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Prime Timetable Blog

Prime Timetable reimagined - create schedules on any device

Dear timetablers,
Surprise your students and colleagues with all-new Prime Timetable, reimagined and rebuilt from ground up to work on any device. Beautifully optimized schedules are now just a tap away on your tablets and smartphones. No installation, no setup. It just works. Visit primetimetable.com to create a free account (if you haven’t already), log in and enjoy scheduling like never before. Prime Timetable is still the only app in the global market fully accessible both online and offline, and now we have taken a giant leap forward by making it accessible wherever, whenever!

Schedule the whole school on a pocket size phone (VIDEO)

Seeing is believing. Therefore, we have made a video showing automatic generation, instant validation, manual adjustments, dragging cards with just a touch of your finger and sharing schedules online. And all this on a pocket size phone! The results are groundbreaking. Watch the video.

School scheduling software screenshot from video

K-9 school schedule example on tablet

Teachers and students have direct access to their individual schedules

When you tap/click the class or teacher’s name in the master schedule, an individual schedule is opened. Anyone can bookmark that page to the home screen of iPhone/iPad or Android smartphone/tablet, or pin that page to the start menu on Windows Phone, or create a web shortcut on Mac OS X, or just put it in the browser’s bookmark/favorites for easier access. Whatever you or your colleagues/students prefer.

No Wi-Fi? No problem. Schedules are available even offline

Once a colleague or a student has visited the published timetable they will be able to see it again any time they want and without internet connection! The master and all individual schedules are accessible offline. Even if you are stuck in the traffic without Wi-Fi, your schedule is always there. Again, no installation, no setup. It just works.

Choose your preferred app: web or plugin

Choose Help > Options > Preferred App and pick the app that best fits you. The web app works everywhere and will be automatically opened if you visit primetimetable.com using tablet or smartphone. The plugin app is available even offline as a desktop app and is up to 3 times faster when it comes to generating complex school schedules.

Two apps at the price of one. Up to 50% discount for multi-year purchase

Both web and plugin apps are available at the price of one. Plus, we offer special discounts (up to 50%) for multi-year purchase. Check plans and pricing and choose the plan that suits your school.

Share your experience with Prime Timetable. Owl we need is love

Prime Timetable Owl

Your invaluable feedback has helped us enormously to improve the application, and so far we have implemented more than 200 ideas that you have requested. We are truly grateful for your generous support and would like to invite you to share your experience with Prime Timetable and spread the word so that others can get their schedules done and have fun!

Visit our brand new website for more info and enjoy scheduling like never before.

How to create a two-week timetable with slight variations

There are two ways to create a two-week timetable using Prime Timetable. One obvious way is to create one timetable and set 10 days. But that is not what you want to do if you need to make a two-week timetable with almost identical lessons. For example, let’s assume that 4 days in a week have exactly the same timetable and there are some differences only on Friday. In this scenario we have two types of lessons:

  • (A) Lessons that are held the same number of times in both weeks
  • (B) Lessons that are held over one week but not the other.

All other variations boil down to these (A) and (B) types. For instance, there could be a lesson occurring 1.5 times per week, which means there are two lessons in the first week and one in the second. In that case one lesson is type (A) and the other (0.5) is type (B).

Here is the procedure of scheduling such two-week timetables using Prime Timetable:

  1. Create a new timetable with 5 days.
  2. Add all type (A) lessons using Manage > Lessons > Add.
  3. Forbid Friday using the red marker (just pick the red marker and click on Friday in the timetable view)
  4. Generate the timetable using play icon.
  5. Fix all cards using the pin (just pick the pin and click in the top right corner of the timetable)
  6. Pick the red marker and click once again on Friday to remove the forbidden positions. Click all other days to forbid lessons on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  7. Save two copies of this timetable: Week 1 and Week 2 using Save As > Copy of Timetable.
  8. For each timetable add type (B) lessons and generate the timetable again.
  9. Of course, there are many more variations but the procedure is similar.

School schedules for phones, tablets and desktop

Dear timetablers,

Your students and colleagues can now see published schedules on their phones, tablets and desktop and even when they are offline. No installation needed, no plugins, it just works! Take a look at this 1 minute video and read more:

How to publish the schedule and share it with students and colleagues

You might want to share the schedule you have created to check whether it suits everyone’s needs or whether it needs any further changes. Maybe you want to do away with endless printing of drafts or final schedules and save some paper as well? Whatever the reason, follow these 3 simple steps:

  • Choose Share > Publish to the Web > Publish.
  • Configure publish options, such as displayed view, skin and time format.
  • Share the published link with your students, colleagues and anyone interested, e.g. put the link on your school’s website, share it on your school’s Facebook page, or just send the link to other colleagues in the email.

