Building Apollo

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

Custom fields on Contacts

Thursday November 2, 2017

Welcome to a new Apollo update! Once again, we're announcing the availability of a feature that recently won one of our polls. The polls are proving very useful to prioritize our work and we're grateful that you took the time to cast your vote.

To enhance the Contact management part of Apollo and cater to a wider audience across different industries, today we're unveiling the ability to add custom fields to your Contacts.

If you found yourselves pouring contact data – that hadn't a place in one of the available fields – inside the generic "Background info" field, rejoice! You can now create custom fields as needed; just open the Custom CRM fields page inside Apollo's Settings to setup the fields' names.

After that, the Contact form will show an additional section containing all your custom fields. They will also be shown on the right pane of the Contact detail screen.

Custom fields in a form

Custom fields are also available in the search-by-field area of the contact list, and just like the standard fields, they can be used to filter the list.

Filtering the contact list with custom fields

Custom fields are available on all plans, and the number of fields you can create depends on your specific plan.

Keep in mind that this is the first iteration of a new feature, with deeper integration coming in the future. As always, feel free to send your feedback to contact@applicomhq.com.

Thanks for reading!


Enhancements

  • Better handling of the task responsible field when the ability to assign a task to multiple responsible for a project is switched on or off.
  • Added work cell, work direct and home cell to the allowed types for the Phone field in Contacts.
  • Improved the app loading time by a tiny bit.

Bug fixes

  • The Industry filter wasn't working when exporting contacts in CSV.
  • Due to a timezone issue, the total logged time in the overview was wrong sometimes.
  • Some contact tasks were showing the link to the related note even if there wasn't one.
  • The email dropbox functionality allowed to create a task without a responsible.

Timer improvements and a new poll

Thursday October 5, 2017

In our last post, we introduced the new Timers, which brought a flat user interface, keyboard support and more. Unfortunately, they've had a bumpy start; we found a bug related to timezones, which we fixed the next day and pushed it for everybody to use.

While we were there, we also added some features that we initially planned for later; specifically, you can now:

  • Save a Timer, or edit its time and/or the description without expanding the Timer itself.
  • View and open the attached Task, Project, etc. when the Timer is collapsed and there isn't a description set.
  • Detach any Task, Project, Contact, Case or Deal attached to at Timer.

Also, the Timer creation date, which was shown in a tooltip in the previous Timers but gone in the redesign, is now back and visible at the very end of the expanded Timer.

Some users were also worried that the Timer description didn't default anymore to the name of the task the Timer was started on, so we brought back that as well.

A new poll has just started

Which new feature would you like to see first in Apollo? The contenders in this poll are:

  • Undelete support in projects
  • Webhooks
  • New permission system

Whether you cast your vote for the last poll or not, use your points to vote today! New points are awarded every Monday (if you missed the announcement, you can find it here).

That's all for today. Remember that all of this couldn't be possible without your feedback, so keep it coming, we love it!


Enhancements

  • Task descriptions containing long words (like URLs) are now wrapped to multiple lines.
  • Added the resize handle to the Rich Text editor widget – it only works in Chrome and Safari right now, sorry.
  • Mobile: added folder management to the project's Files section.

Bug fixes

  • Mobile: the file uploader in the project Files section wasn't working.
  • Sometimes, uploading a file would get the upload button stuck.
  • In some cases, a task assigned to multiple responsibles couldn't be completed.
  • Changing the due date using the task's inline date dropdown would remove the start date.
  • The image annotation dialog wouldn't always show a multipage PDF as such.

Meet the new Timers

Thursday August 31, 2017

Our streak of new features originated from feature polls is taking a pause, just for today, because there's something that needs its own moment: the new Timers.

The Timers functionality is a tent-pole in Apollo, and it's available since day one. Over time, we added the ability to adjust them on the fly and to see the Task, Project or Contact they were connected to, but lately they've been sort of neglected. Also, their appearance looked out of place in Apollo's flat style user interface.

It was time to start from scratch, and that's what we did. Let's see what's new!

Flat style user interface

The first thing you'll notice is the new user interface:

Due timer, one showing details

Gradients and unnecessary graphic elements are gone, while buttons and important informations are bigger and much easier to understand. Secondary actions and informations – like the element a Timer is attached to – are initially hidden but one-click away. The running Timer (not pictured here) has now a much more prominent look, so you won't have any trouble finding it even with tens of Timers on the list.

Attach a Task or element to a Timer anytime

Previousy, you could attach a Timer to a Task, Project, Contact, Case or Deal when saving it, or you could start the Timer directly on a Task and have it preselected when saving it.

Now you can pick or change the element attached to the Timer anytime, even if the Timer itself is running. This is also useful if you started the Timer on the wrong Task, or if you'd like to attach the Timer to the Project as a whole rather than to a specific Task.

This leads us to the next highlight, which is the…

New task picker window

Selecting a Task in the previous Save Time dialog window was an exercise in frustration; the Task picker was small, uncomfortable and limited. That's now massively improved, thanks to your feedback and to the new Task picker window.

Searching for a project task in the Task picker window

This window will be shown whenever you need to attach a Timer to a Task, a Project, Contact, Case or Deal, and brings multiple improvements over the old Task picker, such as the ability to filter Tasks by description, to search for Projects, Contacts, Case and Deals, and to create a new Task instead of selecting an existing one. All of this while the Timer is still running.

Keyboard support

You can now use your keyboard to navigate the Timers panel. This includes play and pause the Timer, expand and collapse the detail area, edit the time amount, description, attached Task or element, or save the Timer.

It's a huge improvement, and it will be surely appreciated by advanced users out there.

As you can see, changes are quite big for an initial release. We'd love to know your thoughts about the new Timers, so drop us a line at contact@applicomhq.com if you have some to share.

Thanks for reading!

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!