Archive for the ‘new feature’ Category

Ofuz 0.6.2 is out … the Twitter release

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Good news today: We are releasing a new version of Ofuz.

Online and for download on your own server.

The Twitter Release

There aren’t many new features this time because we are working hard towards the Version 1.0 release: full, stable, and getting out of beta. So hundreds and hundreds of hours have been spent in fixing bugs and improving features that weren’t fully working. The next major release will probably follow this trend as well.

One of the things we are doing to reach the goal of a very stable system is to move all the experimental and not yet ready for production features to plug-ins.

So for releases 0.6.3 to 0.7 we will have fewer features but more plugins.

A big improvement on the Open Source / community release is that we actually tested the Open Source download version; it is much more stable than the previous one.

New features includes:

Source code highlight

It’s a cool feature for developers when sharing source code snippets in notes & project discussions.

To use it, add <sourcecode> </sourcecode> around your source code.

If you have a specific language, add it in the tag like:  <sourcecode php>, <sourcecode javascript> or <sourcecode css>

Twitter full rewrite
Our initial implementation of the Tweet import was using the Twitter public RSS feeds. The issue was that they were down most of the time, creating tons of unexpected problems.
So we went for a full rewrite with the Twitter API.
The main features are:
- Broadcast private messages to your followers.
- Follow the tweets of your friends or followers.
- log in with Twitter.

Ofuz is not a replacement for Twitter UI or some of the great Twitter application out there. But it make sense to be able to follow and record the tweets of some of your professional contacts. Specifically, the ones you need to follow when you are working.

Broadcasting private messages is an experiment. It comes from our concept that a Customer Relation app should be able to use all channels of communication, not only email.
So when you decide to send a mailing, if your contact doesn’t have an email address and is following you on Twitter, the message will be sent to his/her Twitter private message inbox.

Twitter login will let connect your Ofuz account with your Twitter account, so you can then forget your Ofuz password and always log in with your Twitter credentials.

This release includes a lot of bug fixes and adjustments like usual, including:
- bug fixed on the VCF import
- bug fixed when updating the Settings information page
- bug fixed in the Google login
- New process and start page for new users
- Improved the co-worker invitation process; it’s simpler and smoother
- utf8 bug fixed in tasks & tags
- bug fix when adding multiple phone numbers or email addresses to contacts

You can follow our development and progress on the version 0.7 at:
http://www.ofuz.net/PublicProject/361

Ofuz 0.6 available online and for download

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

It’s been two years since we started the first mock-ups and prototypes for Ofuz. We have now implemented all of the base features that we wanted. Each of our 3 components has the most important and used features that a business needs to operate.

We understand that no one business is the same and for that we created a REST API and a Plug-In API so, just like WordPress, you will be able to customize your Ofuz experience with Plug-Ins that match your business model and processes.

From now on we will improve usability and stability in the core features of Ofuz, and all additional features will come from plug-ins.

Today I feel like Ofuz is on track to fulfill the promise of improving freelancers’ and small businesses’ productivity.

If you are curious and a bit technical, all our development is public. You can see the details of all the tasks we completed at: http://ofuz.net/PublicProject/166 and the current tasks we are working on are at: http://www.ofuz.net/PublicProject/361

Version 0.6 is our biggest release ever, because we are reaching our goals on stability and with the core features we wanted.

The hard part is that most of you will not see the changes. They are structural changes like the multi-language support and the Plug-In APIs for the open source release.

What you can see is the documentation we have written last month for the PHP developers.
You will also enjoy some of the performance improvement we did as well as a nice new feature: the task multi-select. Like, for the contact you can select one or more contacts or tasks and apply an action to them. Like, select 5 differents tasks in a project and close them all as done, or select 3 contacts and send them a message.

Some of the important tasks in this release:

General

Invoices

  • Taxes on total invoices
  • Taxes per items
  • Apply one payments on multiple invoices
  • Invoice REST API
  • All-year list of invoices
  • Client access to invoices due
  • Multiple Monetary format
  • Auto-create contacts

Project

  • Project multi-select

Contact

  • Improved contact multi-select
  • Tag added to the shared contact
  • Email Auto Responders

Developers and other tech savvy users can download Ofuz. If you want to get started right away use Ofuz online.

New Feature: Convert Contacts to Customers With Auto Responders

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Ofuz 0.5.8 has quite a few new features, and over 90 across the board improvements. In this blog post, I want to tell you about the new Auto Responder feature in Ofuz.

An Auto Responder is a mailing list feature that sends timed followup messages to your mailing list. You create a sequence of email templates and tell the Auto Responder how long to wait before sending each one. Then, when new people join your mailing list, the Auto Responder sends out your emails at your chosen intervals using the merge fields from your email templates to personalize each email.

