zaterdag 29 augustus 2020

Beta testing voor new mobiles apps started

Public beta testing is now on-going for both the iOS and the Android apps for Project Hours! We completed the internal testing round, many issues were ironed out. 

A challenge was to get listview items in projects and activities lists to fold out correctly when tapped on by the user, especially on iOS. Also, initially some page crashed in release mode because of empty properties in the xaml page make-up. The strange thing was that these pages showed up ok in debug configurations, but apparantly release mode is less forgiving.  The xamarin forum is very useful to find answers: One of my questions on the Xamarin Forum

You can try-out the Android and iOS beta's on: (note that if you install this, your phone will write hours to a test database, you will have to unsubscribe to return to production).

Join beta on Android

Join beta on iPhone

Any help is much appreciated!



zondag 26 juli 2020

Completed new UI and signup feature for mobile apps

I did a lot of work on the new UI and features for the Project Hours mobile apps.
- New UI designed
- Pages added to signup for a trial period.
- Pages added to invite other users to sign up.
I am now working on a page to manage projects and activities in the mobile apps. Currently these can only be edited on the web site. 
Once I have finished the development work, I will create extensive app store pages for Google Play and the Apple Store. Together with the new features, the Project Hours app will be much better visible and hopefully this will attract many new users!
First screen for new users. There is a image carousel with 7 images and feature list.
First screen of signup wizard. Maybe I should improve the layout of the welcome message.
Once an organisation has signed up, it is easy to setup teams by inviting new members.

zondag 14 juni 2020

Developing new look for mobile phone apps

The past week or so I worked on setting up new mobile phone apps for Project Hours. Again it will be a Xamarin Forms project with a shared library with UI pages and business logic, and an Android app and a iPhone (iOS) app that use that shared library. I created a new page UI design that is going to replace the old header.  Thanks to  Andrew Hoefling's Xamarin Blog with a good explanation on how to design page headers.

Old look and feel (currently in the app stores):

New look and feel (better release this asap..) Looks so much better..

Above new code currently runs on Android, must test this on iOS now.
To be continued,

zaterdag 16 mei 2020

Received useful feedback from customers

A product must be improved continuously, and beyond that it is fun to add new features! I believe that it is best to add something that customers and reviewers asked for. So in the coming period Project Hours will be updated with a few things that users requested.

Notification feature 
Nobody likes filling in hours in a time-tracking tool. It is something on the side that has to be done. It is often forgotten which leads to huge backlogs of time-tracking to do. To help prevent this, a daily or weekly reminder to fill in your hours will help. The Project Hours mobile apps will be updated so users can schedule reminders that will appear as notifications on their phones. I am not sure yet how to display reminders on laptops and PC's. Email reminders? Something to consider.

I will also add warnings for timers that run longer than a day. Usually these timers were started to measure time on a tasks but the user forgot the stop the timer. Perhaps a reminder every hour is useful..

Easy sign-up from mobile phones
Currently, if you are interested to start using Project Hours, you have to sign-up via the web site. But I think it would help finding new customers if companies can sign up up and organise their projects and team directly in the Project Hours iPhone or Android app. It will also help to advertise Project Hours on app listing sites like

Enough to do, to be continued..

vrijdag 27 maart 2020

Working on new landing page for potential customers

Project Hours is always looking for new customers and it is important to provide an easy entry path for interested companies. At the moment the Project Hours landing pages looks like this:

Works reasonably well. Unfortunately many people try out the demo but do not sign up for the free trial. Missed opportunity for both sides. So I am going to combine these buttons to one button that will say 'Try it out now'. User that try out Project Hours will go through a short wizard to setup a demo account. In this way, everybody that tries out the system, basically gets a free trial immediately.

To be continued..

vrijdag 20 september 2019

Integration with Google Calendar

On request of customer I am working on integrating Project Hours with Google Calendar. Work has been progressing nicely and a fully functional demo is available on the project hours test site: Google Calendar in Project Hours. What it does is that every time hours are saved in Project Hours via  the web interface or mobile app, an entry is created in a specified Google Calender. Only one (company) calendar per organisation can be specified.

In this way, a dashboard with work items is created that can be used for planning for example.

I am thinking of adding a feature where users can specify their own Google calendar for a per user overview.  Or an integration the other way around: use Google Calendar to register hour entries in Project Hours. I have investigated this and it looks like the only way to do this is to create a Chrome plug-in that adds Project Hours menu items to the Google Calendar web page. But first we are going to do some testing and release this to the Project Hours production environment. To be continued..

vrijdag 1 februari 2019

New Project Hours UI banner and landing page design live!

Today I published the new Project Hours look and feel to the live site
For a while I had felt that the design of the web site had become somewhat stale, no colours, only white and gray. To change that, the company banner on every page has been brought in line with the design of the landing pages (see image below). Thanks to Vanessa Lappenschaar-Berg for design tips!
I hope that the new design will lead to a higher conversion rate on the Google Ads.

There are no functional changes in this release. I did make a change to the way caching of data is handled, there has been a case of session data mix-up between two users of different organisations (very scary, should never happen again!)

For those interested: I added the setting 'OutputCacheLocation.None' to the MVC outputcache attribute on every MVC controller to make sure no pages are cached server-side that could cause data mix-up between users:
  [OutputCache(NoStore = true, Duration = 0, Location = System.Web.UI.OutputCacheLocation.None, VaryByParam = "*")]

The NoStore = true and Duration is 0 settings were already there, but apparently that was not enough.
More background info : StackOverflow Sessions Mixed ASP.NET and MVC Output cache set to None

Planned for the next release: add an auditing function to all changes to time entries so it is always possible to see what the entire history of a time entry has been. (Currently this must be done by restoring database backups, a lot of hassle).

That's all for now,