31 May 2017

Kanban Task Manager Screen Efficiency

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Kanban Task Manager, the product for tasks and projects visualization in SharePoint and Outlook, can be optimized to fit different requisites and screen sizes. In the first demo below I show some of the methods to adapt the kanban board.

The Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions also have options for showing just "My Tasks" on any page, and our ShareTask app gives a user friendly interface in mobile devices.

The SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager runs in a browser, so each user can easily change the size of the kanban board by using the Control key together with the plus or minus key to zoom in and out.

In the latest versions of the single and organizational editions for Outlook, we have given the same possibility to use Ctrl + minus/plus to either see more tasks or zoom in on a few tasks only.

The SharePoint editions can also take advantage of the inbuilt SharePoint feature "Focus on Content" to hide the navigation and top banner.

Multiple columns and hidden completed phase
Administrators can set any phase on the kanban board to contain more than one column of task cards. Kanban Task Manager does not limit the number of columns you can have in one phase, so it can be decided for each installation.

Another way to have more room for task cards on the horizontal level is to hide one of the phases (or more) from the kanban board. Organizations often opt to hide the completed phase. The tasks are still kept in the tasks list, of course, so that they can be used in the Kanban Task Manager statistics.

These two features belong to Kanban Task Manager, so they are available in all editions, both for Outlook and SharePoint.

My Tasks
To give best possible interface to users who only need to see their own tasks, we have added a button for an embed code in the configure page of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions. The code can be embedded in any page, and with the sandboxed edition "My Tasks" can even show tasks from all Kanban Task Manager installations in the farm or tenant.

ShareTask for SharePoint logotypeWhen users often manage their tasks in mobile devices, Kanban Task Manager can be combined with another product: ShareTask.

This mobile app gives users an interface that is adapted to small screens, and it is not only intended for Kanban Task Manager. It works with all lists built on the SharePoint Online Tasks or Issue Tracking template. The admin just has to activate the sandboxed solution on the list site, and then users can download their free apps to their Android, iOS or Windows devices.

Our Medium and Premium subscriptions give free access to both Kanban Task Manager and ShareTask, so for organizations who use SharePoint Online this is a valuable combination of products.

As you see there is a lot to be done to help users get an efficient screen for their tasks management, whether they are working on a kanban board or just handle their own tasks.

Peter Kalmström,
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

24 May 2017

Space And Speed In New Outlook Kanban Add-in

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logotypeToday I am happy to announce the release of Kanban Task Manager Single V6, the fourth edition of our popular kanban board product.

The single edition of Kanban Task Manager is intended for one-man businesses, consultants and anyone else who requires a way to visualize and keep track of projects and tasks but don't need to share their kanban board with others.

Outlook tasks
The Kanban Task Manager ribbon group in the Outlook mail viewOn a kanban board, task cards are moved between the phases of a project as work proceeds. In Kanban Task Manager we use the kanban board idea with Outlook tasks, so that you can see your tasks in Outlook and group them in various ways.

You can either  create new tasks directly on the kanban board or use the Convert button in the Outlook mail view to convert e-mails into tasks.

Space and speed
In Kanban Task Manager Single V6 we have redesigned the kanban board to give room for more tasks without scrolling, and we have also managed to speed up the loading of the Kanban Task Manager load tasks, views and settings. It was not slow before, but now it is really quick!

Features from organizational editions
As you might have seen in earlier blogposts, we have already updated the three workgroup editions of Kanban Task Manager, for Outlook and SharePoint. The single edition build on these and has the same features except those who are intended for sharing.

This means that Kanban Task Manager Single is more advanced than other products on the market that also build on the kanban board idea. We also give support and free upgrades to the single users, just like we do for organizations who subscribe to the workgroup editions.

Upgrade upgrade iconIf you already subscribe to Kanban Task Manager, I recommend you to upgrade your installation to get the enhanced kanban board and the faster performance. The upgrade is quick. Just download the .msi file and run it. The installer will find your earlier installation and upgrade it automatically. Refer to the Revisions page for a list of all the news in Kanban Task Manager Single V6.

Try it download iconDo you need to get an overview over your Outlook tasks and want to use the kanban  method to visualize the work process? In that case you are welcome to try Kanban Task Manager Single. There is plenty of documentation on our website, and should you still have questions I hope you will contact us.

Peter Kalmström,
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

11 May 2017

V6 Released After Five Years With Kanban Task Manager For Outlook

Kanban Task Manager logotype The two SharePoint editions of  Kanban Task Manage have recently been updated, and now the time has come to the Outlook edition for workgroups, Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. The responsible developer, Jitu Patidar, will tell you more about this update.
Jitendra Patidar image
When I joined the team in the spring of 2012, I came right into the development of our very first Kanban Task Manager product. It was intended for kanban style collaboration on tasks and projects in Outlook.

Five years of kanban development
Our color coded kanban board for Outlook became a success, and later we have also developed a single edition for Outlook and of course the two SharePoint editions. I have been included in all Kanban Task Manager development, but the two Outlook editions have been my responsibility for the last five years, so I know them quite well by now!

Design enhancements on the scene and behind it
Last time Peter came to visit us here in Indore, we discussed a prototype for a new design of the Kanban Task Manager kanban board. That first glimpse was promising, so we were excited to implement it.

When working with the new versions, we also wanted to make some major design changes at the SharePoint/database level, to improve the performance. While the new design is visible at the first glance, users will notice the better loading speed when they start working with the new version. I am sure they will be happy with both!

