Building Apollo

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Set the estimated time for a Project

Wednesday February 8, 2017

Welcome to the first Apollo update of 2017! Today we present a little new feature for the projects section and a sneak peek into what's coming in February.

Until today there was no way to know if a project was either overtime or ahead in time. From now on, you can specify the total estimated or total agreed upon time for each project, and keep tabs on the percentage already used in the project list, along with the total time tracked.

This small feature is something that was repeatedly requested in the last few weeks by those of you who manage projects on a predefined amount of time. We receive requests to add new specific fields to a project almost every week, and usually we push back to avoid turning Apollo into a total mess. This time, though, it was clear that a small addition could have an impact in the way most of you work, and for the better. If you were tracking this information outside of Apollo, you can now keep it with the project in Apollo, where it belongs.

Here's how it looks like in the project list's List view:

Time percentage in the list view

And here's it in the project list's space-constrained Card view – it only shows the percentage value:

Time percentage in the card view

Speaking of Time tracking, we'd like to remind old and new users that there's the ability to create detailed Time reports with custom filtering, and for the past weeks has been available a new set of granular permissions for the Time tracking feature.

One more thing…

About those reports… notice something new in the screenshot below?

Sidebar with reports menu

We'll leave you hanging there for awhile; we look forward to the next update, and we think you'll like it.

Thanks for reading!


New features

  • Mobile: ability to add recurring Events and Repeating Tasks (only on Event/Task creation).

Enhancements

  • Overview: Projects' and Contacts' activity is now centered on big screens.
  • Mobile: ability to set the start date on Tasks.
  • Mobile: added an icon to indicate a Repeating Task.
  • The "more" link to expand the Task's full description was missing "..." at the end. That was very important.

Bug fixes

  • The number of Tasks in the Task's recurrencies dropdown was wrong.
  • Mobile: the Overview was showing a slightly different set of Tasks and Milestones, compared to the Overview in the desktop version.
  • Overview: in some cases, Tasks belonging in private Task lists were visible to external users.
  • Sometimes, dragging a Task in the Calendar would remove the Task's responsible.
  • The Basecamp import feature wasn't working in some edge cases.
  • The Milestone form for project templates had some issues showing the Responsible selectbox.
  • Sometimes, deleting a Case wouldn't hide it from screen.

Filter your tag cloud

Tuesday December 20, 2016

Welcome to another Apollo update!

Using the CRM side of Apollo, you should have found the ability to tag contacts surely handy. Sometimes, though, your tag list can become a real jungle. You can already sort the mess out by using the Tag management screen. From there, you can get rid of old tags and rename existing ones but, it turns out, for some of you, hundreds of tags is the norm, and you really can't do without.

This makes it a little inconvenient when you need to filter by a combination of tags, because you are presented with a very big tag cloud that is difficult to scan by eye.

That's why we added a filtering box just before the tag cloud. Type something in it, and only the tags that match will be left of your screen.

Filtering tags

Thanks to Michael R. for submitting this.

Access projects you can't see

As you probably already know, in Apollo each user can only see projects they're part of; this is a general rule and it's always been applied since the beginning, even to the account owner user.

From time to time we get feedback about this, with some users that wonder why account owners – who have the power to delete their entire workspace – cannot access all projects.

Having listened to various suggestions about how to improve this, we realized that the main issue at stake is about transparency. In fact, a support request we receive quite often from account owners is about why they reached their active project limit when they haven't that many in their list.

With this update we are going to bend the general rule a little bit: from now on, even though account owners can still only access projects they are part of, they can now get the list of projects they are not part of, and in each project they'll find the indication of the admin users in those projects.

To do this, just click the link at the bottom of the filter popup in the project list, where it says “I can't see some projects”, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Project list filter popup

That's all for today, and for this year. We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2017!


Enhancements

  • Calendar: tasks and milestones can now be edited from their detail tooltip.
  • Calendar: tasks can now be moved and resized to change their start and due date.
  • Calendar: better inclusion/exclusion of tasks and milestones with a start date or with a time span larger than the selected time period.
  • The exported contacts CSV file now includes the "referred by" field.

Bug fixes

  • Project list: the page title was incorrect when choosing "don't group" and "sort by name".
  • Sometimes, deleting a deal with time logged on a task would show an error.
  • Calendar: dragging and dropping an all-day event was making it end on day later.
  • Project calendar: in some rare cases, the tasks' detail tooltip couldn't be closed.
  • Calendar: some recurring events and tasks were being moved by one day in some timezones.

Save time with Repeating Tasks

Monday November 14, 2016

Often times we find ourselves creating tasks for repetitive jobs, such as writing blog posts, sending newsletters, keeping tabs with our users, and even paying our office bills. We know we're not alone – everybody, to some extent, needs to deal with repetitive things.

This update makes Apollo do some work for you, with Repeating Tasks.

Repeating Tasks are just like regular Tasks but, as their name suggest, they repeat over and over, spawning after being completed. They're the Groundhog Day of Tasks!

Some users (especially those belonging to The Brave Collective) have already been using this feature for a while, and from today it is available to everyone. The Brave Collective is the group of Apollo users who get to try new features before everybody else; if you like to join it, drop us a line to contact@applicomhq.com.

To make a Task repeat itself, either add a new Task or edit an existing one, then go to the Repeat tab, where you can choose how frequently the Task should repeat.

Setting recurrency options in the task form

When saved, an icon next to the Task (see below) will indicate that it is going to repeat when completed. Click it to show the list of recurrencies for that Task and, optionally, to create a future recurrency without waiting the completion of the current one.

List of recurrencies for a task

This is useful, for example, when you need to attach a file to the future occurrence right now, or if you need to start a discussion on it well in advance.

We think that this is a nice addition to your workflow, and rest assured that there's more coming. In the meantime, have a look at the list of minor changes below.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • CRM detail pages: forced word wrap for long words in the Background info block.
  • Better CSV export to Harvest

Bug fixes

  • Chrome wouldn't load the application font when using Apollo with an SSL connnection (https).
  • Task activity wasn't being shown anymore in the Contact, Case or Deal detail page.
  • Sometimes, trying to shift a milestone while avoiding week-ends would show an error.
  • Switching between different calendar views and popups wasn't always working.
  • Sometimes, changing a project's settings wouldn't correctly update the project list.
  • The projects card view was showing logged time to external users.
  • Deals page: the page title was showing "sorted by name" even when the sorting was by creation date.
  • Sometimes, PNG images were losing their transparency information.

Merge two projects

Thursday November 3, 2016

Welcome to another Apollo update. This one is all about requests we received often in the last few months.

The first (and most substantial) one is the ability to merge two projects into one. While we at Applicom never needed the ability to do such a merge, we can still appreciate that sometimes, in bigger and/or busier agencies, two people may start the same project for the same customer, ending up with a bunch of tasks in one project and a couple of messages and a writeboard in the the other one. Or, it could be just a matter of simple projects housekeeping: two internal projects grew in scope and are now basically overlapping, so you'd better merge both into one.

One of our users, John K., asked for it a few times, and he wasn't alone.

Well, starting today, merging two projects is possible! You can do so by opening the Project settings page and clicking the Merge project button on the right side of the screen

Right side block asking to merge the project

When the Merge project dialog box appears, search for the project you want to merge the current one into, then click Merge these projects.

The Merge project dialog box

All data from both projects (tasks, milestones, messages, etc.) will be merged into one, and even though you don't need to do anything else, we suggest to have a look at the People and permissions page on the final project, to make sure that its members all have the right permissions set.

Back to requests by our users

Among the new features that let you be more productive, there are new sorting and grouping options in the project list (which can now be set independently from each other), and the ability to choose a project manager while creating a brand new project.

Thanks to Victoria B. for the former and Phoebe D. for the latter.

Well, that's all for today, we look forward to the next update.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Creating a task filter preset now warns that the preset name already exists. No more confusion when scrolling the preset list to select one.

Bug fixes

  • Mobile: in rare condititions, the My tasks screen wasn't showing any task.
  • Mobile: filtering by responsible in My tasks and filtering tasks on the calendar was not working correctly.
  • In some cases, the CSV export feature in the Deals page was not working correctly.
  • The CSV export feature in the contact list wasn't working correctly when filtering by tag but without actually selecting any tag.
  • The project total logged time value wasn't resetting to zero after deleting all time entries.
  • The default view preference for the calendar wasn't being saved for external users.

Use your own image as the sidebar background

Thursday October 20, 2016

Since the release of the new sidebar, a frequent request both from new and old users has been the ability to load their own sidebar background art.

Starting today, the account owner can do just that: head over to Settings > Appearance, select Custom Image under the Sidebar background section, then click Browse to upload your own image. For best results, we recommend an hi-res 768x1920 pixels image (2:5 ratio), especially if you enjoy your retina screen!

Controls for selecting your own sidebar background

The ability to pick their own background image is available to other users of the workspace as well, if the account owner didn't lock these options (see this post).

Tweaks to deal filters

The filter panel, which used to be on the right portion of the deal list, is now embedded in the big button at the top. This way the look of the page now matches what you can already find in other screens like My Tasks or the project list.

The new filters for the Deals page

Different sorting options have also been added: just click the button to change them.

That's it for today, thanks for reading!


Changes

  • The user autocompletion dropdown has been disabled in the Task form, since having that and the Responsible selectbox led to confusion.