Auto Responders can be a great way to convert contacts into customers. Remember the following important facts:

  • On average, it takes 7 contacts within 18 months to make a sale. Reference
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact, 3% on the second, 5% on the third, 10% on the fourth, and 80% on the fifth to twelfth! Reference

Auto Responder sequences should provide interesting or valuable information to your contacts, and it should remind them about the benefits of becoming a customer.

Here’s how to set up an Auto Responder in Ofuz.

  1. Sign in to your Ofuz account.
  2. Set up any email templates that you plan to use for your Auto Responder.
  3. In the top right of the Ofuz page, click Settings.
  4. On the left navigation bar, click Auto Responder.
  5. Click Create New.
  6. In the Auto Responder Name field, type a name for your new Auto Responder.
  7. In the Tag Name field, choose the tag that you want to associate with this Auto Responder. Contacts tagged with this tag will receive your new Auto Responder sequence.
  8. Click Create.
  9. The new Auto Responder appears in your list of Auto Responders. Click the new Auto Responder’s name.
  10. Click here to the right of You do not have any auto responder Email Templates for Auto Responder1.
  11. Either click Select Email Template and choose an existing email template to add to your Auto Responder, or create a new email template using the form that appears.
  12. Fill in the Name field with a name for this template.
  13. Fill in the Subject field with the subject you want this email to have.
  14. In the Send it in field, type the number of days you want to wait before sending this message.
  15. In the Message editor, create your message.
  16. Click Create.
  17. To create additional emails for this Auto Responder, click Add a new email, and then repeat steps 11 – 16.

That’s all there is to it! Ofuz contacts that are tagged with the tag assigned to your new Auto Responder will automatically receive personalized emails at the intervals you’ve chosen. You can really save yourself some time by combining the Ofuz Web Form feature with the Auto Responder feature.

Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to get a free Ofuz account to take advantage of over 90 enhancements, just released in Ofuz 0.5.8!

Major Invoicing upgrade in the new Ofuz 0.5.8

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

We’re excited to announce a new version of Ofuz that includes almost 100 changes, new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

We listen to our users, and your feedback really drives our development. In this release of Ofuz, about 90% of the changes are directly based on your feedback. Please keep the feedback coming!

Some of the new features include:

  • Taxes on Invoices (global and per line)
  • PDF invoices can be downloaded from Ofuz and sent by email
  • Payments can be applied to multiple invoices
  • Client view includes a list of all the invoices due
  • Auto Responders allow you to create a series of email templates and attach to a tag
  • View all your invoices for the year by default instead of Month by Month
  • Update the invoices status, so you can manually set an invoice as Sent
  • Cancel invoices and delete proposals
  • Copy a note, file or document from a contact to a project
  • Attached Tasks to Contact and Project
  • Notes can now contain some HTML tags
  • View Tasks grouped by projects

Private client link with invoice view and online payment

We are very exited about this new release as we have now reached feature parity most of our competitors in the Online Invoicing space. Remember that Ofuz does invoicing and has powerful contact management, group emailing, and task management features!

We are now getting closer to our next major release, Ofuz 0.6. That release will be available as a web-based application at Ofuz.com and as an Open Source download.

Stay tuned, and if you haven’t already, sign up for a free Ofuz account now.

Time management with Ofuz online time tracking

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Timesheets made their official appearance in Ofuz a few weeks back.

We’ve been playing around with the concept for some time. So today we decided to release the first draft of what will become a powerful time management application.

In this first version we’re covering:

  • Tracking your time on a contact or client.
  • Tracking time on tasks in a project.
  • Viewing your and your co-workers’ daily work logs,  notes, and time recorded.
  • Total time for all client & project tasks, weekly or monthly.

Online time tracking, time management, and timesheets are wide subjects so the goal of this initial version is to offer very simple, non-intrusive features to cover as much usage as possible. They are tons of good reasons to track your time and no reason for not doing it. Time is the most precious resource we have.

Homer Every Day from Noah K. on Vimeo.

Time tends to just pass, so tracking time is a good start. But being able to come back and review what was done during the recorded time is precious.

So we attached a time entry section to notes. You can add a note to a Contact or in a Project discussion, and using that note you can enter an amount of time, in hours, related to the time spent.

The idea is to not only track time but to be able to come back to it and see, “where did my time go?”

I often have that feeling that the day just flies by and at the end I get this frustration of not having done anything.

So I keep a record of all my activity throughout the day. For each client or task I work on, I enter a short description of what I did along with the number of hours I spent doing it.

This creates a kind of work log that’s very useful. If I go in my Dashboard and click “Notes & Discussion” I can view all the daily activity like a chronological journal of the day’s events.

If I share project or contacts with my coworkers, I can also see their activity on those contact and projects.

Ofuz daily discussion and note view

Daily work log of project discussions and contact notes

To get a total of all the time spent by contact, I click on the Timesheet tab where I can filter by Month or Week.

