the software expiration date to the splash screen and Help-> about screen.

  • Added the jxProject version number to the exception dialog.

Bug fixes in

  • An exception was being thrown for some paper types when they were set as the default printer. An example was “tabloid”.

  • A flag: “-Dsun.java2d.noddraw=true” was added to the jxProject launcher to disable the use of direct draw on microsoft platforms. Some video cards to not properly support direct draw and I don't think it helps anything anyway.

  • Added flags: “-Xms30m -Xmx70m” to increase the initial memory and maximum memory used by jxProject. This looks to have improved the startup time a little bit.

Files created under all previous releases of jxProject can be read directly into the version.  The release is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2005.


New features in

  • Improvement in the accuracy and performance of task finish constraints.

  • Reduction of print file sizes by reducing color complexity of charts. A print file that used to be 500MB is now about 1MB.

  • The ability to import and export jxProject compliant XML.

  • Improved the drag and drop interaction by changing the cursor during the drag operation. Also added the ability to move, copy or link tasks and resources using cntrl and alt keys.

  • The ability to add one or more resources to one or more tasks with a single drag and drop.

Bug fixes in

  • An exception was being thrown for project plans with more than 100 tasks.

  • If a resource had only one assigned task, that single task was not being shown in the schedule view.


New features in

  • Support for proxies, transparent or authenticating and Socks. The Jakarta HTTPClient package is used.

  • A more explanatory dialog is presented to the user when attempting to run jxProject where the user's home directory is not writable.

  • An “edit” option was added to the pop-up context menu in the Schedule view for Schedule nodes.

Bug fixes in

  • Uncaught Exception dialog was reporting some exceptions to the user that were not serious problems. These include attempting to link a null task or indent a null task.

  • The options dialog now appears below the “Tools” menu item.

  • Fixed spelling errors in the Options dialog.

  • Support for changing the look and feel of the application was removed. It was the source of several bugs. The standard Java “Metal” look and feel is all that is supported.

  • The Update Advertisements dialog displays “Never” for the last update date if the ads have never been updated.


New features in

  • None.

Bug fixes in

  • Uncaught Exception dialog was not catching exceptions as it should.

  • Trying to print from a PC with no installed printer caused the application to lock. Now a default paper size is used.

  • Removed text on splash screen referring to “beta” software.

  • Updated documentation and web site screen shots.

  • Removed empty message dialog that would pop up when attempting to create a link that already existed.


New features fixes in

  • The creation of the .jxProject directory under the user's home directory to store the application state such as user preferences and advertising images.

  • Increased the sponsor window size to 468x80 to accommodate standard banner sizes.

  • Information can be exchanged between the application and www.jxproject.com to support advertising. Updating of advertisements occurs in a separate thread, under the users control.

  • Put in an exception reporting dialog.

Bug fixes in

  • None.


New features fixes in

·        Printing of Resource Schedules.

·        Ability to select paper size/orientation and printer via a print dialog.

·        Printing of tables and charts breaks on column and row boundaries so they are not cut in the middle on a page.

·        Targeted printer shows up as a “tool tip” over print and setup buttons.

Bug fixes in

·        Tables sometimes overlapped each other when printing, not any more.

·        Very rare lockups in print preview layout should be gone.  I never found this bug but the architecture is much better and less likely to produce this kind of problem.

·        Returning from Schedule Edit dialog would incorrectly set the row height of the Schedule view when the dialog was closed.


Changes in

·        The ranking of tasks for resource leveling is more consistent.

Bug fixes in

·        Deleting multiple tasks from the Gantt tree table was throwing an exception.

·        In some rare cases, tasks were not being updated when changes were made to their rank values.


New features in

·        The addition of an “Options” dialog which allows the user to customize the jxProject environment such as resource leveling and rendering options for Schedule and Gantt charts.

·        Resource Leveling is enabled by default and tasks will always be scheduled to prevent over allocation.  It is impossible to over allocate resources when this is enabled.

·        The scheduled work times of resources assigned to tasks can be displayed on the Gantt chart.

·        The tasks assigned to resources can be displayed on the Schedule Chart.

·        Task “Work” and “Duration” can be displayed in units of hours, days, weeks, months or years.

·        The user can drag to reset the row height of the tree table.

·        Resources can now be partially assigned to tasks.

·        Toolbar buttons were added to allow switching between schedule and Gantt views.

·        The new table column, “Rank”, was added to assist in resource leveling

Changes in

·        In the previous version you could change the chart header width properties by dragging on the chart header with the left mouse button.  This has been changed to shift+right mouse button drag.

·        Resource Leveling is enabled by default, if you load a previous project plan and make a constraint change, you could see things move around quite a bit as the solver performs the leveling.

Bug fixes in

·        Array sort was not sorting the last element in the array.


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