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The N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2011! Download 30+ custom programs!
   
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Author Topic: NANY 2011 Teaser Update: ContactFX 0.0.2.0  (Read 19765 times)
Perry Mowbray
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« on: May 13, 2010, 12:15:22 AM »

NANY 2011 Entry Information

Application Name ContactFX
Version 0.0.2.0
Short Description A versatile Addressbook and Contacts editor with FARR integration.
Supported OSes Windows with .Net installed
Web Page blog posts
Download Link * ContactFX 0.0.2.0.zip Main panel complete!!.
Additional Files:
* JimsDisplayName.zip: DisplayName demonstrating dynamic field linking.
* TimsNickName.zip: Demonstrating user Fields.
System Requirements
  • .Net
  • Should be portable
Version History
  • 2010-10-13 * ContactFX 0.0.2.0.zip (230.54 KB - downloaded 490 times.)
  • 2010-10-08 0.0.1.17
  • 2010-09-30 0.0.1.13: Snippet for Comment
  • 2010-09-17 0.0.1.9: Snippet for Comment
  • 2010-08-17 0.0.1.3: Snippet for Comment
Author Perry Mowbray


Description
ContactFX (Cfx) will be an Addressbook programme with the following functionality (in impressive graphic format  Wink):



Features

Here's where I'm planning to go with Cfx:
  • Flexible editing and viewing options.
    • Flexible card layout for each contact
    • Contacts can have a little or a lot of data: only see the fields with data.
  • Flexible import and export: very easy to get contacts both in and out of Contactfx in various formats.
  • Off-line access: not dependant on a website or web application.
  • Non-Cfx dependant search [e.g. via FARR]: FARR integration (FARRCfx) will give Contactfx very flexible system integration on the desktop.
  • Non-Contactfx dependant access [e.g. via HTML on USB]: can take address book anywhere and access just via a browser.

Possible Features
  • User defined fields and controls
  • Contact templates
  • FTP to private webspace
  • Automated purchase and sending of birthday presents   Wink

Screenshots



FARRCfx
Some preliminary screenshots:

FARRCfx Menu


Display Contact


Usage
Installation
Should be portable, so just unzip somewhere and run  smiley

Using the Application
When the application runs it sits itself down in the System Tray, to open the Addressbook window use the context menu or double-click on the icon.

At the moment all you can do is:
  • Addressbook
    • Create a new contact
      • Add fields to the Contact by dragging from the Control Pallet
      • Edit the fields
        • Add values
        • Use functions currently:
          • Initialise
          • UCase
          • Join
          • Ternary
          • Conditional Pad
          • see this post for more details on functions
        • Link Fields: Field links and functions give a powerful ability to automate contact records. To see this in action unzip * JimsDisplayName.zip (0.28 KB - downloaded 440 times.) into the userFields subFolder; this file will modify the default displayName field so that it dynamically aggregates the other name fields. See this post.
        • User Fields: these are not fully implemented, but if you'd like a preview / play unzip * TimsNickName.zip (0.29 KB - downloaded 429 times.) into the userFields subFolder to create a new Nickname field. You can also make copies to create other new fields: make sure you give each a unique name otherwise you'll just be modifying an existing field.
        • Edit labels (via context menu)
        • Set width
        • Set layout (fill width | add linebreak )
        • save it back to the addressbook
    • Open thus created contacts to view or edit
  • Settings
    • Change the few settings that are currently available (more will come)
  • About
    • Show the About window
    • Follow some of the links  Wink

    ContactFX is designed to be flexible by the user, with as few "rules" about how to set out any Contact. So although I've designated some suitable uses for the various parts of the Contact window, they wont be enforced in any way: each Contact's layout could be unique if that's what you wanted. Hopefully it'll become clearer when I've got a bit more functionality implemented, but I hope you get the idea.



    But the basic idea is that there will be the following types of containers:
    • Main Panel
      • Any field can be inserted into any panel, and a contact could just consist of one field in the main panel
      • The main panel can be thought of comprising uncategorised fields (ie general information)
    • Lists Panel
      • A number of list panels can be added
      • Useful for displaying lists of fields:
        • Links
        • Social Network sites
        • Related Contacts
    • Tab Panel
      • A number of Tab Pages can be added to the Tab Panel
      • Tab Pages add a category to the fields contained on the page
      • For example:
        • Home
        • Work
      • But could also be any other non-standard category
    • Notes Panel
      • A number of notes panels can be added
      • Although any field can be added to a notes panel, the default layout will be full width.
      • A notes field can be used to display plain text. The notes field will have extra functionality, including:
        • Roll-up to Title
        • Link to file

    A mockup can be found on Cacoo.