Each teacher/student has direct access to their own schedule

When you click or touch the first column in the master schedule, individual view is opened and the link in the browser is changed. That means that anyone can bookmark their individual schedule to the home screen of their iPhone/iPad or Android smartphone/tablet, or pin the website link to the start menu on Windows Phone, or create a web shortcut on the Mac OS X, or just put it in their browser’s bookmark/favorites for easier access. Whatever you or your students and colleagues prefer.

No Wi-Fi? No problem. View schedules offline!

Once a student or a colleague has visited the published schedule, they will be able to see it again any time they want even without internet connection. Yes, the whole school schedule and all individual schedules are accessible offline. Even if you are stuck in the traffic without Wi-Fi, you will be able to see your schedule as well as everyone else’s!

Accessible on any device. No installation. No plugins. It just works!

Virtually any device, browser or OS you or your colleagues and students might have is supported! We have really gone extra mile here; even the 13-year old Internet Explorer 6 is supported. Of course, the latest and greatest browsers are capable of so much more, as they do animations, display nice rounded corners and linear gradients in the back of the card, and generally enable better user experience.

Published schedules support custom period intervals

You can define custom period intervals and appropriate cards will be repositioned and resized accordingly. This way you can publish highly flexible schedules like in this image.

K-9 school schedule example, 9th Grade

Example of 9th grade schedule for K-9 school
2 weeks with custom periods, breaks, half-time, lunch, electives

Published schedules are automatically updated

Don’t worry if you need to make changes to an already published schedule. All student and teachers schedules will be automatically updated once you save changes, so everyone gets an up to date schedule.

We are sure your students and colleagues will love beautiful schedules on their phones, tablets or any other device. Enjoy school scheduling like never before!

Groundbreaking! School scheduling software - smartphone demo (VIDEO)

Dear timetablers,

Take a couple of minutes to watch this groundbreaking video completely shot using only a pocket sized smartphone.

School scheduling software screenshot from video

Danijel Stulic, Prime Timetable co-founder shows generating and managing the whole school schedule using his pocket sized smartphone

Prime Timetable for Mac, PC, tablet, phablet, smartphone…

The video speaks for itself. Prime Timetable is available on Mac, PC, tablet, phablet, smartphone, on iOS, Android/Linux, Windows Phone OS... and most probably on any future device. Well, any device which supports web standards. From the largest desktop monitors to the smallest phone screens, portrait or landscape orientation, from mouse and keyboard as input to finger touch and pen, Prime Timetable is accessible whenever, wherever.

And now excuse us for a moment, we are going to have a big pint of beer and celebrate :). Cheers! Stay tuned and enjoy school scheduling like never before!

School scheduling software for any device - tablet demo (VIDEO)

Dear timetablers,

We are very excited to show you an exclusive preview of a brand new Prime Timetable that we have reimagined and rebuilt from ground up to work on any device you might have. Take a minute and watch a demo completely shot on a 7'' tablet. How about generating the whole school schedule in seconds with just a touch? Impossible, you might say. This demo shows how easy it is to generate a timetable automatically (in a matter of seconds!), instantly validate it upon any change, adjust manually by dragging cards with a finger and publish it online to share with colleagues and students. Yes, you’ll be able to do all this and so much more...We bet you haven’t seen scheduling like this before.

Screenshot from video

Danijel Stulic, Prime Timetable co-founder, presenting a brand new app which works on any device

Please note that we are going to support both apps: the Silverlight plugin app, which you are using today and which works on Mac and desktop PCs, and the new one which works everywhere, even on tablets and smartphones. Also, you will have the full control to choose which your preferred app will be and that application will be started after you log in.

The new application, shown in the video above, will be available very soon. Stay tuned and enjoy school scheduling like never before!