Share via database or SharePoint
Kanban Task Manager for Outlook offers three options for sharing of tasks and settings: an SQL Server or Access database or a SharePoint site. When the SharePoint option is selected, the Outlook edition can synchronize with one of the SharePoint editions, so that users can choose which edition to work with at each occasion.

Several subscribers use Kanban Task Manager that way. It is easy for users to feel at home in both editions, because we have used or built as much shared code as possible to give a similar user interface in all editions.

Team project
The spirit encourages cooperation, and I have had great help from my co-workers in the development of the new version of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. Together we have solved many problems, but I think the most difficult one was to make the kanban board in Outlook work well in different resolutions.

Subscription icon Now our QA team has ensured me that everything works well, and I am glad we can offer subscribers to upgrade their installations without cost.

If you are new to Kanban Task Manager, you are welcome to try the Outlook edition for workgroups. We give free support to evaluators, as well as to subscribers, so my colleagues and I are always here to assist you if needed!

It has been a privilege to follow Kanban Task Manager from the first idea to an advanced product with many users all over the world, and I am sure that new ideas and technologies will keep me busy with Kanban Task Manager for many years to come!

Jitu Patidar
Senior Developer, Support Lead Business Solutions

05 May 2017

New Kanban Task Manager Add-in With My Tasks Embed

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Today I am happy to tell you that we have released a new version of Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in. It has the same new design as the sandboxed solution, which was updated last week. The new add-in now also has a My Tasks embed code, which makes it possible to show the current user's tasks in any site page.

Kanban board and task cards
When Kanban Task Manager was first designed five years ago, we wanted the kanban board to look like a physical board with small pieces of paper for each task. The task cards even had pins that "held them" to the kanban board!

Eventually we of course got rid of the pins and adapted the design more to the Microsoft platforms we build Kanban Task Manager on: SharePoint and Outlook. The revision of all editions that we have undertaken in the beginning of this year, is a big step forward.

In our contacts with organizations that use Kanban Task Manager, we have understood that many of them would benefit from a design that shows more task cards on the screen, so by simplifying the look of each card we have been able to make them smaller without removing important information.

To give more vertical space and show more lanes without scrolling, we have moved the filter options to a left pane and the details screen to a right pane. Both panes also give other, new, options. And of course, the panes are only visible when you need them.

Welcome to have a look at the new design in the video version of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions slideshow:

Systems design
We have not only enhanced the look of Kanban Task Manager. There are also important changes "behind the scene", changes that make Kanban Task Manager much faster than before. The settings and the various views open quickly, and new tasks are created in a wink and in more ways than earlier.

My Tasks in new model pages
Earlier versions of Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in had an app part for the current user's open tasks, but now we have managed to give the add-in the same embed code as the sandboxed solution.
The Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in My Tasks
This means that "My Tasks" can be shown not only in wiki pages but also in pages of the new model. The admin just needs to enter the app URL to the Site settings >HTML Field Security.

Upgrade upgrade iconCurrent users who downloaded their add-in from the web page are welcome to download the new version of Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in from again. Organizations who downloaded from SharePoint Store will have a message once the add-in has been updated there. Free upgrades are included in all subscription levels.

Try download iconKanban Task Manager has a free trial period of 30 days and if you are interested in the SharePoint add-in you are welcome to download it from the website. If you prefer using SharePoint Store, you will have to wait until next week.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

03 May 2017

Goodbye SharePoint Online Access Services

SharePoint Access AppMicrosoft has recently announced that they will stop supporting Access Services in SharePoint Online. This came faster than I had expected, and the depreciation will be implemented quickly. Instead Microsoft wants us to use their new product PowerApps, which has great potential but still needs to be further developed to be as useful as we would wish.

Publish databases to SharePoint
Access Services was created to make it possible to publish a database to SharePoint and thereby study and use it in a web browser. I have taken advantage of it in several solutions, but now I have to find new ways, of course.

At the same time Microsoft has ensured that they will continue to support and invest in desktop databases, so you can continue creating forms, queries, reports and more in an .accd file on your computer. Only the web based service will be depreciated.

Microsoft PowerApps iconMicrosoft suggests that we replace Access Services with their newer product PowerApps, and PowerApps indeed has some very good features that Access Services is lacking. PowerApps support mobile devices, and you can connect the apps to various databases and third-party data sources. PowerApps also gives developers a more building tools and connection to custom web APIs.

SharePoint lists with the new experience interface has a PowerApps button in the command bar. This makes it very convenient to create apps from a SharePoint list, but the result often leaves a great deal to be desired. In my experience you can get useful apps from SharePoint lists, but you must modify the auto-created app rather heavily.
Office 365 from Scratch cover
My book Office 365 from Scratch includes some examples on how to modify auto-created PowerApps from various data sources, and the Tips section has articles on how to build PowerApps from SharePoint Projects and Phone Messages lists.

SharePoint Online Exercises
In my book SharePoint Online ExercisesSharePoint Online Exercises cover, I show how to create two apps that make use of Access Services: an issue tracking all and an inventory app. These exercises are not central for the book, so it is still useful for anyone who wants to learn how to create SharePoint apps for common business processes. I will however replace the exercises that require Access Services and update the book as soon as possible.

In Office 365 and SharePoint Online the Access Services will stop support for new databases as soon as in June, 2017, and existing apps and web databases will be closed by April, 2018. Therefore it is time to start thinking about how to handle the data you currently manage with the help of Access Services.

Microsoft gives several suggestions on how to migrate web databases to other data sources. When that is done, you can start developing PowerApps!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions