RT 4.4.1 Documentation

Ticket metadata

Basic Terms

id

This term refers to the ticket ID number. Every ticket in RT has a number, different from every other ticket in RT, which is its main identity. Notice that you can select less than, greater than, equal to, or not equal to. These terms work exactly the way you learned in algebra; if you select 'less than', your results will come back with tickets that have a numerical id number lower than the ticket number you specified; 'greater than' and your results will be tickets whose id is larger than the number you entered, and so on.

Ticket ID is a quick way to cull a potentially large number of tickets from your search that are irrelevant, especially if you know for sure that, for example, the ticket you're looking for was made recently, i.e. above a certainly threshold of ticket ID, and vice versa. As with all the other parameters, it's yet another way to isolate and manipulate information in RT, if less exacting than some of the other options.

Subject

This term refers to the title, or subject, of a ticket, which appears as the subject of an email if you interact with RT in an email client, or as the title you see in a queue if you are working in RT itself. This criterion is straightforward. You can either include ('matches') or exclude ('doesn't match') a word or phrase from your search, and it will spit out all the tickets that have or don't have that word or phrase. Try using 'the' in both cases; there are surely a lot of tickets that both do and do not have 'the' in the subject of the ticket!

Queue

Queue specification is a great way to narrow your search. If you are a privileged user, i.e. you can log into RT and see more than just the tickets you own, you probably know the names of the queues you have access to. This criterion is pretty self explanatory: you're searching for a ticket either in or not in whatever queue you specify from the drop down menu. Choice of queue may affect what custom fields you can select to search on as well. Depending on how your RT is configured, some queues may have custom fields added to them that others don't because of custom workflows or pieces of information that are needed to capture for whatever entity the queue is representing. We'll dig into this more later.

Status

Status - The Query Builder allows you to search for a ticket based on what status it's in. RT ships with some default statuses, such as 'open', 'stalled', and 'resolved'. There is also the 'deleted' status, but RT does not search deleted tickets (they're gone for a reason!), so it does not appear as an option in the Query Builder.

Note that the statuses in the drop down menu are categorized by queues (more specifically, by lifecycle). Many queues probably share some basic statuses such as Open or Resolved, but avoid choosing a queue and then selecting a status that doesn't exist in that queue. Nothing bad will happen; you just won't get any results in your search!

Owner/Creator/Last Updated By/Updated by

Each of these terms refers to a user connected to a ticket. Whose task is this? Who made the ticket as a placeholder for the task in the first place? Who was the last person to change information on the ticket, including updating the ticket with a reply, comment, change in due date, or linking another ticket to it? Who has touched the ticket at any given time since it's creation?

Keep in mind that, with Last Updated by, even an indirect update to a ticket counts as an update, in particular listing ticket A as a 'referred to by' link to ticket B. If you visit ticket A, you'll see that the last transaction on the ticket (assuming nothing else has occurred since you link the tickets together) is 'reference added to ticket B', which counts as updating the ticket.

Requestor Email Address/Requestor RealName, etc..

Each of these titles, or roles (Requestor, Cc, Admin Cc, Watcher, Owner, Queue Cc, Queue Admin Cc, and Queue Watcher) refer to how certain users in the system relate to a single or a group of tickets. Each option is a piece of data that you can record about a user. Say, for example, you have the phone number, but neither the name nor organization for a certain Queue Admin Cc. If that data was recorded when the user was set up in the system, you can search for him or her using it, and so on and so forth for other data items per user.

Groups

A group in RT is a collection of users. Most often, a group is comprised of users who need the same rights to certain entities in RT: it's much easier to assign the rights to, e.g., read a queue, once to a group of people than it is to assign it 10 or 20 times individually to a bunch of users, thus making rights management, amongst other things, that much easier in RT. You could also assign a group the rights to be made watchers on a queue, use saved searches, and view saved dashboards.

Dates

Each of the terms available (Created, Started, Resolved, Last Contacted, Last Updated, Starts, Due, Updated) are all events or milestones that can take place on any ticket in a default RT. Let's go through some of the terms that are unfamiliar.

Advanced Terms

Several of these terms - Created, Started, and Resolved - are self explanatory. Let's cover a few that are less obvious.

