arbtt, the Automatic Rule-Based Time Tracker
© 2009 Joachim Breitner firstname.lastname@example.org
The Automatic Rule-Based Time Tracker is a desktop daemon that runs in the background and, every minute, records what windows are open on your desktop, what their titles are, which one is active. The accompanied statistics program lets you derive information from this log file, i.e. what how much of your time have you been spending with e-mail, or what projects are your largest time wasters. The mapping from the raw window titles to sensible "tags" is done by a configuration file with an powerful syntax.
You can build and install this program as any other Cabalized program:
$ runhaskell Setup.hs configure $ runhaskell Setup.hs build $ runhaskell Setup.hs install
Other installation options are described in the website.
You also need to make sure that
arbtt-capture is started with your X
- If you use GNOME or KDE, you can copy the file
~/.config/autostart/. You might need to put the
full path to
arbtt-capture in the
Exec line there, if you did not do a
system wide installation.
- If you use macOS, you can use
launchd for this.
.plist file like the following
(with the path changed to match where arbtt-capture is located in your system):
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
and place it in
This will ensure
arbtt-capture is started whenever you log in.
To start the service without needing a new login,
you can run
launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/de.nomeata.arbtt.plist.
If you want to record samples at a different rate than one per minute, you
will have to pass the
--sample-rate parameter to arbtt-capture.
Full documentation is now provided in the user manual in the doc/ directory. If you have the docbook xsl toolchain installed, you can generate the HTML documentation by entering "make" in that directory. Otherwise, you can use the online version of the User’s Guide. Beware that this will also reflect the latest development version.
User and Developer discussion happens on the arbtt mailing list: email@example.com To subscribe to the list, visit: http://lists.nomeata.de/mailman/listinfo/arbtt
The issue tracker is hosted on bitbucket: https://bitbucket.org/nomeata/arbtt/issues Why Bitbucket and not GitHub? Why not, and we need diversitiy even in the cloud! (Don’t worry, you can use your GitHub account there.)
Some of my plans or ideas include:
- A graphical viewer that allows you to expore the tags in an appealing, interactive way. Possibly based on the Charts haskell library.
- Looking forward and backwards in time when writing rules. (Information is already passed to the categorizing function, but not exposed to the syntax).
$total_idletime, which is the maximum idle time until it is reset. This would allow the user to catch the idle times more exactly.
- Rules based on time of day, to create tags for worktime, weekend, late at night. (Partially done)
- Storing the current timezone in the tags, for the prevoius entry to be more to be more useful.
- Storing the hostname, in case a user has several.
- Statistics based on time, to visualize trends.
- Possibly more data sources?
Any help cleaning, documenting or testing the current code is appreciated as well.
Creating the Windows Installer
setup.iss contains an installer script for Inno Setup and can be used
to create the windows installer for arbtt. It can be used under wine. To build
arbtt under Windows, you need to install the Haskell Platform. Because the
Haskell Platform ships an older version of the w32api package from mingw, you
also need to download
w32api-3.14-mingw32-dev.tar.gz and copy at least the files
lib/libpsapi.a over the files installed by the Haskell
Platform. For the
pcre-light package, you need to install the
Unless you run a German version of Windows, you’ll need to adjust the path to
pcre3.dll file in
Inno Setup. Create the documentation
make -C doc) and configure arbtt with the
$ wine runhaskell Setup.hs configure --with-ISCC='C:\Programme\Inno Setup 5\ISCC.exe'
again adjusting the path if you do not have a German version of Windows. This
will put the version name into
setup.iss and create the output file as