New devices call for new way of thinking

iPads supplied to all school staff

Last year a deputy principal from a school in Australia informed us that they supplied iPads to all their staff and inquired whether it’s possible for them to use Prime Timetable on iPad. In an instant, we had 50 teachers browsing Prime Timetable on their tablets. But how exactly have we handled that? We added device detection which redirects all tablets and smartphones to our web timetable viewer, avoiding plugin app which doesn’t work on those devices. And we felt that we could do much better than that…

New timetabling devices - Photo Credit: ebayink via Compfight cc

Answering customer support requests

From time to time our customer support had to send emails related to installing Microsoft Silverlight. Although we provided detailed instructions, around 10% of our users didn’t know how to install plugin and start the application. Just when we instructed one user how to install, we encountered problems with users he shared timetables with. So the issues multiplied…

Admins don’t seem to like plugins

Occasionally a teacher would approached us with a request for non-plugin software. It’s a bit weird that admins of school network seem to allow downloading and installing desktop apps, which implies much greater risk, whereas they forbid using plugins, which is considered much safer. So we had to deal with such restrictive policies... Hey admins, plugins are ok :)

Such issues made us question our core technical decision:

Why plugin in the first place?

For a good reason! Plugin enabled us to develop a complex and demanding application inside any browser so our users can use it from anywhere (school computer, laptop, home PC....). Microsoft Silverlight brought desktop-like performance online, inside the browser and even offline, delivering superior user experience our customers are enjoying today.

What about tablets and smartphones?

One major disadvantage of using plugins is that they don’t work on tablets, smartphones or any new devices emerging every day. So, how to reach these users was the question we asked ourselves and we started imagining…

Reimagining timetabling

Imagine picking any device you might have, start the app and actually generate a whole school timetable. What if dragging cards could be as easy as playing puzzle for toddlers, moving pieces around with just a touch of finger... and all that without having to exclude even the most complicated features like instant validation, extra views and many more. Does that sound impossible? Would you like to use such an app? Well, we certainly would and therefore we are inviting you to join us in our quest for a superb school scheduling solution that will work on any device out there… Stay tuned!

Prime Timetable 6.0 - faster and more powerful timetabling

Dear timetablers,

Based on your generous feedback, we have developed new Prime Timetable 6.0 with lots of features, improvements and latest fixes. Whether you are looking for automated or manual timetabling or both we've got something for you, not to mention special discounts for multi-year purchase up to 50%. But before we dive into any details, first and foremost

Thank you for promoting Prime Timetable!

We can't express enough gratitude to all of you who are promoting Prime Timetable to other principals and schools around. That really means the world to us. BIG HOOT and BIG THANK YOU! Ow(l)ing to your devotion and continuous support we bring you:

The new automatic timetable generator

Our unique automatic timetable generator (the only one in the market that works in your browser of choice on both Mac and PC since 2009) has been rewritten from scratch to serve you better. It has been specially optimized for complex timetables and in some cases we have seen the increase in performance up to 5-10 times than before. In other words, it means that if you have waited for a couple of minutes for automatic generation to finish, you will wait in a matter of seconds, now. Well, just click Generate and let us know how it works for you.

Scheduling multiple rooms

Simply add more than one desired rooms using More... button in Manage > Lessons > Add and that lesson will be displayed with equal number of cards in the room view. When dragging a card with several scheduled rooms, all related cards are automatically moved horizontally to a new position. However, only the card being dragged can be moved vertically so you can change its room without affecting other related room cards. You can manually choose any room, even if it is not in the desired or alternative room list.

Draw constraints using markers

You don't want to get bored with your timetabling work, do you? The new markers will prove that previously slow and tedious task of defining constraints can be fun, game-like and yet more productive. Red , yellow and blue markers  and eraser  will let you easily draw or erase forbidden, unwanted or mandatory marks directly into any master, individual or extra timetable view. For instance, using red marker you can mark the 6th period as forbidden for a specific resource (class, teacher, room or subject) and the automatic timetable generator will respect your input and try to solve all the constraints for you.

Improvements for custom periods

Based on your feedback we have improved custom periods and now you can define more than one custom periods during the default period. For instance, during the default period of 45 minutes you can add 3 shorter lessons of 15 minutes each. When adding new custom period(s), you will be asked if appropriate cards on default periods should be moved and resized accordingly, so you don't have to do that manually. Positioning and resizing of custom cards is also improved to better support gaps between default periods and different period intervals. As always, when dragging a card, the card shadow indicates where the card will be dropped.

Timetabling history and unlimited undo/redo

Click Undo tool to undo and Redo tool to redo any view changes. Apart from that, a new history icon  lets you see all previous changes, so you can undo all or some of them with just one mouse click. History list is also helpful because every action has its description, for instance: 1 card dragged, 2 marks erased, 240 cards changed by generator, 1 card cleared, 2 positions marked as mandatory… so you get a clear picture of all previous changes. Both multiple undo and redo are animated, so you can see the cards moving from one position to another. Also, all changes are tracked in the instant validation window, which helps you decide which position better suits you.

