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From Basecamp to MS Project

I don't hide the fact that I really like Basecamp from anyone I know. Free for single projects and with a relatively low price-point, I've gotten one of my clients to use it for basic tracking of projects. I've also logged into Huddle ( a similar DotNet offering from British-based Ninian Solutions)) but haven't gotten right into it just yet.

One of the great things offered by Basecamp is the Basecamp API - which they describe as plain vanilla xml over HTTP.  A lot of the samples that integrate with Basecamp are primarily web-based or widgets. I think that's primarily because of the synergy of the Web 2.0 world - but you can just as easily integrate Basecamp with Windows-based apps directly with a little bit of COM automation.

While I did some basic stuff like posting messages and updating items with the API, I found imified more useful to do updates over instant messenger instead.

However, when one of our sales managers asked for an MS Project file of all the outstanding Basecamp projects, I knew it was a challenge I wanted to face.(in FoxPro and West-Wind IP Tools - of course!)

I created a number of classes to accomplish this, using collections and custom classes.


loBase = CREATEOBJECT("Custom")




But the basis for everything else was pretty straight forward:

lox = lo.gethttp()

? lox.httpconnect(basecampsite,"username","password",.t.)

 lox.nhttppostmode = 4


lcPosts = " "

lnText = 0

lnResult=lox.HTTPGetEx("/project/list",@lcPosts,@lnText,"Accept: application/xml")


IF loXML.LoadXML(lcPosts)

    loProjects = loXML.selectnodes("//project")

    FOR lni = 1 TO loProjects.length

        loProj =loProjects.item(lni-1)

        WITH loBase.Projects


        .Item(.Count).ProjectName =loProj.selectsinglenode("name").nodetypedvalue

        .Item(.Count).ProjectID =loProj.selectsinglenode("id").nodetypedvalue

        .Item(.Count).Status =loProj.selectsinglenode("status").nodetypedvalue




I did a similar part for Companies and Users in the system. This was necessary to link projects to individuals and the like.

Within the cbaseproject class, I created a method called GetTasks , GetPeople and GetMilestones that all looked pretty much like this:

DEFINE CLASS cBaseProject AS Custom

    ProjectID = 0

    ProjectName = ""

    Status = ""

    Company = ""


    PROCEDURE GetTasks

    lcPosts = " "

    lnText = 0


** Reconnect

lnResult=lox.HTTPGetEx("/projects/"+THIS.ProjectID+"/todos/lists",@lcPosts,@lnText,"Accept: application/xml")


IF loXML.LoadXML(lcPosts)

    loProjects = loXML.selectnodes("//todo-list")


    FOR lni = 1 TO loProjects.length

        loProj =loProjects.item(lni-1)

        WITH THIS.TaskLists


            .Item(.Count).TaskName =loProj.selectsinglenode("name").nodetypedvalue

            .Item(.Count).Description =loProj.selectsinglenode("description").nodetypedvalue

            .Item(.Count).ID =loProj.selectsinglenode("id").nodetypedvalue






    PROCEDURE GetMilestones

    lcPosts = " "

    lnText = 0


** Reconnect

lnResult=lox.HTTPGetEx("/projects/"+THIS.ProjectID+"/milestones/list",@lcPosts,@lnText,"Accept: application/xml")


IF loXML.LoadXML(lcPosts)

    loProjects = loXML.selectnodes("//milestone")


    FOR lni = 1 TO loProjects.length

        loProj =loProjects.item(lni-1)

        WITH THIS.Milestones


            .Item(.Count).Title =loProj.selectsinglenode("title").nodetypedvalue

            .Item(.Count).ID =loProj.selectsinglenode("id").nodetypedvalue

            .Item(.Count).Deadline =loProj.selectsinglenode("deadline").nodetypedvalue

            .Item(.Count).xml = loProj.Xml

            .Item(.Count).person = getperson(loProj.selectsinglenode("responsible-party-id").nodetypedvalue)


            .Item(.Count).Completed = loProj.selectsinglenode("completed").nodetypedvalue="true"

            .Item(.Count).CompletedOn =loProj.selectsinglenode("completed-on").nodetypedvalue









From here, I was now simply going to create or update my MS Project file.

LOCAL lcText

loapp = GETOBJECT(,"MSProject.application")

loProject = loapp.activeproject

LOCAL lnStartRow


lcText = ""


FOR EACH loP IN lobase.projects

    IF NOT PEMSTATUS(lop,"milestones",5)







    lnS = 0

    FOR EACH loM IN lop.Milestones

        lnS = lns+1

        tsk = loProject.Tasks.add(lom.Title)

        tsk.milestone = .t.



        IF lnS=1



        IF NOT lom.Completed

            *!* ? lom.Title + " due on " + lom.deadline +" by "+lom.person

            tsk.finish = DATE(VAL(LEFT(lom.deadline,4)),VAL(SUBSTR(lom.deadline,6,2)),VAL(RIGHT(lom.deadline,2)))


            tsk.percentcomplete = 100

            tsk.finish = DATE(VAL(LEFT(lom.completedon,4)),VAL(SUBSTR(lom.completedon,6,2)),VAL(SUBSTR(lom.completedon,9,2)))




The end result? I can give a project file that always includes the latest updates to those who like the graphics appeal and project-reporting of MS Project.

Basecamp API

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I agree w/ Mr. just made my assignment easier. Our last assignment for the term is to create a gantt chart for training a group of data analysts. Thus, the last assignment requires us to learn a new software package. Project Libre is definitely easier than MS 2013 and you made it even easier still. Thank you, Project Woman!

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