Timetable creation at its best
key review info
- Application: FET 5.11.0
- Reviewed on:
- Possibility to view the currently generated timetable without stopping the ongoing simulation
- (3 more, see all...)
Every one of us was a child, and passed through a lot of years in school, in order to be prepared for life and for its challenges. But before computers appeared, timetables were merely a piece of paper posted in front of a class, where teachers were noting their hours.
With the appearance of computers, however, it became a lot easier to manage and create timetables for even a hundred classes at a time. Best of all, there are some programs that even do this for free, without having to pay a single coin for it. FET is such a program, allowing you to create and manage a lot of timetables in a matter of minutes.
The interface of FET is pretty basic, so there are no complex menus, just straightforward, easy to access menus, where you can enter the classes, their time, and the most important information about them. The visuals cannot be customized, so you will be stuck with the basic QT ones.
Some will hate it, some will love it, but FET is a free product, so we cannot expect to please any taste, since we don't pay even a single coin for it. Some menus can be quickly accessed from the finder bar, FET giving you such an easy access to all the most important things it can do.
When starting FET, we can see only a blank sheet. In order to use FET, we must create a rooms timetable. You can start that by selecting an algorithm from the ones in the left panel. There are a lot of them, each one giving you access to another form of timetable. After doing that, you may want to lock or unlock time and space, or lock them both, at your own liking.
This is important if you need to have specific times for the classes, or put them in a specific place. The student timetable is also very easy to create. You can start by choosing the year when the timetable is valid, then you continue by choosing a specific style, and if, available, a subgroup style. Time and space can also be locked, for the precise purposes written above.
You can then insert the hours and classes that you want. All of them can be quickly inserted, depending on the number of classes available for each day. The hours of the day can be customized in an easy way, so that each one will be accessible immediately after modifying it.
You can enter as much as 60 hours a day, if needed. But most of the users will find that maximum 10 are enough. Also, you can add teachers, activity tags, rooms and buildings. The activity tags can be used to make constraints, and thus increase the effectiveness of a timetable.
If you place a certain number of activities, they can easily be generated, so you don't have to bother with the annoying details. Of course, they can also be placed manually, but since this option is available, it's more than welcome, and it saves us both time and nerves.
The activities table generated this way can be studied by each activity in part. An activity contains the specific room where the class will take place, the teacher, the number of students that will attend the class, and their skills for the specific class.
Most of the time, you will want to insert the basic skill, because most of the classes will be referring mainly to general things. When FET is used in a specific, more complex environment, like universities, the skills can be increased, according to the complexity and diversity of the specific class.
Here comes the fun part. After selecting the activities and the most important tasks, it's time to create a timetable. You can create it manually, or you can automatically generate one. This can be done through a simulation, and the result of that simulation can be saved as xml or txt files in FET's installation directory.
These timetables also have some special lock and unlock properties, like locking on a timetable, on a student, or on a specified day. This is very good, since most of us have specific needs regarding a timetable, so this is a plus for customization.
FET is free, open source, licensed under the GPL, and it's fun to use. Create activities, generate timetables, this all can take an hour, not days like it usually does. Most important, you get to choose what to use and when. The interface is basic and very simple to work with. More than this, you can manage the timetables and choose the one that best suits your interests at any time.
A bad thing about FET could be the simple interface, but it's all you need to get things going. And some more customization options are welcome, but since the program is continually updated, they will surely come on later versions.
If you are in search of a good timetable creation and management program, then FET is a good choice for you. Being free and simple to use, FET can help you at any time to create those timetables that you are so afraid of, knowing the huge amount of work needed. But this is gone, because FET will give you a hand.
Here are some snapshots of the application in action: