Building Apollo

Apollo behind the scenes: see what we are working on right now!

Support for Dropbox and Google Drive personal accounts

Friday June 16, 2017

We couldn't rest while waiting for the end of the second feature poll, so here's the latest Apollo update about the new integration with Dropbox and Google Drive.

We added integration with Google Drive long ago, before this blog even existed. Since then, a workspace could be linked to a Google Drive account to be used as a centralized file repository, bring any of those files into Apollo and discuss them there.

Over time, many of you pointed out that there was the need for adding files from their personal Dropbox or Google Drive account, without downloading them locally and then uploading them again in Apollo.

Well, we're happy to announce that this is now possible! Starting today, whenever you'll find the browse button to upload a file from your computer, you'll also find one to pick from your personal Dropbox or Google Drive account.

Browse buttons in the Upload file window

While we were there, we also refreshed the file picker used to interface with the workspace-wide Google Drive account, which is now simpler and prettier, while retaining the same functionality.

The new cloud storage file picker

As usual, you'll find the list of other enhancements and bug fixes below.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Google Drive (and Dropbox) data exchange is now faster and more reliable.
  • The project activity page now shows the logged time percentage relative to the project's estimated time.
  • Added the estimated time in the project's Time section.
  • The contact detail page now shows the contact's company info on the right pane.
  • Overview: the “Unassigned” row in the Team performance section is now visible only when needed.

Bug fixes

  • In some cases, creating a project with a template from a Deal wasn't working.
  • The calendar instant preview was showing html entities (if you are wondering: they're just weird words used by the browser to display common symbols).
  • When adding a project from a template, the selected project manager wasn't overriding the one from the template.
  • Adding a project from a template wasn't working if the template had special characters in file names.
  • In some rare corner cases, the email dropbox wasn't working.

Results of the first poll

Friday June 9, 2017

It's over! After running for 10 days and receiving thousands of votes, the first Feature Poll has ended. To be honest, we didn't expect all this engagement; it's a sign that Apollo users care about the app.

Here are the results:

Pie chart of the results

As you can see, Assign tasks to multiple users won, with Subtasks second by a hair, and Bulk item reassignment third by a long shot.

Looking at the results above, we see the Subtasks feature as equally desired by part of Apollo users. If you're one of them, don't despair; while we're going to put our major efforts to deliver the winning feature, support for subtasks will come in the near future as well. Remember: most of the features we are going to put in these first polls are usually in a late stage of development, and we just need an hint to know what to refine and release first – that's what Feature Polls are for!

Wheter you cast your vote for the last poll or not, vote now for the new one. New points are awarded every Monday (if you missed the announcement, you can find it here).

Thanks for reading!

Help define Apollo priorities

Tuesday May 30, 2017

Today we unveil the new Feature Polls page which gives you the ability to influence our development priorities by voting for your favorite features.

Why we added a voting system?

Feedback from our users is often the source for new ideas and features; we think it's very important and should be put to good use efficiently.

That said, over time we noticed we have two broad categories of users: the few very vocal minority, that keeps making the same requests over and over, and the silent majority that is making few or no requests at all, expecting the features they need to be magically added to Apollo sooner or later.

More than once we looked into our process of managing feedback from users and each time we changed the way we handle it as a result. Managing it inside Apollo proved to be not flexible enough; then we tried a shared Google spreadsheet, and then we branched off to a shared Google Document. Now we have the ultimate flexibility and can easily add snippets from support emails, mockups, use cases and discussions, but we have a hard time in prioritizing, and expecially in weighing the requests appropriately.

In the last few months we've been guilty of starting too many feature branches – which are now at various stages of completion – without really shipping any! Building new shiny things into Apollo makes us happy, but we have been guilty of spreading ourselves too thin on too many different features instead of focusing only on one or two at a time, and we don't have anything to show for all the work done!

We had a tremendous success last year when we pulled out a streak of 36 Apollo releases in 36 weeks and we are going to repeat the experiment now! How? That's where YOU fit into the equation!

How does it work?

On Mondays, every workspace, depending on how long it's been active and on the plan it is on, will get a certain amounts of thrust points, called so for their use: giving thrust to a feature.

Why depend on workspace longevity? Well, we want to put long time clients above recently acquired one, and those on bigger plans above those on smaller plans that might move to another software after a little while.

As a result, long-time customers on bigger plans get more points, thus have a bigger influence in the voting process.

You can easily check where you stand, by looking at the Rocket type indicator in the voting page, near your username. The rocket types, in ascending (no pun intended) levels, are: Backyard rocket, Moon rocket, Mars rocket, and Intergalactic rocket.

Any internal user in your workspace is free to use the workspace points to vote for their favorite feature. You can distribute thrust points on more than a feature, or go full-thrust on a single one, if you need it. Or you can save your points for future polls, but keep in mind that they expire after 6 weeks, and that you'll get more every Monday.

Start now

You've got all you need to start voting. The first poll is already running, go cast your vote now, we look forward to the results.

 

Vote for your favorite feature

 

The winning feature will be our absolute priority, and will be shipped into Apollo for everybody to use.

Thanks for reading!

A new home for all Reports in Apollo

Friday March 3, 2017

We're back with a new Apollo update, and this time is again about a very popular request from our users: Reports, Reports, Reports!

After reviewing hundreds of emails, we choose around 20 Reports to start with, and we put them all together in a new Apollo section.

The all–new Reports section

It happens all the time: users ask us to obtain their data in a way it's not meant to be in Apollo, for example the top delayed tasks across all projects, or all the time logged for a client across all his projects and all the time logged on the contact itself. Even though Apollo has a comprehensive API that will let you do pretty much anything with your data, not everyone is a developer or has one handy all the time.

To honor those requests, we had to run some custom database queries on behalf of the user each time, then send the results back to them via email.

Starting today, they can just open the Reports section and click the Report titled “Billable vs. Non billable hours by contact”, or “Top 10 delayed tasks”.

An example chart

There are two types of Reports: those with tabular output and those with a chart output; you can easily tell which is which by looking at the icon before the Report name – a small chart or a table.

All Reports can be printed (there's a “Print” button on each page) and can be customized via their set of filters.

The Reports section will keep growing to suit your needs, so if you need one that's not listed, contact us on contact@applicomhq.com and we'll make it for you.

That's all for today, thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Added ability to manage Project categories from the Project settings page.
  • Mobile: added support for File approval workflow.
  • Mobile: ability to see comments for a specific file version.
  • Mobile: the File detail view now shows the File version number.

Bug fixes

  • The Highrise data import was sending the "Success!" email notification even when the import did fail.
  • Deleting a task wouldn't update the calendar.
  • In some cases, opening a contact wouldn't work due to misbehaving database query.
  • In an archived project, the Project settings tab was leaking some checkboxes in the Tasks tab.
  • Merging two workspaces wasn't working in some edge cases.

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.