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Author Topic: NANY 2010 Pre-release: FenixContacts  (Read 26041 times)
fenixproductions
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« on: December 07, 2009, 04:23:50 PM »

NANY 2010 Entry Information

Application Name FenixContacts
Version 0.9pre3
Short Description Customisable contacts book
Supported OSes Windows
Web Page Redmine
Download Link Redmine download
System Requirements
  • .NET framework 2.0
Version History
  • 0.9 - first "big & public" release
Author fenixproductions
Credits superboyac
Screencasthttp://www.donationcoder....ntacts/fenixcontacts.html
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQUbTRfA0cs

Description
FenixContacts is customizable contacts book with extended set of useful features Wink

 The main idea is to have free and good contacts book application which will be focused on Contacts only. It means: no full PIM application with rarely used crap like emailing or scheduling (leave them to real professionals like: TheBat!, Thunderbird and so on).

The main reason of FenixContacts existence is the lack of some specific feature in other applications: customisable details fields.

As I consider this as the most important thing to have (some users do not want to have their books showing dozen of empty fields they never use), FenixContacts provides that.

Features

  • fields of different types - set any field type you want (i.e. string, integer, fie link),
  • LiveFilter - filter your Contacts view as you type,
  • linked fields - define one field as reference to another,
  • Preview panel with CSS styling,

Planned Features
There are too many to write them all and I'd rather like not to tease too much, so I will only give a few:
  • improved LiveFilter - with extended (for wildcards) and advanced (RegExp, arithmetic filter) modes
  • tree structure for fields - fields groups for better view modes,
  • plugins system - must have for extensibility
    • database - XML or SQ-Lite handling,
    • import - vCards, most popular email clients databases, maybe even importing from IM protocols (I've played few times in the past with ICQ and Jabber handling using C#)
    • export - similar to the above,
    • list views - there is nothing against giving the possibility to use different listbox controls,
  • other - I am opened for suggestions,

Screencast
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQUbTRfA0cs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQUbTRfA0cs</a>

Screenshots

Contacts list with preview:



Customizing fields:



Editing Contact details:



Linking fields:





Usage
Installation
Just unpack and run.

Using the Application
After starting an application, please, open included test.fci file and play a little bit with Configure and Contacts menus smiley

Please remember that adding Contacts is not possible if there are no fields set!

Uninstallation
Simple delete?

Known Issues
Please be aware that due to time constraints some things may not work perfect (rush is not helpful Wink. In such situation report them on Redmine page (link at the top of the page) and I will try to fix them ASAP.

Please remember to threat this application as introduction to something more powerful I am willing to write. All ideas are welcome and I will consider them for next versions. I also want to start working on v.2 pretty soon with more and more features. before that: I need to rewrite some of my spaghetti code though.

Thank you for all supporters and Happy New Year 2010!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 08:43:47 PM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 08:00:31 PM »

 Thmbsup Very nice. You may want to consider the data mapping requirements of SyncML so that we can sync our contacts later?
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 01:25:06 PM »

2Perry Mowbray
Sound like a nice thing to be implemented but... I have no idea about it yet.

Although I will add it to my ToDo list.
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 05:33:57 AM »

Yes I'm a long term user of Open Contacts, which I enjoy mostly, but there's something about the interface that doesn't quite work for me  undecided

As far as features go, one area that I find frustrating is how these programmes handle family groups, or couples.

Open Contacts does the relationships for companies/employees, and I've used related contacts, but really the address is shared. When it changes you'd want to change it once not many times (if you know what I mean).

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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 05:51:43 PM »

2Perry Mowbray

I have no intention in writing full Open Contacts replacement. I don't want to get everything so complicated as OC is. For me this is an example of excellent application taken down as much as it possible due to unfriendliness of the user interface. I've always found it too bothersome to use and I tried many times.

I'd like to write something easier to handle by me and other people too. I know that my ideas might overcome my skills but I hope that if I start implementing them with a little steps… I can do it. So I will start with limited functionality and simple interface just to get things done before N.A.N.Y 2010 ends. After that I will focus on extending of what I did.

I had to decide to follow this way because new job takes almost every precious minute from me and I also tent to be workaholic Wink

On the other hand, I will always be few years after OC because I have just started coding my own tool and they've got couple of years of experience. But I know one thing for sure: I will definitely use my application when it comes.

