Timetrap is a utility which provides an easy to use command line interface for tracking what you spend your time on. It is a ruby port of Trevor Caira's Timebook, a small python utility. It contains several enhancement over Timebook notably the ability to parse natural language time strings. This makes commands such as t in --at "30 minutes ago" possible. Timetrap is also able to export entries to several formats (e.g. ical, csv) and is designed to be easily extended to support additional export formats. Timetrap maintains its state in a sqlite3 database.

To install:

$ gem sources -a http://gems.github.com (you only have to do this once)
$ sudo gem install samg-timetrap

This will place a t executable in your path.

Original Timebook available at: http://bitbucket.org/trevor/timebook/src/


Timetrap maintains a list of timesheets -- distinct lists of timed periods. Each period has a start and end time, with the exception of the most recent period, which may have no end time set. This indicates that this period is still running. Timesheets containing such periods are considered active. It is possible to have multiple timesheets active simultaneously, though a single time sheet may only have one period running at once.

Interactions with timetrap are performed through the t command on the command line. t is followed by one of timetrap's subcommands. Often used subcommands include in, out, switch, now, list and display. Commands may be abbreviated as long as they are unambiguous: thus t switch foo and t s foo are identical. With the default command set, no two commands share the first same letter, thus it is only necessary to type the first letter of a command. Likewise, commands which display timesheets accept abbreviated timesheet names. t display f is thus equivalent to t display foo if foo is the only timesheet which begins with "f". Note that this does not apply to t switch, since this command also creates timesheets. (Using the earlier example, if t switch f is entered, it would thus be ambiguous whether a new timesheet f or switching to the existing timesheet foo was desired).


The basic usage is as follows:

$ t switch writing
$ t in document timetrap --at "10 minutes ago"
$ t out

The first command, t switch writing, switches to the timesheet "writing" (or creates it if it does not exist). t in document timetrap --at "10 minutes ago" creates a new period in the current timesheet, and annotates it with the description "document timetrap". The optional --at flag can be passed to start the entry at a time other than the present. The --at flag is able to parse natural language times (via Chronic: http://chronic.rubyforge.org/) and will understand 'friday 13:00', 'mon 2:35', '4pm', etc. (also true of the edit command's --start and --end flags.) Note that this command would be in error if the writing timesheet was already active. Finally, t out records the current time as the end time for the most recent period in the writing timesheet.

To display the current timesheet, invoke the t display command::

$ t display
Timesheet: timetrap
    Day                Start      End        Duration   Notes
    Mon Apr 13, 2009   15:46:51 - 17:03:50   1:16:59    improved display functionality
                       17:25:59 - 17:26:02   0:00:03
                       18:38:07 - 18:38:52   0:00:45    working on list
                       22:37:38 - 23:38:43   1:01:05    work on kill
    Tue Apr 14, 2009   00:41:16 - 01:40:19   0:59:03    gem packaging
                       10:20:00 - 10:48:10   0:28:10    enhance edit
    Total                                    3:46:05

Each period in the timesheet is listed on a row. If the timesheet is active, the final period in the timesheet will have no end time. After each day, the total time tracked in the timesheet for that day is listed. Note that this is computed by summing the durations of the periods beginning in the day. In the last row, the total time tracked in the timesheet is shown.


archives Archives the selected entries (by moving them to a sheet called _[SHEET]) These entries can be seen by running t display _[SHEET]. usage: t archive [--start DATE] [--end DATE] [SHEET]

backend Run an interactive database session on the timetrap database. Requires the sqlite3 command.

usage: t backend

display Display a given timesheet. If no timesheet is specified, show the current timesheet. If all is passed as SHEET display all timesheets. Accepts an optional --ids flag which will include the entries' ids in the output. This is useful when editing an non running entry with edit.

Display is designed to support a variety of export formats that can be specified by passing the --format flag. This currently defaults to text. iCal and csv output are also supported.

Display also allows the use of a --round or -r flag which will round all times to 15 minute increments. See global options below.

usage: t display [--ids] [--round] [--start DATE] [--end DATE] [--format FMT] [SHEET | all]

edit Inserts a note associated with the an entry in the timesheet, or edits the start or end times. Defaults to the current time although an --id flag can be passed with the entry's id (see display.)

usage: t edit [--id ID] [--start TIME] [--end TIME] [NOTES]

format Deprecated Alias for display

in Start the timer for the current timesheet. Must be called before out. Notes may be specified for this period. This is exactly equivalent to t in; t edit NOTES. Accepts an optional --at flag.

usage: t in [--at TIME] [NOTES]

kill Delete a timesheet or an entry. Entry's are referenced using an --id flag (see display). Sheets are referenced by name.

usage: t kill [--id ID] [TIMESHEET]

list List the available timesheets.

usage: t list

now Print the current sheet, whether it's active, and if so, how long it has been active and what notes are associated with the current period.

usage: t now

out Stop the timer for the current timesheet. Must be called after in. Accepts an optional --at flag.

usage: t out [--at TIME]

running Print all active sheets and any messages associated with them.

usage: t running

switch Switch to a new timesheet. this causes all future operation (except switch) to operate on that timesheet. The default timesheet is called "default".

usage: t switch TIMESHEET

week Shortcut for display with start date set to monday of this week

usage: t week [--ids] [--end DATE] [--format FMT] [SHEET | all]

Global Options

rounding passing a --round or -r flag to any command will round entry start and end times to the closest 15 minute increment. This flag only affects the display commands (e.g. display, list, week, etc.) and is non-destructive. The actual start and end time stored by Timetrap are unaffected.