[Updated: November 2019]
Redmine is a very powerful project and process management tool. Following other platforms' model (like WordPress or Drupal), a wide ecosystem of apps, plugins and themes has been built around Redmine that extend the core's functionalities.
In this post I will speak about the free plugins that I most often use in my Redmine implementation projects.
In a following post I will comment my experience with premium plugins and their developers.
What are the advantages of the plugins
The plugins are “programs”, modeules that allow us to tune our Redmine installation to adapt it more to our needs. Internally they are bound to Redmine by means of “hoosk”. By doing so, without touching the core's code, we ensure that future core's updates will occurr seamlessly.
What problems do the “plugins” show
The plugins installation in Redmine is not a process as simple as in, for instance, Wordpres. There isn't a Redmine's functionality called “install plugin” on the admin panel; we have to install the plugin by accessing the web server where Redmine is hosted and executing a series of commands, a process that requires certain skills.
On the other hand, although the fact of using plugins assures compatibility of newer Redmine versions with newer ones, it is also true that updating your Redmine core could lead to problems with plugins. Thus, when a new core's version is launched, the most used plugins are immediately updated.
How many Redmine plugins are there?
Currently there are 638 plugins listed on Redmine's official directory. Furthermore, Github's search engine shows 1577 results for “redmine plugin” search.
This is a significant amount of plugins, although it is also true that many of these plugins are not compatible with the latest Redmine's versions.
Another problem we can find is that only a few free plugins are supported by their developers.
There are premium plugins at fairly reasonable prices that do have professional technical support and periodic updates. In a newxt post I will talk about those I know better.
The 5 free Redmine plugins I recommend
The following plugins are interesting for any installation, no matter which needs we want our Redmine to cover. These plugins “dynamize” our intranet generated by Redmine:
1. Issue Checklist: “to do” lists
Sometimes, when we are dealing with own microtasls, we can use the “checklist” concept, instead of creating several subtasks. Thus we can create a task that includes a list that we can check as we are finishing each item. It's kind of using the “to do” concept in Redmine.
2. People: user directory
This plugin gives Redmine a more “human” dimension, because it allows the users to upload their own photo or to give some personal data like their birthday. The plugin also extends the user profile with files and a user activity log.
3. Q&A: forums and votations
Although Redmine includes forums in its standard functionality, this plugin gives it a twist to convert them in a Knowledge Base module. It combines forums with FAQs, and simple votations.
Nota: con unas prestaciones similares, también he instalado alguna vez el plugin Knowledgebase, que me ha parecido muy completo y dispone asimismo de actualizaciones periódicas.
4. Banner: general notices
You can publish announcements for all users by means of a header or footer banner, to registered or even to anonym users.
5. CK editor: providing advanced text formatting
The long text fields in Redmine do not include a native WYSIWYG text editor, that is a kind of Word-style editor, so to speak. Redmine uses the “textile” formatting or, more recently, “markdown”, but many users might ask for a more advanced editor.
The CK editor plugin allows the user to give a very sophisticated style to their texts. Furthermore, it allows images and file uploading.
Note: I don't recommend CK editor plugin anymore. There seem to be many incompatibilities with plugins, specially with printed views, and you may encounter issues when migrating to a new Redmine version. Following is my new recommendation:
5. Additionals: Redmine tweaks
This is a free plugin by Redmine developer Alphanodes that brings several useful tweaks to Redmine interface and workflows. Most important utilities by this plugin are:
- Include links in Redmine top bar
- Include text /message in login page, global header, global footer, global sidebar and new issue
- Hide role in projects member box
- Special workflows such as “changes assigned to X if issue status changes to Y”
- Extended wiki macros
If you think I'm leaving any other interesting Redmine plugin out of this review, please do not hesitate to post your comment. Thank you!