Slightly different and even simpler

I’m constantly trying to become better at estimating how long a development task will take. As one step in this process I decided to create a simple web-based timer which I could use to measure time. Shouldn’t be too hard, I just needed a simple stop watch — the simplest thing that that could possibly work. That’s what I thought at least.

The problem was that instead of thinking about what functionality I actually needed, I just assumed that since I was going to measure time I needed a regular stop watch. Thus, the first version of my timer had the operations start, pause, stop and reset, where reset was only available when the timer was stopped.

After a while I realized I was pressing the sequence stop-reset-start a lot of times. I did it every time a task was finished and I was about to start with a new one. So to make my life easier I added restart which did just that.

After using it even more I realized that restart now actually was the only button I was pushing. Therefore, I simply removed all other buttons than restart (which was renamed reset).

The result is a very simple timer. It auto-starts and is then always running. Thus, no need for start or stop. That’s great for measuring time while working, because real time doesn’t stop. I always spend time doing something. The only thing I can do with my time is divide it into chunks of time which I spend doing different tasks. That is exactly what my reset button allows me to do — tell where one such chunk ends and the next starts.

I’m actually very satisfied with the result. What is rather funny about this whole thing is that although I first thought I needed “just a simple stop watch”, my need was in fact slightly different and even simpler.

P.S. If you want to use the timer, it’s available at However, it currently assumes Central European Time (+1). Time is also only shown in hours, since that is how I enter time in my time reporting tool.

One Response

  1. Jag blev lite överaskad när jag kollade på timern och upptäckte att den hade gått i 815.2 timmar! =P Var tydligen så länge sedan du visade mig den =)

    Jag är fortfarande lite imponerad att du kunde med att ta bort funktionalitet (även om du inte använde den). Det är alltid svårt, tycker jag.

    Loriel - June 12th, 2007 at 20:19