Last thing which still makes me wonder, which is Contacts Express project.

Its author (probable the same guy/people)Someone spent a lot of time to write .NET version of OC (from C++ to C#) to get an application which works and looks the same. In my eyes this is lost effort.

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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 05:42:22 AM »

I'm pretty sure it's the same fellow, but I may be wrong. And I love it, but I hate it too: it's just one of those applications that doesn't click with me, and I've tried for years!

I can't wait to see what you come up with... where are the screen shots??  Wink

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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 02:49:20 PM »

I can't wait to see what you come up with... where are the screen shots??  Wink
No screen shots yet* but do not expect revolution with first release.
*) Or do you want to see empty forms?
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 03:49:15 PM »

do not expect revolution with first release
But, but, but... we do!
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 04:01:34 PM »

I totally missed this thread!  This is one of my most favorite kinds of software.  To this day, I have not found an addressbook software that I love.  In fact, when I first joined DC, I made a big thread about it:
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1898.0

I'll repost the suggestions I had for it, in case you are interested:
Quote
--Be able to insert email addresses (or other info...telephone #, street address, etc.) wherever the cursor is in whatever program.  This is similar to one of those clipboard managers that can insert text to wherever the cursor, except in this case, it only applies to addresses.  But the program should be called up and used in a similar manner

--The address details for each entry should be fully customizable as far as what fields go in.  (first name, last name, street address, etc., as well as the ability for custom fields of course).

--Should be allowed to attach pictures to entries.

--There should be a live search-as-you-type filter to quickly select the address you want.  And you should be able to search ALL fields, not just the name or something.  This is almost identical to the program PowerMarks, which is a bookmark manager that does exactly what I'm saying here.  In fact, it's so similar that I asked the author of that program to consider making this software, but I don't think he was interested.

--The program should be very lightweight, fast, and SIMPLE!  I can't stress that enough.  Nothing bulky.

--There should be a fairly complex way to share fields of information between different entries.  For example, let's say you have an entry for a husband and a wife.  They have different first names, but same last names, same address, different email addresses, different cell phone numbers.  So there should be some way to link the common information together and keep the other information separate.  And by "link" I really mean link, not just copy the same field.

I also did big mini-review of several of the programs, you can find that here:
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=2292.0

Thanks for doing this, fenix!  It's no small job.
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 04:18:17 PM »

I can't wait to see what you come up with... where are the screen shots??  Wink
No screen shots yet* but do not expect revolution with first release.

But, but, but... we do!

I agree with Chris  cheesy

*) Or do you want to see empty forms?

Well, that would fit in with some of the other dreadful teases that have been posted  Grin  But seriously, I think that would be great fun and well within the fun loving spirit of NANY!  Thmbsup

I think there is such a need for this type of software that you'll get a lot of support here. I think everyone who has ever tinkered with code will have started an Address Book programme, simply because what's available doesn't meet their needs. So I think what that is saying is that it needs to be flexible and extensible.

There is 2.5 weeks to go, after all!  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2009, 04:08:40 PM »

2superboyac
Thank you for your offer and I am sorry because there is currently no need for any assistance yet. I will definitely sk for help when Help file will be needed or some graphics.

If you can do icons it would be nice to have the following ones (instead of taking overused famfamfam icons) for field types:
text string, number (integer), number (float), file link (for filex executing or URLs), date/time and image. In the future "field / fields group link" may be used too.

I may have other requests as soon as I start playing with GUI instead of backend.

Quote from: superboyac
--Be able to insert email addresses (or other info...telephone #, street address, etc.) wherever the cursor is in whatever program.  This is similar to one of those clipboard managers that can insert text to wherever the cursor, except in this case, it only applies to addresses.  But the program should be called up and used in a similar manner

That one may be tricky but added to ToDo list of course.

Quote from: superboyac
--The address details for each entry should be fully customizable as far as what fields go in.  (first name, last name, street address, etc., as well as the ability for custom fields of course).

I think that per contact fields would confuse too much. There will be some customization for fields types but each contact will have the same fields available. Although I am planning to give an option to hide empty fields in view mode. In edit - all will be shown.