Last Contacted

This means 'the last time we contacted them', i.e. the last time correspondence, which goes out to the requestor and Ccs was added to the ticket. Last updated means the last time anything was adjusted on the ticket, e.g. changing the status of a ticket, the time worked, adding a link to the ticket, or adding a requestor, adding a comment, amongst many other things. Starts is a field in the Dates box that you (or any user that has the proper permissions) can set so that the owner of the ticke knows when he or she needs to start working on the ticket. Due functions the same way and means when the ticket must be completed. Updated means the same as Last Updated, but will include all tickets with any update on the date you specify in the search, not just tickets that were last touched that day. You can search on these criteria either before, after, or on a specific date.

Time

Time Estimated, Time Worked, and Time Left are each fields in The Basics tab and are manually updated as needed. This group of search criteria is a good way to find, for example, tickets that are nearing completion (Time Left less than 5 minutes), or tickets that represent large projects (Time Estimated greater than 40 hours).

Links represent different sorts of relationships between tickets, from simple allusions to related conversations across tickets to more complex systems that force resolving related tickets in a specific order to enforce a workflow. Below are the definitions of each sort of relationship and how one in particular may work with others that complement it.

Child

For a ticket to be a 'child', it must have a Parent ticket. You can create this relationship either by making both tickets and marking one as parent of the other, or one as the child of the other (in both cases the corresponding ticket will update itself with the opposite relationship).

Parent

Parent tickets have children tickets, all of which must be resolved before the parent ticket can be resolved.

How would one use this information in searches? Let's say you're using RT to manage a release of the software your company makes. Often times release managers will make a parent ticket for the release, and make each of the deliverables meant to be included in the release children tickets of it. When you go to the master ticket, in the Links box toward the top of the ticket, there will appear a list of all the children tickets. While this list is useful, it's a bit hard to read. To get a more visible and detailed list of the children tickets, which, again, are the various items to be included in the release, you can set 'Parent is' in the Query Builder and then the ticket number, which will retrieve the list of children tickets.

Similar searches can occur between other tickets that are linked together with other hierarchical relationships, such as Depends On and Depended on By. For that reason, making a master ticket for a project and then adding the substeps and tasks as dependencies to it is a useful approach.

Refers to

This ticket linkage is a nice way to note when two tickets overlap on subject matter, but do not depend on one another for a task. Either ticket can be resolved at any time without affecting the other. If you mark one ticket as referring to another, that other ticket will automatically update as being 'referred to by' the former ticket.

Reffered to by

This is the mirror of Refers to.

Depends on & Depended on by

This linkage enforces an order of resolution between tickets. A ticket (ticket 1) that Depends On another ticket (ticket 2) cannot be resolved before the latter ticket (ticket 2) is resolved. These criteria are useful in searching if you are looking to narrow results for a ticket or group of tickets that for one reason or another are dependent on one ticket, perhaps a bug fix that must occur before others can be fixed.

Time

SLA (Service Level Agreement) - An SLA determines the time limit a company has to respond to time sensitive issues. For example, Best Practical offers several levels of support, each with different windows within which Best Practical must answer the clients query. There may be other requirements attached to an SLA, but that is up to the company providing the service.

A searching example of when this metadata may be useful could be a manager needing to see all tickets that presently have a 1 business day SLA and wanting to make this a saved search that s/he can use in a dashboard for easy access.

Content

This criterion functions similarly to the simple, or 'full text' search. Type in any word you want to search for and decide whether you want the search to include it ('matches') or exclude it ('doesn't match') amongst your other parameters.

Content Type

Simply, what sort of attachment does the ticket you're searching for have? a PDF? JPEG? Spreadsheet? etc..

Filename

Again, this term refers to the name of the attachment(s) that might be included on the ticket you're looking for. Is it a Master Agreement? Summary? Notes?

Priority

Every ticket has a 'Priority' in the Basics tab toward the top of the ticket. The scale is 0 to 99, and the meaning of high and low depends solely on the decision of the people managing RT. This piece of metadata doesn't do anything in particular on its own unless there are certain extensions installed that either raise (or in rare cases lower) the priority over time in respect of the due date that can be set either automatically or manually when a ticket comes in, and can send notifications for these tickets as they become closer to due (PriorityAsString), or allow for the scale to be non-numerical, i.e. low, medium, high, or critical.

This search criterion is most useful to obtain a group of tickets, rather than one specific ticket. For example, one might be searching for all tickets owned by user X with priority 50, or maybe all tickets with requestor matching @google.com with priority 75.

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