New Upvise v1.8 for Blackberry

A new version of Upvise v1.8 beta is available for Blackberry users:

  • You can now signin using your email / password in addition to the Upvise Pairing Code
  • The font used in Upvise is now the default system font you choose for your phone in the Blackberry Settings > Keyboard and screen. This way you can customize the font style in the Upvise appplication.
  • The font is also anti-aliased and looks much better on the latest Blackberry OS v4.3 and higher
  • a critical bug related to the Back function on OS v4.3 (model 8130) has been corrected
  • Upvise now works seamlessly with the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS), in addition to Corporate Blackberry servers (MDS) and also direct TCP.
  • Performance when displaying a lot of items in a list has been dramatically improved (2 to 3 times faster)
  • There is no limit anymore on the size of the local storage

You can download the latest Upvise client for Blackberry here.

Updated Mobile Contacts Application

We just updated the Mobile Contacts Application:

When you open the Mobile Contacts app, all your contacts are displayed in the first page, with a first item on top to browse by Groups. Previously, there was an intermediate screen to choose between All contacts and Groups. The new contact function has moved to the left soft menu item.

This way, with one click (or press) on your phone keyboard, you can :

  • search for a contact: start typing the first letters of your contact to filter the list
  • add a new contact : press the top left menu item

It saves you one click, and this is essential on a mobile phone!

 

The updated version should be installed automatically on your mobile phone.

Here is how it looks like on a Nokia phone:

Home screen 

 

Deleting multiple contacts or notes in your web account

We have added a multiple deleting functionality in the web versions of Business and Personal Contacts, as well as Workspaces and Notebooks, which allows you to delete several contacts or posts/notes in a single click. Items previously had to be deleted one by one.

This is specially useful with the Import functionality in Contacts, if the import went wrong and you want to start over again. 

Import and Export functionality in Upvise web applications

We have added Import and Export functions in your web account.

You can now export as a CSV file:

  • your business contacts, related tasks and opportunities,
  • your project tasks, issues and milestones
  • your workspaces and posts,
  • your personal contacts or groups of contacts,
  • your personal notes and notebooks

Exporting allows you to re-import into another application, to re-import into another Upvise application, e.g. you can export contacts from the Personal Contacts app, and re-import into the Business Contacts, or simply to backup your data.

Importing is also available for all the above applications. You can import CSV files, exported from Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express, Gmail, Yahoo or Mac Address Book. You can also import CSV files from Upvise.

It can be useful to create a group to import your contacts, or create a special notebook or workspace to import your notes/posts, so that you can classify the imported items separately.

Updated Upvise RSS News Reader

We just updated the RSS News Reader application, based on your requests and feedback

  • the list of feeds is now displayed on the first home page of the RSS news app. It means that you have to do 2 clicks to read your news only, instead of 4 previously : you select the RSS News app in the Upvise home page and then you select your feed : and you see all the latest articles. This was a top request and got numerous beta testers asking why it took so many clicks to just star reading. Well, we did it.
  • we also changed the article view : the article title is now displayed in the page content, not on the top caption. Often titles were too long to fit and were truncated, you can now see the complete title in the page. We also added the publication date of the end of the article view.
  • The starred articles link is also displayed on the home page, after the feed list, just like a custom feed in fact, makes sense, doesn’t it?
  • the Add New Feed link is now in the left menu bar on the home page too. If there is no feed in the home page, you also get a nice Add New Feed in the list.

How to install the Upvise News Reader application:

  • You need to have Upvise client application installed on your mobile phone.
  • The install of the latest News Reader application should be automatic on your phone, simply start Upvise and select the News Reader application, it will download automatically the latest version. 

Developer insider’s view on Google Android

Here are some interesting points on the development work for this port.

Positive Points:

  • porting was easy because we already have our source code base for Upvise in java, and Android is java based
  • we already separated the core cross-platform java code from the device specific code, because we do this for Java J2ME, our desktop simulator and for Blackberry. We only had to implement the device specific parts, mainly the low level graphic librairies, storage and the phone application integration like Maps, Browser, Dialer…
  • we found that the SDK and the emulator are stable and work well. Note we were using SDK  M5 RC14 (released early March) and not the initial release, which was more buggy.
  • Integration with native apps is very simple, and clean.
  • I like the option to simulate a GPRS low bandwith network with the Emulator

Negative points:

  • Eclipse only, not Netbeans (yet): we use NetBeans 6.0 for all of our mobile Java development and we like it a lot, it is fast, simple, intuitive and we can test it with all different mbile emulator : Sun, Nokia, Motorola, and even Blackberry have simulator plugins. For Android, you have to use Eclipse. Not a big deal, it took us about 2 hours to have everyting set up, but we found Eclipse is slower (at least when debugging using the Android  Simulator)
  • The UI layer, with all the Intents, Views, Activity is overkill. Just look at all the packages and the classes. It is also frustating that is not simply a super set of J2ME with backward compatibility.
  • There is no Gmail client app yet to integrate with. I would have expected Google to have it from the very beginning. We had to implement our own send mail function!
  • Because there is no actual device yet, it is hard to figure out the best way to integration with the keyboard. This is a very important usability test in mobile developement.

 Conclusion:

Once you workaround the little annoyances of the Google Android Platform (it is only 5 months old…..), it is very straightforward and easy to make a port to Android and even take full advantages of this new platform, like maps, dialer, full browser,….

Overall, it took us about 1 week to get a first working prototpye and an additional 3 weeks to fully polish the app.

Updated Mobile Business Contacts Application

We’ve just updated the Mobile Business Contacts application:

The main feature is that you can now associate Tasks and Opportunities not only to a Company, but also to a Contact.

When you view a Contact on your mobile phone, you now have 2 additional links : Open Tasks and Opportunities for this contact. When you click on one of these items, you see the list of tasks or opportunities for the given contact. At the top of the list, there is a new Tasks or Opportunity item you can use to quickly add a new task or a new opportunity for this contact. 

The same feature is available on your Web account too. 2 new tabs, Tasks and Opportunities now appear in the Contact view, (just like the ones in the Company view).

We also upgraded the display when browsing all tasks and opportunities: We added a link just next to the task or opportunity name, corresponding to the associated contact or company. This way you can quickly navigate between contacts, companies, opportunities and tasks. 

Also  some other minor updates:

  • there is a new website field to associate a webpage URL with a contact. You can also now put rich HTML editing in the note field of a contact.
  • in the company list view, the website field is now displayed as a link. There is also an Edit link at the right to directly edit the company, (instead of going to the company view by clicking on the record). Phone and fax are now grouped together in the same column and you can click on them to initiate a Skype phone call.
  • in the contact view, mobile and phone numbers are also grouped in one column and you can click on them to start a Skype phone call too.
  • Opportunities and tasks list views also have the Edit link at the right of each item.
  • the Back link displayed on most pages works now much better.