author: niplav, created: 2019-09-02, modified: 2019-09-26, language: english, status: in progress, importance: 2, confidence: other
awitt is a simple window title logger/time tracker. It is linked, described and compared to other similar projects. Then, its releases and outstanding bugs are listed.
The project's sourced code is available on github, along with its README and man-page for more documentation.
awitt is a small unix utility that keeps track of the window title and class and prints the time, duration spent in the last window, class and title of the previous window if the focus is changed. The output is printed to stdout.
This makes it useful for time tracking: window titles usually reflect the current activity, and with them one can determine how much time was spent on an activity, and when.
The usual use case is as following:
awitt >activities.log &
activities.log can then be later analysed using standard unix tools.
There are several time trackers available for unix, but most of them suffer from the fact that they need manual input of current activities, which makes them cumbersome and awkward to use. awitt prevents that by needing only one interaction per restart.
The only other similar time tracker I know is arbtt, which is a much more complete and polished project.
So why not simply choose arbtt and be done with it?
My main problem is with the fact that arbtt is implemented in Haskell. It's not that Haskell is a bad language, but I heavily dislike having to install several hundred megabytes of libraries to just run a simple time tracker. On the other hand, awitt is implemented in C, which makes it possible to compile and run it on every platform that also provides X11.
awitt also provides little features beyond printing window information if the focussed window changes, while arbtt seems to integrate a lot of functionality into a core program. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, awitt is closer to the unix philosophy of "do one thing, and do it well".
The disadvantage is that awitt is a duplication of work in arbtt, and therefore technically a waste of time and energy. I still did it, because reinventing the wheel is fun.
file windows.log says 'Non-ISO extended-ASCII text, with escape sequences'
awitt crashes when the currently focussed window is closed before obtaining the title (a race condition).