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1 Purpose

This program helps you keep a log of how much time you spend on specific projects.

2 Approach

The program displays a small window with a tree of projects and sub-projects at regular intervals. Each root node should correspond to a specific project that [your supervisors want] you want to track. You can create any number of sub-projects by either editing the project file (see section 3.1) and reloading the program, or right-clicking a node in the user interface. Use middle-click to expand/collapse a parent node.

Once a node is pressed (left click), the window is minimised (alternative behaviour is possible --- see below). The window re-appears at the specified interval (intervalInSeconds) in a semi-active state (default colour: blue). If a node is pressed (left click) within another specified interval (waitInSeconds), the time elapsed since the window appeared will be counted towards the previous entry (unless specified otherwise with autoCountTowards).

If the task should be stopped or changed before the end of the interval, you can maximise the program (if minimised), and click on the STOP button or a different task, respectively.

The program generates a simple CSV log, where each entry roughly corresponds to each node clicked. The order used is:


The times are currently displayed using the date format dd/MM/yyyy HH:mm:ss.

3 Compilation (if not already compiled)

Software required:

  • JDK 6 (aptitude package: openjdk-6-jdk),
  • Ant (aptitude package: ant).

The program can be compiled with

ant compile

Since the program is written in Java, it should compile and run on many platforms.

4 Setting up the program

The configuration for the program is located in the config.txt file. (If config.txt does not exist when the program is started, it is copied from config.txt.default.) In there, you can specify various options.

4.1 Configuration options

  • activeColor (default: 255,0,0): The Red-Green-Blue specification for the active colour of the project nodes.

  • alwaysOnTop (default: true): Determines whether the window should be always on top of other windows.

  • autoCountTowards (default: previous): See option waitInSeconds. The previous option counts towards the last selected project. The unknown option counts towards the "unknown" root project. The nothing option does not count towards anything.

  • behaviour (default: minimise): The window state to go to after the user has selected a project. Option hide removes the program even from the taskbar, while show keeps the window visible.

  • defaultColor (default: 0,255,0): The Red-Green-Blue specification for the default colour of the project nodes.

  • height (default: 480): The starting height of the window.

  • intervalInSeconds (default: 3600): The period (in seconds) after which the program will prompt you again.

  • locX (default: 600): The horizontal starting coordinate of the window.

  • locY (default: 400): The vertical starting coordinate of the window.

  • logFilename (default: log.txt): The filename of the log file.

  • projectsFilename (default: projects.txt): The filename of the projects file. (If the specified file does not exist once the program starts, it is copied from projects.txt.default.)

  • semiActiveColor (default: 100,100,200): The Red-Green-Blue specification for the semi-active colour of the project nodes, i.e. the colour for a previously active node within the waiting period.

  • waitInSeconds (default: 3600): The period (in seconds) after the prompt in which any user interaction will result in automatically counting the time from the prompt to the user interaction towards whatever is specified for the autoCountTowards option.

  • width (default: 170): The starting width of the window.

  • writeTimeouts (default: false): If set to true, the program writes a log entry whenever the end of a wait period is reached without being interrupted by the user. The log entry consists of the start time and the end time equal to the end time of the previous log entry, and is titled (timed out).

4.2 Specifying the projects

The projects are specified in the projects file (its path is specified within the configuration file). The syntax for specifying projects is:


The top-level projects should be your main projects (projects that project administration care about). Each name can have its tooltip appended in curly brackets. See projects.txt.default for an example.

5 Running the program

The program can be run either by compiling the source code yourself, or by running a JAR (a pre-compiled package).

5.1 If source is available

Software required:

  • JRE 6 (aptitude package: openjdk-6-jre),
  • Ant (aptitude package: ant).

The program can be run with

ant run

or just


since run the the default target. Both of these options also compile the program if required.

You can run the program in non-daemon mode using

ant no-daemon

This will block ant while the program runs, so you can close it with CTRL-C.

5.2 If a pre-compiled package is available

Software required:

  • JRE 6 (aptitude package: openjdk-6-jre).

On Windows, run


On Linux, run


The two scripts are identical, and contain a single command

java -jar RokClock.jar

6 Analysing the logs

The logs can be analysed either using a spreadsheet, or with the provided analyser.

6.1 Using a spreadsheet

The following instructions work for Excel 2007.

6.1.1 Importing

  • open a spreadsheet;
  • select the "Data" tab;
  • choose "Get External Data";
  • choose "From Text";
  • select the log file generated by RokClock;
  • select "Delimited" (leave other settings alone);
  • click Next;
  • select "Comma" only (leave other settings alone);
  • select "General" 'Column data format';
  • select where to place the data.

6.1.2 Calculating the time periods

  • select the date cells;
  • right click;
  • choose "Format cells...";
  • select the "Number" tab;
  • choose the "Custom" category;
  • type in dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm:ss for Type;
  • click OK;
  • select cell to calculate difference in, e.g. A1 and A2;
  • type =A2-A1;
  • select the cell;
  • right click;
  • choose "Format cells...";
  • choose the "Custom" category;
  • type hh:mm:ss for Type;
  • click OK.

6.2 Using the provided log analyser

The source code and the pre-compiled JAR both contain the class rokclock.Analyser. If you have a pre-compiled JAR available, you can start it with

java -cp RokClock.jar rokclock.Analyser <logFilename> [<start date inclusive> <stop date exclusive>]

If you have the source code available, you can start it with

ant compile
java -cp bin rokclock.Analyser <logFilename> [<start date inclusive> <stop date exclusive>]

6.3 Using the GUI analyser

The main window of the program now has a "Review & Save" button, which opens up a new window where the sums for the top-level projects are displayed for any specified time period. The computed values can be manually modified within the program. The output file has the CSV format, and contains a line for each top-project name, together with the fraction of time spent on it.

7 Feedback

All feedback is much appreciated. Please send it to my email, or simply post it on Ohloh.

If you would like to report an issue, or make a feature request, please do so here.



This program helps you keep a log of how much time you spend on specific projects.




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