    Roadmap
    This is the tentative roadmap that I'm working toward on my slow march to a 0.1 beta version  Wink
    • Version 0.0.2: Basic Window Framework - Main Panel
      • Name Fields (display name, first name, additional name, family name, formatted name)
      • Drag and Drop (Move / Copy / Link )
      • Copy & Paste
      • Portable Configuration
      • Command-line (-tray hides to tray on startup)
      • Language Files (see \Settings\Language\English.xml)
    • Version 0.0.3: Lists Panel
      • List panels
      • WebLink fields
    • Version 0.0.4: Tab Panel
      • Tab Pages
      • Address Fields (POB, Extended, Street, Locality, Region)
      • Categorization / Type Fields & Settings
    • Version 0.0.5: Notes Panel
      • Note Lists
      • Note Fields (Internal / External)
      • Tag Fields
    • Version 0.0.6: Integration Functionality
      • Command-line Options
      • FarrCfx
      • Addressbook Search / Filter
    • Version 0.0.7: Data Fields
      • Add remaining Data Fields
      • User Fields
      • User Field Editor
    • Version 0.0.8: File Functionality
      • Save / Import / Export
      • Upload to FTP
      • Backup

    Uninstallation
    Should be able to just delete the files (although there will be some settings in the users directory).

    Known Issues
    Please remember that this application is still very much in development and most things don't work at the moment embarassed


    ...you can also check for random postings on my blog as well.
    « Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 08:45:45 PM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

    JavaJones
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    « Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 12:52:34 AM »

    Ooo, our first pledge! Sounds intriguing. cheesy

    - Oshyan
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    « Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 02:03:29 AM »

    Sounds intriguing Perry! Grin
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    Perry Mowbray
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    « Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 05:22:03 AM »

    Yes, we'll see. At the moment there are more questions than answers  smiley
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    cranioscopical
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    « Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 06:43:22 AM »

    At the moment there are more questions than answers
    Not another quiz game!

    Looking forward to learning more about your intriguing CFX.
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    « Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 10:28:49 AM »

    I just added a few more details of what I'm hoping to achieve with this project.

    I might be able to add a quiz, but it's not top of my list  Wink
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    « Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 04:03:39 PM »

    Wow!
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    « Reply #7 on: June 05, 2010, 01:54:29 AM »

    Hey Perry - you're 'Test Bunny' is waiting.....

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    « Reply #8 on: July 03, 2010, 01:33:46 AM »

    After a very long (and for the most part fruitless) search for a personal address book, I am locking my eyes onto this project!! I am available for testing also. Whenever you're ready Perry.   smiley thumbs up

    Thanks!

    Jim
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    Perry Mowbray
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    « Reply #9 on: July 04, 2010, 05:39:43 PM »

    Thanks Jim: my same fruitless search was my impetus to do this as well...

    undecided I do have a sneaking suspicion though that if we looked at our paper address books that they'd all be so personal and different that that is the problem that previous attempts have run into (which I will too I s'pose). My only hope is that my goal of creating something versatile is reached and that the versatility is what makes it "personal" by name and feel.

    Anyway, I've got another day to play today...
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    « Reply #10 on: July 05, 2010, 01:46:50 AM »

    I love the graphics Perry!  Thmbsup
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    « Reply #11 on: July 28, 2010, 06:10:06 AM »

    I've had a bit of a break from the main ContactFX application to get my head around Vitaly's FARR C# Plugin SDK, which has meant navigating around a new language: It's been fun (once the penny dropped with the SDK).

    FARR will be providing Desktop integration including searching contacts, adding contacts and other actions with the contact data (emails, maps, urls, etc). So I wanted to at least get a bare bone working, just to relieve the nerves  Wink

    I've added a couple of screenshots to the OP to give an idea of how things are progressing and where it's going:
    FARRCfx will display ContactFX data in the FARR HTML window. Each card will be displayed using HTML in a format similar to how they are designed in the main application: i.e. each card can be unique with it's own layout, sorting order, TABS, sections and colours, etc.

    The HTML will have the usual functionality that will include: mailto links; hyper-links to webpages, maps, etc; micro-format integration including hCard, XFN, hCalendar, etc.

    This will essentially be the same format that will be used for HTML Export (for storing on a USB for example).

    Next step is to get ContactFX to actually generate the data file (instead of hand coding it)  embarassed
    « Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 06:12:38 AM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

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    « Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 12:10:25 PM »

    Very nice!   Thmbsup
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    « Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 01:58:12 PM »

    Hi Perry.