It will display all the time I’ve recorded and all the time recorded by my co-workers on the projects and contacts we share.

Ofuz Timesheet

Monthly Timesheet

Timesheets are used to record time you spend on a contact or on tasks in a project.

To record some time you spent on a contact or  in a project task discussion, start by adding a note and click on the ” More Options” link.

Expend notes options

Expend the Notes options

It will pop up a long list of options associated with your note including the Hours Worked.

Ofuz Record time

Record time in the Hours Worked field

Type the hours with a short summary or note related to those hours entered as a reference.

It works the same way on project discussion notes. For each note you can add time and adjust that time when you edit the discussion.

Fast, fast and faster contact management

Monday, November 16th, 2009

With the hundreds of beta users and thousands of contacts added during beta1, things were getting slow when managing contacts.

The search and tag selection were especially below the acceptable threshold.

So first we built a full Javascript user interface using Google Gears that’s as fast as a desktop application. It also allows you to view your contacts when offline; this will be the base for the future Ofuz Desktop.

To enable Google Gears to manage your Ofuz contacts, go into Settings, choose the Google Gears tab, and then turn it on.

But Gears is not yet available for everyone — like on my Linux 64b desktop.

Then, last week we rewrote the standard web-based version of the contact management section. This added infinite scrolling, so it’s a great performance feature. It initially loads just the first 50 contacts and as you scroll down it loads more contacts until it reaches the end.

Lastly, we moved Ofuz to new hardware servers in a new cloud environment based on Open Source technologies. The result is a 10x performance improvement in Ofuz contact management. Now, even with thousands of contacts the user interface is extremely responsive.

Give us your feedback and let us know how fast it runs for you.

Major new release is cooking

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

We are on the final sprint for Ofuz 0.4

The 0.4 tasks are now frozen, and all new requests and minor bug fixes will go into Ofuz 0.5

Even if we still have about 40 tasks & bugs to implement, there is a good chance that Ofuz 0.4 will be released this month.

Even if we have been adding tons of small improvements and features for the past 3 months, we have 3 major features that will go live this month:

Google Gears support

It’s a free and open source add-on created and donated by Google that you install in your web browser, like the flash plug-in.

Once installed, the application can then be used off-line.

The contact search using Google Gears is super super fast, with 2,000 contacts in an instant. For 0.4 we have implemented it as a proof of concept in the Contact management section. It’s totally usable, so if you guys like it we will extend it to additional parts of Ofuz.

Google contact Sync

This means importing and exporting your contacts from Gmail to Ofuz and Ofuz to Gmail.

For now the sync is not automated; you have to go in settings->sync and click Google to import and export contacts to Google.

We did this because some may not want all of their Ofuz contacts in gmail or do not want all of their gmail contacts in Ofuz.

So you still have a choice. Based on your feedback we will adjust this.

Invoicing

This is the last piece. Ofuz was initially designed to cover all the business customer relations needs from start to finish.

- Find customers by organizing your address book and working your network
- Get things done in collaboration with project management.
- Get paid

Now the “get paid” part will be in Ofuz 0.4. It was originally planned to be in Ofuz 0.5, but due to popular demand we created a initial basic version for Ofuz 0.4

In this initial version of the Invoicing we have implemented the following features:

- Create invoices
- Internationalization (currency, number formating)
- Manage payments
- Customers can view invoices online
- Online payment with Paypal or Authorize net

In 0.5 we will add:

- Recurring invoices
- Invoices attached in PDF
- Taxes
- Auto Alert on past due invoices.

I’ll give you more details on the other 40 tasks later this month…

Thanks to all the beta users for their feedback during Ofuz 0.3

Add task to a project using your email

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

This is the new feature of the day. We just added a new drop box for projects.

Now each project is associated with an email address; if you send a message to that email address it will automatically create a new task in that Project.

The project drop box email address is on the bottom left of the Project page. See the screen shot.Email drop box for the project is circled in yellow

If you’ve never used a drop box, you may wonder what those weird email addresses are everywhere.

They are email addresses to send content to Ofuz — can be a note on a contact, task, project task or task discussion.

If you have an open project you are actively working on and want to stay on top of it, even if you are not in front of a computer, then the drop box becomes handy. To begin, just add the project drop box to your address book. For example, create newtask-17@ofuz.net with a name like Project x51.  Then, any time you think of a task for that project, just send an email to that address. It can be from your smart phone, public web mail or your email client; perhaps because you don’t want to open Ofuz.net just for adding one task.

If you have not used drop-boxes yet, try it. In your settings page you will find one area to add new tasks and one to add a note to a contacts.

Regarding the one to add notes — if you add it to your auto Bcc it will put a copy of all the emails you send attached to the appropriate contact.

Have fun, let us know what you think.