I’m pleased to announce the new agileBase version 3.0, comprising a major set of updates. This is an exciting release, taking as inspiration
- innovative ideas and requests by clients
- recent work by companies such as Apple and Google
- input from user experience experts
and the journey of development has taken us much further than originally planned.
In brief, the major benefits are
Faster, more intuitive data input and retrieval
Many users of agileBase spend most of their time searching for and entering data. For these users, some of the advanced features, such as the ability to do data analysis with charts and complex filtering, global editing of many records at the same time, or exporting and importing are just clutter.
A completely fresh interface has been designed specifically for these users. It removes the clutter and makes the major functions more accessible. The layout is similar to Apple’s much touted new two-pane email interface (not yet released to the public).
Not only is data retrieval quicker, with one simple search box to find any record in a report as you type, but once you’ve found what you’re looking for, working with the data is much improved.
Want to get a complete overview of a client before giving them a ring? Simply load it up and have all the related data at your fingertips, whether this be recent sales calls, projects, photos, support enquiries or whatever is particular to your company. A ‘card’ will show all the major details and you can ‘drill down’ simply by swiping right. Everything you’ve looked at is cached locally, so if you follow across from a client, to a sales enquiry, to a quote, you can get back to the start instantly at any time, just by clicking on a breadcrumb trail at the top of the screen.
Entering a new sales lead and realise that the organisation it relates to isn’t yet in the database? Not to worry, just add a new one from the same screen. You’ll be prompted for the most basic details, i.e. company name, then when you’ve finished entering the enquiry details, just click on this name to enter any further details such as address, website and perhaps contacts.
Wherever you are, you can view and navigate to related data, be that going up a hierarchy, down or across.
The advanced interface is still available for those users who have more analytical or administrative tasks to perform. Users can switch between them at any time and setting a preference will determine which one appears on login.
Custom printout/email designs
Create templates in a wordprocessor, or your favourite HTML editor, and upload them into agileBase for use in ‘mail-merge’ style printouts. To include any field, just include the name in lowercase preceded by a dollar sign. Full documentation will be forthcoming.
Integrations with third party websites and applications
For the technically inclined, agileBase now has JSON, RSS, REST and iCal APIs, to integrate with your own web applications or websites.
Want to have your web forms go directly into your database? Just give your web designer a link to include in the site which will generate the necessary form. What’s more, any fields you add or remove to the table in future will be instantly reflected on the site.
Have a set of documents you want to make publicly available? Just give a JSON link to your web firm and they can feed them into a website.
Want to keep up to date with any new information entered into your particular areas of the database? Set up your phone or favourite device with an RSS reader to report on them.
Writing a data-based web application? Use agileBase as the data store and take advantage of all it’s powerful features. One client has already made a head start doing so.
A whole set of nice enhancements
- Twitter integration (with LinkedIn integration possible in future)
- Automatically go to the most used report (or a predefined report) when a user logs in
- Many more nice tweaks that just make the user experience more enjoyable
So what’s next?
Of course, development doesn’t stop there. Over the past year we’ve introduced many other new features, such as a drag and drop calendar interface, word clouds, photo display in reports and an iPad interface. We’ve just as many planned for the future, including
- a global ‘google-like’ search for searching the entire database, including all reports and documents
- an innovative ‘timeline’ view to enable users to see cause and effect connections between different datasets, e.g. activities and metrics like website hits and sales leads
- integration with accounting packages
- geographical mapping of data
- offline access