Simply Made Apps WWDC Keynote Party

We are having a small get together at the Simply Made Apps HQ to watch the upcoming WWDC Keynote. Everyone that cares will be watching the keynote from their desk at work while they eat, why not come by the office and watch it with good company and free lunch. We will be having pizza and refreshments. Just RSVP through Eventbrite and we’ll see you next week.

http://simplymadeapps.eventbrite.com

Simple In/Out for Android Public Beta

At long last, it’s finally arrived.  Today, we’re super excited to announce beta testing for our brand new Simple In/Out Android app!

What’s this new Android app all about?  Simple In/Out has been available for Android since the beginning (in fact, we had our Android app out before the iPhone app hit the store).  We have two apps in the store, one targeted at old Android 2.x phones and one meant for Android 4 and up.  But, over the last year our Android apps really began to show their age.  The interfaces were dated, the GeoFence implementations are not up to our standards and the battery life on old handsets is an issue.

We’ve had many discussions both internally and with our customers to determine how best to offer an optimal experience to Android users.  We tried patching some bugs, redesigning some interfaces, reworking GeoFences; but at the end of the day we still weren’t satisfied.  We debated further and we knew exactly what we had to do.  We had danced around the idea but now it was clear as day.  We needed to start over.

So, today’s Android public beta app isn’t just improved, it’s an entirely new application.  We rewrote everything from the ground up, focusing on the latest and greatest. This allowed us to use some really great new tools Google has made available, including the latest interface standards Android has to offer.  This means both battery life and GeoFence accuracy should be significantly improved.  The interface should look right at home on your latest Android phone.  Best of all, we now have a solid base to rapidly iterate on, allow us to bring even more of our industry-first in/out board features from iPhone to our eager Android customers.

The Android Public beta doesn’t yet have all our features, but the major ones are all present and accounted for.  We’ll be taking feedback and adding features over the next several weeks on our way to a final release.

If you’d like to participate and get the latest Android app, simply send us an email and we’ll get you the app.  We’ll take as many folks as we can.

PS: Thanks to all our Android customers who have waited patiently for today.  Your trust is invaluable to us, we hope you really like what we’ve been working on.

Edit Past Statuses in Simple In/Out

Coming hot on the heels of our big 6.0 release that included Push Notifications, I’m excited to announce that we’ve just shipped another major feature enhancement for Simple In/Out.  Starting today, you can edit previous statuses.

Editing previous statuses has been a request we’ve heard from several of our customers.  While Simple In/Out is primarily used to let you know where your people are right now, we’ve had reports for years that allow you to see where your people were.  While this is useful to answer questions like “where was Johnny last Tuesday afternoon?”, several of our customers would like to use those reports for payroll purposes.  The only thing stopping these users has been being unable to go back and make changes when someone forgets to check in/out.

Now, you can make changes to the past with only a few clicks.  From the 7 Day History or our reports like the Daily Timeline or the Time Card report, you can click to edit a user’s past statuses.  You can insert new statuses to make up for the user missing a check in/out.  You can also delete errant statuses that shouldn’t have been made.

One of the biggest challenges in allowing admins to delete statuses is historical accuracy.  Once you’ve deleted a status, how do others know that something sinister didn’t occur?  To aid this, we’ve created a brand new report, the Deleted Statuses report, which is available to all admin users.  This report keeps track of all the deleted statuses, showing what was deleted, when it was deleted and which admin did the deleting.  This way, if a user complains that their data has been tampered with, it’s now easy to find out what happened and who may be responsible.

We hope our users who wanted more control will really enjoy this.  Simple In/Out is now ready for your payroll needs.

Simple In/Out Supports Safari Push Notifications on your Mac

First, thanks a million to all our customers who have emailed us over the past week thanking us for Push Notifications.  It’s incredibly gratifying to hear from happy customers.  After using Push Notifications ourselves over the last month or two internally, we can attest to how amazing they are.  Combined with GeoFences and iBeacons, it just works in a way that feels like magic.

One of the features we also launched this weekend that was a bit overshadowed was support for Safari Push Notifications as well on Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9).  Just like our Push Notifications on the iPhone, you can receive notices that your users have updated their statuses right on your Mac desktop.  Just like other notices in Notification Center, they slide into view from the upper right of your screen.  Best of all, you don’t even need your web browser to be open for them to work.  Also, you can click on them and instantly be taken to a web browser with your entire Simple In/Out board right in front of you.

To enable these right now, just log into Simple In/Out using Safari on Mac OS X Mavericks, and then click Settings -> Safari Notifications.  From there, you’ll need to give us permission by clicking a button.  After that, you’re good to go.  You can, just like the iPhone, follow everyone in your organization or just particular users.  We even have a few shortcuts to make this easier to set up.

If you wish to follow/unfollow a user, simply click on their name on the main in/out board and in the dialog that comes up, there will be a button in the lower right for following/unfollowing.  It’s really that easy.

These Safari Push Notifications are available by the same rules as those for the iPhone.  By default, they are available to admin users only, but can be given to everyone or no one depending on how your organization chooses to have their preferences set.

We hope you enjoy this, we feel it’s a real game changer.