    So will FARR be the actual interface for ContactFX? Not sure how that will go. I use FARR for launching programs but nothing else. I've never understood it well enough to do anything else with it.

    Thanks!

    Jim
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    « Reply #14 on: July 28, 2010, 06:25:43 PM »

    So will FARR be the actual interface for ContactFX? Not sure how that will go. I use FARR for launching programs but nothing else. I've never understood it well enough to do anything else with it.

    No, just one interface into the data. I'm hoping/planning that there will be lots (as that's what's bugged me about other apps)...

    If you look at the graphic in the OP...

    ...it's meant to show that, to access/search contacts:
    • ContactFX can be used. I'm planning:
      • Search in ContactFX
      • Search via CommandLine parameter (I'm thinking useful in scripts, etc)
    • FARR can be used, but doesn't need to.
    • Static HTML can be used (once exported).
    • Other "Launchers"/scripts can be used with Command Line

    The FARR integration at this stage will include:
    • Search / Display contacts
    • Search & Open contacts (in ContactFX)
    • Add contacts
    • Run ContactFX
    • Other things suggested??

    My idea was that ContactFX didn't need to be running all the time, but that's not to say that it can't; I just wanted to provide functionality that it didn't need to be running to get at the data in a reasonable way.

    I'm open to suggestions  smiley
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    « Reply #15 on: August 17, 2010, 09:17:11 AM »

    I've just added what I've called a Snippet for Comment release. I did want to do this a week or so ago, but I had a major change of mind about the contact window and it's changed from a window with fixed sections (in number and position) to the current idea where as many panels as required can be added by the user (not that that part is functional in this version). But the basic idea is that there will be the following types of containers:
    • Main Panel
      • Any field can be inserted into any panel, and a contact could just consist of one field in the main panel
      • The main panel can be thought of comprising uncategorised fields (ie general information)
    • Lists Panel
      • A number of list panels can be added
      • Useful for displaying lists of fields:
        • Links
        • Social Network sites
        • Related Contacts
    • Tab Panel
      • A number of Tab Pages can be added to the Tab Panel
      • Tab Pages add a category to the fields contained on the page
      • For example:
        • Home
        • Work
      • But could also be any other non-standard category
    • Notes Panel
      • A number of notes panels can be added
      • Although any field can be added to a notes panel, the default layout will be full width.
      • A notes field can be used to display plain text. The notes field will have extra functionality, including:
        • Roll-up to Title
        • Link to file

    The current version demonstrates the basic functionality of creating a contact and adding / editing fields. Eventually there will be templates to make that process quicker... but I hope that this gives an idea of how the fields are editable. There are still a few bits missing yet (hidden labels don't stay hidden when re-opened for example).

    Had a great day yesterday working on it and the ideas have developed a little more in my mind... Actually I'll be completely changing the internals so that the user can create their own fields and groups of fields.

    Anyway: I'd appreciate some comment / feedback on how the project is progressing and how close it is to meeting your requirements  undecided
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    « Reply #16 on: August 17, 2010, 12:44:00 PM »

    Hi Perry!

    I just downloaded the latest build; I'll give it the once-over and post back with any comments.

    BTW, I was looking at your blog - is FarrCfx the same as ContactsFX? Or is it simply another UI for ContactsFX? (I am so easily confused!! 

    Thanks!

    Jim
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    « Reply #17 on: August 17, 2010, 06:03:58 PM »

    Looking forward to the comments  Thmbsup It doesn't do a lot, but I'm hoping it will give an idea of where it's heading.

    FarrCfx will be the FARR plugin that will read and work with ContactFX data. So not the same and not really another UI... more a different way to access the data using FARR's great desktop support  smiley
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    « Reply #18 on: August 18, 2010, 02:07:52 AM »

    Looking good so far..... cheesy
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    « Reply #19 on: September 17, 2010, 05:09:56 AM »

    OK... I've just uploaded the next snippet: this one is getting very close to getting the contact window main panel finished (aiming at 0.0.2).

    This is Version 0.0.1.9, and these are the changes:

    Version 0.0.1.9
    My general approach will be to map out the boundaries and fill in the detail as we go, that's why the main panel that will be done in 0.0.2 will only have the name fields to work with... So you can expect things to work but not really be able to do a lot.