Quote from: superboyac
--Should be allowed to attach pictures to entries.

That's what image field type will be for.

Quote from: superboyac
--There should be a live search-as-you-type filter to quickly select the address you want.  And you should be able to search ALL fields, not just the name or something.  This is almost identical to the program PowerMarks, which is a bookmark manager that does exactly what I'm saying here.  In fact, it's so similar that I asked the author of that program to consider making this software, but I don't think he was interested.

That was one of the very first requirements which crossed my mind.

Quote from: superboyac
--The program should be very lightweight, fast, and SIMPLE!  I can't stress that enough.  Nothing bulky.

It is always hard to have something highly customizable and simple at the same time Wink I am not sure about "lightweight" requirement because I am using .NET after all.

Quote from: superboyac
--There should be a fairly complex way to share fields of information between different entries.  For example, let's say you have an entry for a husband and a wife.  They have different first names, but same last names, same address, different email addresses, different cell phone numbers.  So there should be some way to link the common information together and keep the other information separate.  And by "link" I really mean link, not just copy the same field.

Perry already mentioned linking. The way I see it working is to have the possibility to link fields / fields groups to other entries. Changing original entry will change the rest of contacts which rely on some properties of that one. Other idea was too have "static contacts/fields" which would not be normally visible on contacts list but could be referenced to.

Quote from: superboyac
I also did big mini-review of several of the programs, you can find that here:
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=2292.0

I'll take a look for ideas for sure.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 04:23:57 PM by fenixproductions » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2009, 04:36:00 PM »

Well, that would fit in with some of the other dreadful teases that have been posted  Grin  But seriously, I think that would be great fun and well within the fun loving spirit of NANY!  Thmbsup
OK then.

Current version looks like this (I am still working on fields form):



But I started with this (and hope it will be future look) before realizing that I will not make in time if I go such way since the beginning:

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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2009, 05:02:14 PM »

 Thmbsup
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2009, 05:52:32 PM »

fenix, thanks for replying to my comments.  I agree with whatever direction you take.  It's really an ambitious project, so I'm just grateful you are taking it up.  I can definitely help with icons and stuff.  When you are ready, just let me know your requirements.
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2009, 10:26:21 PM »

As superboyac says, this is not a trivial task, so thanks for even looking at it!

I thought I'd add my comments...

Quote from: superboyac
--Be able to insert email addresses (or other info...telephone #, street address, etc.) wherever the cursor is in whatever program.  This is similar to one of those clipboard managers that can insert text to wherever the cursor, except in this case, it only applies to addresses.  But the program should be called up and used in a similar manner

That one may be tricky but added to ToDo list of course.

I'd go for Drag & Drop as an easy way of filling a form from data on some other form

Quote from: superboyac
--The address details for each entry should be fully customizable as far as what fields go in.  (first name, last name, street address, etc., as well as the ability for custom fields of course).

I think that per contact fields would confuse too much. There will be some customization for fields types but each contact will have the same fields available. Although I am planning to give an option to hide empty fields in view mode. In edit - all will be shown.

That's actually something that bugs me with OC: you have to add individual fields each time. They attempt to get around it by having contacts start with certain fields and you can add fields in groups.

I think groups are a good idea.

Quote from: superboyac
--There should be a live search-as-you-type filter to quickly select the address you want.  And you should be able to search ALL fields, not just the name or something.  This is almost identical to the program PowerMarks, which is a bookmark manager that does exactly what I'm saying here.  In fact, it's so similar that I asked the author of that program to consider making this software, but I don't think he was interested.

That was one of the very first requirements which crossed my mind.

Not sure how you're thinking of implementing, but inline search qualifiers are really powerful: like how Google does search, intitle, etc.

Quote from: superboyac
--There should be a fairly complex way to share fields of information between different entries.  For example, let's say you have an entry for a husband and a wife.  They have different first names, but same last names, same address, different email addresses, different cell phone numbers.  So there should be some way to link the common information together and keep the other information separate.  And by "link" I really mean link, not just copy the same field.

Perry already mentioned linking. The way I see it working is to have the possibility to link fields / fields groups to other entries. Changing original entry will change the rest of contacts which rely on some properties of that one. Other idea was too have "static contacts/fields" which would not be normally visible on contacts list but could be referenced to.

