Comparison of two free project management cloud applications

Can you manage a project without project management software these days? Sure you can, but what if you could use some very useful free tools? Wouldn’t you give them a try?

While exploring the capabilities of my web host, Arvixe, I found many free tools to manage projects and I found two of them I’m very interested. But what was I looking for?

I was looking for a project management tool that is web-based with the following characteristics:

  • Zero Cost (free)
  • open source
  • effective
  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to Use
  • licensing that allows for modifications
  • a tool that could be self hosted at home or with a low-cost hosting plan
  • appealing front end design

I found several that I looked at. But two of them deserve a closer look. The first is named projectpier and the second is named todoyu. Both projects have demonstration sites that you can try out. I also found they both deployed quickly and easily with the help of ‘softaculous’ web application installer hosted on Arvixe and other web hosting companies.

  • Project Pier –  The Gnu Affero General Public License (AGPL) allows the user to modify and distribute the software as they like provided it is under the same restrictions of the license. So, the user must distribute the same license restrictions along with any changes. The technologies used are mysql for the backend, php for the code behind, and javascript/ajax/jquery  for responsive design. Practical focus is on tasks, milestones, files and messages. The forum is mature and provides a good source of information.  There is also a manual in pdf format that is downloadable from their website.
  • ToDoYu – the BSD 2-Clause License allows the user freedom to use or modify the product as long as the copyright notice is distributed. The company that owns ToDoYu markets a Software as Service package in a variety of price plans. They also sell a variety of professional extensions such as for invoicing. The package includes team collaboration functions, group calendars and time management.

Overall both packages have the basics of what I’m looking for. At this stage in the evaluation ToDoYu seems to have a more permissible license type. It also appears to offer some newer abilities. However Project Pier appears to be the more mature and perhaps is more robust. Of the two I think ProjectPier is easier to learn. ToDoYu intrigues me however with its grasp of gathering users into various roles immediately and intuitively. In my own study of how teams operate, it was found that categorizing the team members into functional roles is essential.

In future posts I’ll describe more of what I’m encountering with these two excellent tools and hopefully come to some sort of resolution on which is better for my particular needs.