    What's done so far? I'd be very happy to get some of your thoughts to my questions formatted like this... and any issues that you find.
    • Language Files
      • Located in \Settings\Language\
      • Named *.language.xml
      • Are structured xml files. I'm hoping that they are pretty self-explanatory: the tag name identifies the use of the string.
      • More can be added... I guess the best way to start is to copy the English one and change as desired?
      • I'd be interested to know how people find editing these? I thought it was easier than an ID based approach?
    • Command-line options
      • -t or --tray to hide in system tray on startup
      • -c or --config "filename" to load a specifc configuration file
      • -s or --show to show the Addressbook
      • What you can try:
        • Start ContactFX using Start ContactFX hidden shortcut
        • Change some of the settings...
        • Run the Load Test shortcut (which will load a different config)
    • Copy
      • Field text (plain) is copied to the ClipBoard
      • A linefeed is added if the field is use Full Width, or use Remaining Width or has a line break
    • Drag and Drop
      • Fields can be selected or multiSelected and Dragged
      • Fields can be dropped (Move or Copy) on the same window (rearranged)
      • Fields can be dropped (Move or Copy) to a different contact
      • Fields can be dropped on external applications that accept plain text / unicode text / etc
        • I did have an issue at work where I couldn't drop on my text editor when I could at home (on various computers)? I'd appreciate hearing other peoples experiences...
    • Single Text Box (Name Fields)
      • ToDo: Drop Text onto Text Box
      • Context Menu:
        • Lock (locks position)
        • Add / Remove Line Break
        • Label -- Edit Text
        • Label -- Show / Hide Label
        • Width -- Set Width (manual)
        • Width -- Use Remaining Width (needs a little bit of work when rearranging fields...)
        • Width -- Use Full Width
    • Portable Options
      • Options are Loaded and Saved from \Settings\
      • Settings window is not very far down the path:
        • Changes in language file are not loaded till programme restart
        • Changes to contact display options are not changed until contact is reopened
        • Export is hard coded at this stage

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    « Reply #20 on: September 30, 2010, 09:25:43 AM »

    Uploaded version 0.0.1.13 for comment.

    This version is very close to completing 0.0.2 with all the basic functionality of the Main Panel done.

    This version demonstrates the linking abilities. I've written a blog post: ContactFX :: Field Linking, but briefly...

    Each field in ContactFX can, rather than hold static data, show data in another field which can be in the same contact, a different contact and, eventually, even a different addressbook file.

    The source string can be added to the field by using the Link Effect when dragging and dropping:


    or by typing directly into the text box:


    Currently implemented fields:
    • uid
    • displayname
    • name.given
    • name.additional
    • name.family
    • formattedname

    There's also the ability to use functions in the source string:


    Current Functions (case tolerant), though they'll be changing...
    • initialise
    • capitalise

    Would be very happy to get some comments and bug testing...
    « Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 09:32:48 AM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

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    « Reply #21 on: October 03, 2010, 05:59:25 PM »

    I'd like to throw in a feature request: can we have it hook into skype to dial out automatically?  Thmbsup

    That would make me switch to this thing in a trice. I don't want to encourage bloating but that's really the one reason why I use pagico to keep my address book at the moment.
    « Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 06:02:45 PM by timns » Logged

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    « Reply #22 on: October 03, 2010, 07:06:20 PM »

    I'd like to throw in a feature request: can we have it hook into skype to dial out automatically?  Thmbsup

    That would make me switch to this thing in a trice. I don't want to encourage bloating but that's really the one reason why I use pagico to keep my address book at the moment.

    On my list... without the bloat I hope (flexible and versatile is what I'm wanting)  smiley
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    « Reply #23 on: October 07, 2010, 08:55:54 AM »

    Uploaded 0.0.1.17. This version adds:
    • Paste (for previously copied ContactFX fields)
    • Refresh linked fields implemented
    • Fixes the previous bugs
    • Notes buttons implemented

    I'm pretty happy with the Linking functionality now: seems to work ok in my testing.

    Fields can be set up to have a default value: check the Formatted Name field:
    1. Add a Given Name and a Family Name
    2. Enter some text into both fields
    3. Add a Formatted Name field. It should be filled with given name & " " & family name (or in ContactFX terms: name.given & " " & name.family)

    Soon the ability to set your defaults will also be possible: so if you'll be able to set the default to anything you like...

    I'm not completely happy with the FlowLayoutPanel: For example, when you set a field to use remaining width it's position can be a little unpredictable during window resizing. I'd like to add some extra polish to the resizing routines before I move on to the next panel.

    Comments? I was thinking that once the Contact window had been set up for a contact that there would not need to be a lot of editing, so maybe the unpredictable positioning is not an issue??
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    « Reply #24 on: October 07, 2010, 10:29:43 AM »

    Downloaded and running smoothly! What level of feedback would you like from this build?

    i.e. only bugs for now? or also small stuff? or right down to typos?
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