To be honest, I mentioned relationships  Wink  I'd like to be able to see all the contacts who live at an address type thing.

But I like the linking idea.

Can I also mention tagging? or categories for contacts.

Thanks
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2009, 04:04:42 PM »

2Perry Mowbray
Tagging? Categories? What for?

The way I see my idea of LiveFilter working is:
  • contacts list contains two line items:
    • static field with values set in Options (like nicknames)
    • dynamic fields - dependable on fields selected in dropdown list (already shown on screenshot, below filter TextBox)
  • when you select field to have list filtered by, it will get refreshed and you can see needed values only,

So how would your idea differ from defining "Tags" field as string, choosing it in list's filter dropdown and typing wanted phrase in TextBox?
How would it differ from extended mode where an option to "treat spaces as separators" exists?

It is still just an idea but this is how I want it to be in the future.
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2009, 05:26:57 PM »

Tagging? Categories? What for?

  • Christmas card list
  • Friends
  • Work related

So how would your idea differ from defining "Tags" field as string, choosing it in list's filter dropdown and typing wanted phrase in TextBox?
How would it differ from extended mode where an option to "treat spaces as separators" exists?

It is still just an idea but this is how I want it to be in the future.

Maybe not at all  cheesy 

But the idea of a Tag or a Category is a little specific, like multiple tags per record. Like being able to add to existing tags from a dynamic dropdown. Then when filtering having the ability to include any or all matches, etc.

Tag clouds are not just eye candy but can be an efficient way to view and work with your data.
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« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2009, 05:10:08 PM »

Small update smiley

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« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2009, 09:50:35 AM »

Another small change…

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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2009, 10:36:47 PM »

I am really looking forward to this. Contacts software is one of the most needed types of software and at the same time one of the most difficult to find. Most folks seem to rely on either Outlook or Gmail contacts - neither of which I like at all. I have been using the 37 Signals web app Highrise (free plan). It is easy enough to use but I am limited to 250 contacts for free. However if you ever need to print out a list, forget it. No decent print facility and exporting to a csv file gets you a phenomenal amount of garbage.

About the only request I can think of is to please make this portable; something we can easily access from a USB drive so it can be available with us wherever we go.

Thanks!

Jim
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« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2009, 01:07:08 AM »

Top of my list would be a decent print facility as J-Mac mentioned, with a simple list of Names and Tel. Nos. Thmbsup
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« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2009, 03:30:30 AM »

Dear fp

All power and my support to you for this project !
Pls look at www.customadressbook.com  - I use it presently but its buggy.  

Reliable import and export is critical & my next feature is sync with mobile phones like Nokia/ Blackberry etc.  Avoid SQLite (too many hard disk writes)
 
SKA
« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 03:33:49 AM by SKA » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2009, 09:10:43 AM »


http://www.customaddressbook.com/

Just a typo.  Should have 2 d's
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« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2009, 02:50:08 PM »

2J-Mac
Online services support and printing is something I could get with plugins when their time will come.

As for portability: all of the tools I ever wrote were portable. Opposite way (full Windows accounts support with installer) would be more bothersome for me. Perhaps I will add this too, some day.

2SKA
I had my time to get to know about this tool. Full version was close to my needs but I really wanted to have something free and extended impor/export functionality (which I hope to provide with plugins).

BTW The end of the year is pretty close and there is still a lot of work to do with basic version. Although I am trying to throw away other things to do and keep my mind focused on this application.

I have Redmine page now, so I would really appreciate to have ideas written down on project page too. It would be better for me to manage them using this page:
http://redmine.dcmembers....om/projects/fenixcontacts
« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 03:39:18 PM by fenixproductions » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2009, 07:24:03 PM »

I have Redmine page now, so I would really appreciate to have ideas written down on project page too. It would be better for me to manage them using this page:
http://redmine.dcmembers....om/projects/fenixcontacts


I encourage all users interested in this project to hop over to the DonationCoder RedMine site and add your feature suggestions there.

You'll need to create an account if you want to add Issues / Features; and when we finally get to play with this (eagerly awaited) application the bug tracker may also be a handy tool.

RedMine has some great features: I note that fp has also started on his wiki, and it's where the files will be hosted.  Thmbsup
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