Other changes and improvements

There are lots of other subtle changes and improvements, here is just a short list:

  • Adding a lesson without teacher or class is improved.
  • Days and periods can be repositioned just like other data.
  • Teacher's statistics will take custom periods duration into account.
  • Black and white (monochrome) printing mode added.
  • New "Use 12-hour clock" option added in Help > Options.
  • When editing a lesson, previous card positions are remembered.
  • Better detection and user experience for iPad and iPhone users.
  • Use markers, but if you miss old Marks button we can enabled it for you.
  • Old generator is still there just in case, and can be enabled for you.
  • Subscription expire date is displayed in Help > About.

Is there anything you would like to have included and it's not there yet? Share your idea in our online user voice. Once again we would like to thank you for your continuous support and we wish you enjoyable timetabling.

Prime Timetable team
http://facebook.com/primetimetable

New automatic timetable generator

For the last 4 years our unique automatic school timetable generator has been the only one in the market that works in your browser of choice on both Mac OS and Windows, and all that without sacrificing its performance. Isn't that great? We've had great feedback from you, but we didn't stop there, because there is always room for improvement. We have done a lot of research in the field of automatic timetabling algorithms in order to further improve our generator's performances. Today, we are very pleased to announce the results of this multi-year work:

Generating complex timetables 5-10 times faster

Automatic timetable generator has been rewritten from scratch to serve you better. The main focus was resolving requirements of complex timetables faster. For instance, if you used to wait a couple of minutes for automatic timetable generation to finish, you will be pleasantly surprised to see that now the timetable will be generated in the matter of seconds and you will get the job done with a single click of . Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

However, if there is no improvement for a couple of minutes, you should stop the generator and check if your data is properly entered or try to remove some constraints and then try again. The owl will hoot helpful advice along the way.

Also, while improving, automatic timetable generator will try to move only a limited number of cards. In some cases, you can spot the "problematic card(s)", manually move them to another position, fix them using and then click once again.

New generator => new features

The new generator is much more flexible than the old one. It allows us to easily introduce new features such as multiple rooms and lessons without teacher or class, and this is only the beginning. You can expect much more in the future.


New automatic timetable generator in action

Single play icon which improves timetable

In the old version, whenever  was clicked, the timetable was generated from the beginning (all cards were first removed), while when   was clicked, the current timetable state and its imperfections were improved. We have decided to remove and use instead.

If for some reason you still want to generate a timetable from the beginning click with Shift key pressed or just click  to remove parts of the timetable you are not satisfied with.

What happened with the old generator?

It's still there just in case. If you need it let us know, and we will enable it for you. Bare in mind that the old generator can't be used for the new features, such as multiple rooms and lessons without a teacher or class.

Scheduling multiple rooms

Some lessons require more than one room, e.g. physical education might require gymnastic hall and some other sports hall as well. When adding a lesson via Manage > Lessons > Add you can add more than one desired room using More… button, and the lesson will be displayed with equal number of cards in the room view.


Adding more desired rooms using More button

Automatic timetabling of rooms

Automatic timetable generator will attempt to schedule all desired rooms without causing any conflicts with other lessons. In case it can’t find a solution using only desired room(s), it will use alternative room(s) as a replacement.


Dragging a card with 3 rooms assigned

Manual timetabling of rooms

The room view is the only master view where you can drag cards vertically, so as to change where the lesson is taught. When dragging a card with several desired rooms, all related cards will be automatically moved horizontally to a new position. However, only the card being dragged can be moved vertically so you can change its room without affecting other related room cards. As always, the card shadow indicates where the card will be dropped. You can manually choose any room you want, even if it is not in the desired or alternative room list.

Improvements for custom periods

Based on your feedback custom periods are much more improved and now you can define more than one custom period during the one default period. For instance, during the default period of 45 minutes you can add 3 shorter lessons of 15 minutes each. When adding new custom period(s), you will be asked if appropriate cards on default periods should be moved and resized accordingly so you don’t have to do it manually.


Example of individual class view using custom periods

Positioning and resizing of custom cards is also improved to better supports gaps between default periods and different period intervals. When dragging a card, the card shadow will cycle through all default and custom periods beneath so you know exactly where dragged card will be dropped.


While dragging a card, the card shadow shows exact position where card will be dropped

5/23/2013 custom period

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