Enhancements

  • Tasks in a project template that has been created from an existing project now retain the same dates ranges relative to the original project tasks.
  • A project template that has been created from an existing project now show just the first occurrence of the original project's recurring tasks.

Bug fixes

  • Project task lists were not working for external users with a minimal set of permissions.
  • Dragging tasks between task lists in a project wasn't working anymore.
  • User autocompletion dropdown in the quick add task textbox was showing/hiding at random keypresses.
  • Add task dialog: long descriptions in the extended description field made the dialog so big that the Submit button was going offscreen.

Redesigned Calendar filters

Monday October 10, 2016

Today's update is about a new filtering panel for the Calendar.

As you might already know, the new Apollo Calendar brought a better and more flexible event filters and visibility options, meetings support, and multiple iCal feeds. We weren't too happy with the user interface to select what to filter out though, especially when you had a lot of calendars and categories; it was hard to read and even harder to use.

So, when we began receiving more and more requests from our users, asking for a way to display, on their calendars, only tasks assigned to other specific workspace members – instead of just to themselves – we seized the opportunity to redesign the user interface for the Calendar filters.

Here's how it looks now:

The new calendar filters dropdown

As you can see, the long and narrow vertical menu selection is gone, replaced by more manageable dropdowns.

But that's not all: we've also managed to fulfill our users' request, so you can now use the calendar to focus just on tasks assigned to your coworkers.

Filtering tasks by a responsible

We like it very much. What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!


Enhancements

  • More space for timers! The timers panel can now reach 90% of screen height, up from 70%.

Bug fixes

  • The due dates on tasks created using a task list template were not avoiding weekends, when "weekdays" was specifically set.
  • Sometimes, filtering tasks by responsible did not actually filter out tasks of excluded responsibles.
  • Filtering tasks by responsible was also including those assigned to users with workspace access disabled.
  • Project files: sometimes, the Category filter dropdown items couldn't be clicked.
  • In some cases, the Save time dialog was being cut off and not centered on screen.
  • Changing the responsible of a project task with the "Tasks across your projects" open led to a program error.
  • Sometimes, choosing to sort project task manually sorted them alphabetically instead.
  • In some circumstances, and depending on the user time zone, the due date of recurring tasks were offset by a day.

File approval workflow, take three

Thursday September 29, 2016

Today we'll talk about the file approval workflow.

The initial file approval functionality, unveiled a few months ago, brought into Apollo the ability to mark a file for approval. Any user could approve that file and Apollo kept track of everything as usual.

Just a few weeks later we integrated what was the most common feedback we were receiving back then: the ability to restrict the approval to specific people. Sometimes, in crowded projects, being a little more explicit with permissions comes a long way in keeping things tidy and manageable!

This was great for a while, until we realized that there was another enhancement request that kept popping up again and again in our support emails: the ability to manage all those cases where unanimity is required. Different people have different areas of expertise and a specific file could be good to go for the marketing person and also for the graphic designer, but could not pass the approval of the legal department.

Approval policy options in the file upload form

Well, starting today you have the option to choose the file approval policy. As seen in the screenshot above, you can require that ALL specified members (not just one of them) need to give their green light before the file is considered approved.

These approvals are not secret and you'll get to see who gave their approval and who denied it (together with who didn't vote yet) in the file detail screen.

That's it for today! Please keep sending your feedback as usual.

Thanks for reading!


Bug fixes

  • Events in a project calendar weren't being drawed if the main calendar wasn't loaded first.
  • Project task lists: grouping tasks by responsible was hiding tasks assigned to companies (i.e.: not to a specific user).
  • Tasks across your projects and tasks across your contacts: editing a task assigned to a company led to a program error.
  • Task template form: checking the "set a due date" checkbox wasn't showing the due date detail fields
  • Running timers were showing white boxes instead of numbers in Firefox 49.x. – Thanks to James T. for sending this in.

Assign tasks using the @ shortcut

Monday September 19, 2016

Here's another Apollo update! This one will speed up the work of both average and power users!

We've all been in those times when you need to quickly dump your mind by writing down all TO-DOs (usually in the Inbox task list). In those cases, the quick add textbox below every task list is very useful: just type a task after another and hit Enter, and edit the details later.

But sometimes you also already know who's going to be assigned to the task, and you'd like to quickly specify that as well, without the need to edit the task later.

Well, starting today, you can assign a responsible right from the quick entry textbox! Just type the “@” character followed by the first letters of the responsible's name: a dropdown will appear, allowing you to select the responsible and keep typing the task subject.

Using shortcuts in the quick add entry box

As you can see above, you can also set a due date by surrounding it with square brackets; the available shortcuts are today, tomorrow, this week and next week. Or just type the specific date, like 08/19/2016.

