Building Apollo

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

Enhancements for better productivity

Wednesday August 16, 2017

We're in the middle of the summer break in Italy, but some of us are still working to bring you fresh features. Read below what was added to Apollo this week!

Allow multiple responsible on tasks

After shipping the ability to assign a task to multiple responsibles, we got a lot of positive feedback from our users. Some of them though reported that, in some cases, having multiple responsibles is counterproductive, and wanted to enable the feature on a per-project basis. Well this is now possible! Just uncheck Allow multiple responsibles on tasks when creating a new project, or in your current project settings.

Filter tasks across all projects by project manager

Last year, we added the ability to select a specific person as a project manager. While it's great to assign a supervisor for a project, when checking tasks across all projects you couldn't easily identify the manager of the project they belonged to. In busy workspaces, being able to filter all open tasks by project manager can be a big help in identifying bottlenecks. So now you can do it. Just head to Tasks across all your projects and select the project responsible on the filters from the right.

Project-specific color for Tasks and Milestones on the Calendar

Up until today, project tasks and milestones were shown on the calendar with a gray background. Now you can choose a specific color for each project. Open the project settings and set your preferred color using the Calendar color option.

Directly upload files on your cloud storages from Apollo

Picking files from your preferred cloud storage services right from Apollo is beyond useful, but to upload files there you had to resort to their corresponding app, be it Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Often though, other project users do not have access to the cloud storage accounts connected to your Apollo workspace. Starting today, you can upload files and let your collaborators do the same right within Apollo. This works for all supported cloud services.

That's all for today, thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • The CSV export file for Tasks now shows the completion date.
  • Added a link to open the relative task in the “Top 10 delayed tasks” report.

Bug fixes

  • Tasks CSV export file wasn't showing all responsibles for that task.
  • In some pages, checkboxes weren't showing the checkmark.
  • The timers panel was being cut off by the tab bar.
  • Due to a bug with multiple responsibles support, in some cases the overview wasn't showing the correct task count.
  • Uploaded files weren't showing in the project feed anymore.
  • Various fixes to the CSV import from Capsule.

Support for folders in project files

Wednesday July 26, 2017

Since we started our first feature poll, user participation has been great! That's a sign that they care about the future of Apollo. Today, we're at the fifth poll already, and we're releasing the winning feature of the third poll: the ability to use folder and sub-folders in a project's Files section.

Files and folders together

Everyone whom has ever used a computer knows its way around folders and subfolders, so we don't think we need to explain how it works. You only need to know that, starting today, file management in Apollo takes a small leap forward: you can now organize your project files in a folders hierarchy, move a folder inside another one, rename it, and so on. You can even download the entire content of a folder, if you wish.

A path bar is shown at the top portion in each screen, so you can easily go back to parent folders.

The path bar

And that's all for today. Remember that we have much more in the pipeline, and you can decide what will be the next feature by voting for your preferred one. Just head over to the Polls page.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Tasks in their list form now show the start date, if set.

Bug fixes

  • Project time: after editing a time entry, the estimated time wasn't being shown anymore.
  • The "New version" button in the file detail view wasn't working anymore.
  • Sometimes, the Edit button in the project file list wasn't working.
  • Overview: for some users, the refresh button for Project and Contact activity was stuck in a loading state.

Task audit

Monday July 10, 2017

Today we introduce another much requested feature: Task audit.

This is the feature that won our second poll, which you voted from June 9 to June 21. It allows you to view the entire modification history of any task. From the moment it is created, all changes to task properties (even files attached!) are recorded, along with their time stamp and the user who changed them.

Now you can answer questions like:

  • Who set this task's due date to happen so early, and when?
  • Who changed the description of this task, and what was its value before the change?
  • Who changed the priority of this task to High and when?

…you get the idea!

The task audit dialog

You'll find it in the task detail page: the last couple of changes are always displayed in the right hand column, and you can get the full picture by clicking on the Details link.

We expected this to be a lifesaver for busy projects – and it is – but to be honest we find it extremely useful for simple ones too!

While this feature has been refined recently and unveiled today, its development started a few months ago, so you can already see the changes for the last 6 months!

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Buttons indicating busy activity don't show their text label anymore (ex.: "Loading", "Saving"). Instead, they simply show an universally understood loading indicator.

Bug fixes

  • API weren't allowing the creation of tasks for a contact, case or deal.
  • In some cases, Timers were erroneously using too much CPU.
  • Files attached to a task created via email weren't showing up in task lists, while they were in the task detail page.

Assign tasks to multiple responsibles

Monday June 26, 2017

This is the first Apollo update which is a direct result of the votes cast in our polls!

Many users took the time to express their preference, and the majority wanted to get this feature before the other ones, so in the last two weeks we spent most of our time completing and refining it.

The devil is in the details, and even though most of the work under the hood had already been done in the past months, sometimes bringing a feature from 90% to 100% completion takes some serious effort as well.

The feature we're talking is about tasks: starting today, you have the ability to assign a task to multiple people!

Multiple users selected in the Task form

Just select the people you want the task assigned to from the list, and Apollo will do the rest: every responsible will get a notification email, stats and charts will take multiple responsibles into account, tasks will show that there are multiple responsible set (see below), and so on.

A task can also be quickly assigned to all the people in a company by clicking “All of company”.

Task showing users assigned to it

We hope this will ease your daily work in Apollo. Please don't hesitate to send your feedback anytime, we love it!

Results from the second poll are out!

As you may already know, our second feature poll has just ended. As a reminder, available options were “Undelete support in projects”, “Task audit” and “Per user time threshold”. The winner is the Task audit feature, with 46% of all votes.

Today, we started a new poll. If you didn't vote yet, you can do it right now.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Added the total time in the projects' Time reports.
  • The workspace deletion screen now forces the secure layer (https).

Bug fixes

  • Dragging the timer panel wasn't working correctly on Chrome 55+.
  • Image proofing: adding a point-type element over another one would draw it in the top left of the canvas.
  • Calendar event form: when setting a reminder, the date preview when the reminder would go off wasn't updating.

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.