Safari Push Notifications

Simple In/Out Updates iOS App to 6.0

For the 6th time in 3 years, Simple In/Out has undergone a major revamp of the app. In the early days, it was to support Geofences. Then it was newer versions of iOS and icon changes. Today, Simple In/Out is proud to release 6.0 that brings with it another round of great new features and changes.

The biggest new feature for 6.0 is Push Notifications. We have been testing this feature for several months, and we couldn’t be happier to release it to our eligible users. Admin users can register to get notified when other users are updating their statuses. They are disabled by default so you aren’t getting app spammed with notifications right off the bat. Under Settings, you can enable notifications and select which users you’d like to get updates for.

In addition to push notifications, the app has undergone a complete makeover. We went back to our early roots and restored the colored nav bar, as well as made some great updates to take advantage of iOS 7. We think the look is a lot cleaner, and stands out against other apps that are flat and white. We missed the splash of color, and we hope you did too.

There are a lot of subtle changes throughout the app. We went through every page and made sure that everything was tinted correctly, and we didn’t miss a thing. Now that we are officially on iOS 7.1, we’ve officially stopped supporting iOS 6.x. If you are still an iOS 6 user (I’m sorry) your app will continue to work. Users looking for Simple In/Out that have 6.x should still be able to download an older version of the app that Apple stores on file, but won’t be privy to all of the great new features iOS 7 has to offer.

There are a lot of things we’d love to add to Simple In/Out, but just don’t have the time. If there is something you’d like to see, let us know. We are on Twitter, Facebook, or just old fashioned email. Tell us how we are doing and what you think. We hope you enjoy using Simple In/Out as much as we enjoy building it.

7.1 brings back Geofence behavior

Apple released a major update to iOS yesterday. This update brings a lot of new changes to iOS, mainly CarPlay. While this doesn’t mean much for users right now, it will in the coming months as vehicles come to market.

One unlisted feature of iOS 7.1, is the default behavior of Geofences and iBeacons has been restored to iOS 6 defaults. For those of you not aware, starting in iOS 7, if you force close an app (double-tap home, and swipe the app up) you are telling iOS that you don’t want this app to run anymore, and that the app should not be allowed to respond to background events. This is completely opposite of the behavior in iOS 6. If your app needs to respond to a Geofence update, it would get notified, woke up if you will, and be allowed to respond to the event. This new change has caused a lot of problems for our users that are used to closing apps from the app switcher and not getting updates to various background updates.

With 7.1, we have confirmed that force closing an app that is monitoring Geofences will respond to Geofence updates. This is great news for users (and developers) that want their apps to continue working in the background. We got word via a story about improvements to iBeacons in 7.1 that piqued our interest. We immediately confirmed their findings about iBeacons, and checked if this change applied to Geofences as well. We were very happy to find that this change applies to both.

While most users won’t notice anything different, that is great news for everyone. Developers don’t have to code around this change in behavior, as well as not being put in the position to train users how to use iOS differently. Users shouldn’t notice anything different because like Apple says, it just works.

You can download Simple In/Out and see for yourself. We are putting the finishing touches on a new 6.0 build that is just about ready to go live. We wanted to wait until 7.1 was released to make sure the update would work for everyone. A few last minute tweaks, and we’ll be out the door.

Simple In/Out Public API is now Live

Today, we’re excited to announce that Simple In/Out has an API accessible to the public.  In beta testing for several months, we’ve now unleashed this on the world and can’t wait to see what our users do with it.

When designing the API (known as APIv2 or Version 2), we relied heavily on industry standards like OAuth2 and JSON.  This means several off-the-shelf tools can be put to work to do wonderful things with your data.  For now, this is a read-only API that allows access to your users, statuses, groups, etc.

If you’d like access, just email me and we’ll provide you the tokens necessary.  My email is brandon [at] simplymadeapps [dot] com.

A New Look for Simple In/Out (and GeoFence Updates Too)

To kick off this weekend, we’ve shipped a new look for Simple In/Out.  You’ll find the website is a little brighter, a lot cleaner and contains a lot more details on our main pages.  We’re highlighting more features for our phone apps, iPad and Windows 8.  We hope you find the changes easy on the eyes.

Also, we’ve updated the GeoFence page on the website with three important improvements we’ve had requests for.  First, it’s responsive and provides a bigger map for bigger screens.  Second, we now support editing your GeoFences on the iPad web browser (including pinch zooming and dragging pins).  Finally, we’ve added an address lookup to make it easier to find locations.

We’re excited about these changes, but the best is coming soon.  6.0 is right around the corner.

Startups at work: Previous entrepreneurial events have lingering impact in Fargo

Report Upgrades Land for Simple In/Out

To start the new week, we’re happy to announce some great report upgrades we’ve just shipping for Simple In/Out.  Both the Time Card and Daily Timeline reports now take advantage of the screen size of your browser, making for larger reports on your desktop and smaller side-scroling reports on your phone’s web browser.  This is especially useful for the Daily Timeline, which loves that extra space.

We’ve also hidden the advanced settings in a dialog to lessen confusion for the vast majority of our users that don’t use them.  And, we’ve added an extra advanced option to the Time Card report that allows users to choose the length of the little time card bars (they default to 8 hours).

We’re nearing the finish line on our big new release.  Until then, thanks for reading.