You don't even need to type everything in that specific order. Putting the responsible and the date bits anywhere in the line will work just fine. Neat, uh?

That's all for today. There's an additional list of changes below, if you're interested.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Using the #end marker (to force Apollo to strip the remaining text of incoming email messages) now work with all emails, not just to comment replies.
  • In right-to-left languages, the user name in the sidebar is now clipped when it's too long to fit in.

Bug fixes

  • In some cases, events in the old Calendar were not being drawn; a byproduct of that Calendar not being actively developed anymore. Hint: Switch to the new one!
  • At the contacts time report, the pie charts were not drawn correctly
  • Sometimes, after pressing Play on a timer, the timers panel couldn't be closed.
  • Timers were losing seconds over time, and were synced when played/paused. They're now more in-sync with the server.
  • In right-to-left languages, the item picker in the Save time dialog box was not displaying correctly.
  • Uploading a file in a project wasn't showing in the project activity.
  • Project tasks: the "reset defaults" in the filters dropdown wasn't resetting the Responsible field to its default value.
  • Contacts: tasks added using a task list template were missing the responsible.
  • The milestones form allowed to set the milestone's due date happening before the start date, thus making them impossible to draw on the calendar.
  • CSV output for tasks was broken when filtering them by User.

More little changes for your productivity

Thursday September 8, 2016

We're back with another Apollo update to fix those minor annoyances that bug you constantly without you even realizing. We've shown a few others in a previous post, so check that out too.

Without further ado, let's see what's changed.

Contact referrer autocompletion & backlink

In earlier versions of Apollo you could write down the referrer for a contact, but it was just a name, and was no real connection to another contact card. Now you can reference an existing contact as the referrer; just start typing the contact name in the Referred by field and select it from the dropdown.

Searching a contact referer

Oh, and the referrer name is now rendered as a link in the contact page, so you can easily open it to see its data, too.

Thanks to Kersten A. R., this will be useful to everybody.

View the total duration of selected time entries

How many times, when managing the Time entries in a project, you found yourself calculating the subtotal for the selected time entries? Well, you can stop doing that, because Apollo does it for you. Just select a bunch of time entries and look for the total in the page header, near the number of selected time entries. Wonderful what these computers can do!

Time sub-total in page header

This is useful to check the value before issuing an invoice, or just see the total of the latest time entries – and it's available on every screen for managing Time.

Thanks Daniel I. for sending this in!

See the total number of projects in the workspace

This might be useful just to workspace owners, but still useful nonetheless. When looking at your plan information inside Settings, you can now see the number of total active projects near your join date.

Project count in Your plan

Thanks Joanna K. for the request.

That's all Folks!

As some of you may have noticed, some of these have been available for a couple weeks or more; we just forgot to mention them. They all sparked from feedback sent by our users, so please keep going, your feedback will also benefit everybody else using the app!

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Added filtering by user in My Tasks, Tasks across your projects and Tasks across your contacts.
  • Other settings: removed the Tasks visibility section, since you can now set advanced custom filters in any other task listing screen.

Bug fixes

  • Task list form: task list template selection wasn't working.
  • For some workspaces, adding a task on a contact was failing.
  • Settings > Preferences: choosing to assign new tasks to "Me" didn't work; tasks were always unassigned.
  • Project calendar: the Events filter was broken.
  • Contact/case/deal detail screen: sometimes the time bulk actions buttons were not being shown.

Draw circles in annotations & skim PDF files

Monday August 29, 2016

The image proofing feature in Apollo has got more love from our developers. Specifically, there's a new ellipse tool and multipage PDF support. Let's see them in detail…

Ellipse tool

A few weeks ago we introduced a new tool for drawing rectangle shapes in annotations, in addition to Point drawings. Today, the Ellipse tool joins the family, so you can draw circle shapes to highlight image portions.

Ellipse tool example usage with an unusually quiet Stewie

As you can clearly see in the screenshot above, the tool has its uses!

Multipage PDF support

Just a few days after adding PDF file support and announcing that multipage support was coming soon, guess what? Multipage PDF support is here! You can now review multipage files like documents or graphic files with multiple artboards. This effectively makes the image proofing tool a document proofing tool.

Multipage controls

Just upload a PDF file containing multiple pages, and skim them by clicking the page controls on the canvas toolbar. And yes, this also works on all those PDF files you already uploaded in your projects!

That's all for today, thanks for reading and see you soon!


Enhancements

  • Placeholders when there is not item to display are now vector, so they're sharp at every display resolution.
  • Tasks inside projects can now be filtered by responsible.

Bug fixes

  • Sometimes, once detached, the timers panel was not responding to the Timers button on the sidebar.
  • When editing a task, the "Notify me on completion" checkbox was not reflecting the real status of the setting of that task.
  • Project list: the Category selection box wasn't working in some cases.