Dec 062009
Edit: I’ve made a new post regarding Hesk and these enhancements for the new version 2.2. You can read it here:

I came across the free, open source Hesk Helpdesk ( while I was looking for a light weight help system for a project that was starting up. The project has since been put on hold, but Hesk is still a great application for a helpdesk/knowledge base. Hesk is offered as a free downloadable PHP script, as well as a Hosted Version if you do not have a server. The hosted version will cost you $20 US a month. You can also by a license for the downloadable version for $39.95 US to remove the Hesk branding.

While this application is great…

  1. Allows unlimited staff
  2. Granular permissions to the system and help desk categories
  3. Excellent knowledge base built in
  4. Innovative system that doesn’t require user accounts for clients

It is lacking a few features. I plan to use this application to respond to clients from a number of different projects. As such, it would be nice if they didn’t see ALL of the problem types when submitting tickets. Because Hesk is open source, we can make a few tweaks to get directly to a specific problem type.

Hesk also allows custom fields for your tickets, but it shows all custom fields on all problem types. This can get confusing for users in a multi-project environment. I’m developing a little hack to get around this limitation.

I’ve outlined both of these changes required on my wiki, you can take a look here.

  16 Responses to “Hesk Helpdesk (And Enhancements!)”

  1. @ first , THANK YOU ALOT for this enhancement to HESK !!
    & PLEASE …
    we need this hack to work in admin views too …
    can you modify the admin view of tickets plz ?

  2. I haven’t looked at this in a while, but I might get a chance in a few weeks. I’ll make a followup post when I get around to making the changes. The projects I had intended to use Hesk for all fell through, so I haven’t actually used it since I implemented these hacks. Thanks for the comment though, and glad to see that a few people are actually using this work.

  3. Hi & tnx for your reply .
    you don’t know how much this hack helped me at my work .
    the only little problem is that the ID of categories are shown in admin ticket views before custom fields name.
    as a part of your tutorial for this , you told that we need to modify the printed name of the custom field, otherwise it will print the numbers before the name :

    $temp = explode(‘_’,$v[‘name’]);
    $v[‘name’] = $temp[1];

    i think we need to add this somewhere in admin files (i guess admin_ticket.php ) for disable printing of category IDs before custom field names…

    again thank you very much for helping us.

    God blest you.

  4. Hey to anyone reading. I’ve taken another quick look at this and modified the admin_ticket.php file to achieve this. I’ve added the steps as the optional step 5:

    Only 4 small tweaks needed. Let me know if there are any issues with it.

  5. Nice demo and good instructions. I started using the Hesk desk about 2 months ago and after getting my clients to use it to communicate with me, now they are requesting that I put it on their websites too.

    About your mod, is it possible to wrap it like a module, plug-in so that future updates don’t require duplicating work.

    As much as I love the idea of the mod, and I have installed many when we used to use osCommerce, I won’t do this for a client. I will have to install multiple installations for those who need more custom features.

    Thanks again and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


  6. I’m not sure how easy it would be to make it into a pluggable module since it is a total hack that is modifying the source of the application. What I would recommend is hacking a version (ie 2.1/2.2/etc) first, and then use those PHP scripts to deploy to your clients. Assuming they don’t require any other customizations, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. But you are right, these customizations need to be repeated for each version change.

    Now that 2.2 is out, I may make my modifications, and then upload the changed files. Then, assuming no other customizations, you can just drop those into your installations.

  7. Hi there,

    could you get email piping working at all?

  8. Thanks for the reply! I totally understand what you are saying. Would you email me when you have created those files?

    Also would you be interested in Paid Support for this hack. The changes I have made to the script are text related (for the ticket submit page and emails) and one php hack from Klemen at PHPJunkyard which allows us to submit the ticket if the message box was not filled out.

    Though I am comfortable making those minor changes above, I don’t have the php experience to troubleshoot problems, especially after upgrades. I suspect my client would be happy to pay a small yearly fee for updates to your hack as the hesk script is updated.

    If you want to reply to my email, that is fine with me. Also we are always looking for programmers that do piece work for different web clients.

    Thanks again,


  9. I also can’t find the page where it showed the script in action. I would like to show it to my client. Also looking at the wiki, did you remove the “category” from the submit page?


  10. Hello Ian,
    I have not done anything with email piping at all. It would be neat to have email imported directly into a ticket in Hesk. I read a post saying that there was a module in development and should be available in the next few months, so that would probably do what you need.

    Another option is to write a PHP script that can check the email account in question, and call the hesk functions directly (or add stuff directly to the database bypassing Hesk for the import all together). If you do any development at all, it shouldn’t be too hard to throw something together. I’d recommend waiting for a supported module though. I may take a look at this in the near future.

  11. […] take a look back at my previous post, and learn more about Hesk, click here. Posted in Programming | Tags: hack, hesk, […]

  12. I pray that you can help lol I tried to get support from the original coder but not much there lol. I see you have experience with modding this script and I hope what I need wont be too complex.

    Firstly I am a volunteer at a Non Profit organization so funds are limited for us to find a coder to pull this off. I am used to modding PHPbb2 sites so I have some experience but not enough to make heads or tails of this script.

    Basically I am trying to modify the HESK script slightly to add a custom field to the reply page.

    We are using your software to keep track of Agencies who can contribute dollar amounts to people who need assistance with their utilities.

    What we are looking for is adding to the reply field an area to enter a dollar amount each agency who logs into the site can contribute to the case.

    so it would say:

    Message: (large text area)
    Dollar amount:(small text field)

    then it also would be nice if when we ran the reports if there was a way to add up each users dollar amount they have contributed each quarter spanning all cases.

    Thank you kindly for your consideration

    God bless

  13. Hello Joshua,
    Thanks for your post. I can see why the original coders would have balked at this suggestion. This looks like quite a bit of work. There would be database changes, UI changes, and then adding reports. I’m afraid I don’t have the time currently to work on something like this for you, but if you do get the chance to take a crack at it yourself, and run into trouble, I’d be happy to take a look.

    Good Luck

  14. Hey There,

    your hesk_hack is great and is exactly what I was looking for. I’ve followed your guide and have most of it working. The only problem I have is I keep getting an error message that says, “Required information missing:
    Missing required field: Name
    Missing required field: Center” ..etc

    The above two fields belong to a different category, and it appears that these required fileds need to be filled in even though the use cant see them. How can I fix this without unchecking the required filed box in settings?

    Thanks Again,

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>