For some strange reason I had this impression that if you are shopping around for a software application, and found one with a really elegant, modern user interface chances are very good that the engineering behind the system will also be bestowed with the same level of attention to detail and quality.
Boy am I wrong. Kayako is a ticketing system that seemed great on the surface. Their main web site, as well as the Kayako application itself seem modern, well designed and Web 2.0 based - all atributes I liked a lot. Their support is responsive and that tells me a lot too about the effort these people must have put into designing and supporting this system.
However the devil is in the details. Once I started using the system, I picked up three problems. One I will discuss on a future date, the other two are quite horrible.
The problem with the way they deal with email is that it seems to be synchronous and not asynchronous. Whenever a computer program is supposed to process a potentially long running task, or a task that might encounter transient failures, it is critical that the task be scheduled for asynchronous processing - assuming the results of that processing is not required immediately. This has two benefits:
Remember, nobody cares in this system if email is delayed by 5 minutes - email is inherently asynchronous and non reliable so it makes no difference. However, now I have a ticket in closed status and the ticket owner has not been notified. So now I have to manually send out an email to inform them of the ticket status change. Not good.
Even worse, the cron task that polls the IMAP account for new submissions suffer from the same problem. It reads the IMAP folder, deletes the emails from the IMAP folder, then tries to submit email notifications. If the SMTP calls fail, you will never receive those emails. This includes user registration details such as system assigned passwords. Whoops!
I just wish life was more transparent. I want to believe what I appear to be observing. Now I have to dial down my level of trust by 10 clicks. Not nice.