Last week we released a big new update to Method platform, so in keeping with tradition, I get to put my "geek hat" on and announce some of the goodies.
Of the many new features, here are some highlights:
1. "Add New" event added to dropdown fields
We added a new event to dropdown fields called "Add New". When you are designing and customizing your screens you can edit your dropdown lists, go to step 2, and choose the "Add New" event. When you add actions here, such as showing a popup screen, the "<Add New>" will appear as the first option in your dropdowns when you publish.
Why is this important? We had the "Button Click" event before, which added the "..." button to dropdowns, but it isn't always obvious to your staff to click on the "..." to add new entries. Also, this gives you an extra set of actions if you want to use the "Add New" event for adding new entries, and using the "Button Click" event for doing something else, such as automating data entry on the screen.
You'll start to see dropdowns with the "Add New" event gradually making their way into standard screens shortly as we push out new updates, but it is a feature available now on your own customizations.
2. No longer having to click Update on grids
The "Save" and "Save & New" buttons just got a lot smarter! Now they check to see if you have a grid that is currently being edited, and if so, they click the "Update" link on the grid for you. What does this mean? Well, for example, imagine you are creating an Invoice in Method. Previously you would have to choose a customer, add the line items, click Update on the grid, and then click Save & New. Now data entry is a lot more convenient and lot more like it is in QuickBooks, since you no longer have to click Update on the grid in order to save the Invoice, you can just add the line items and then click Save & New directly.
3. "SQL Override" for grid columns (very advanced)
This is not for newbies! But it is super powerful, and something we have started to use on customization jobs and in Method Mobile.
When we were developing Method Mobile, we saw the need to have more than one field in the same grid column, so that the screen could stretch vertically on a mobile phone. At the same time we were getting requests on our customiztions jobs such as "I want to be able to look at all my customers and have a column in a grid that shows me total dollars spent on invoices" and "I want to look at all my opportunities and see who has only had a single phone call". We couldn't do that with our grids before, at least not cleanly, so we created a way to actually override what goes in a grid column with either a summary or count from other related tables, or to just free hand type field names so that multiple fields could be combined together.
4. Method Mobile beta begins with Method Field Services
Finally, we're ready for everyone to test out Method Mobile! We're starting it off for users of Method Field Services, which you can import for free from Customize > My Account if you are a Method Full Blown user.
Windows Mobile - Right now we have it tested and working on Windows Mobile 6.0, Windows Mobile 6.1 and Windows Mobile 6.5 browsers (Professional only, not Classic). WM 5.0 browsers are a no-go.
Safari (iPhone). We haven't focused here yet. Windows Mobile was the target for this first phase, and we'll be worrying about Safari starting next week (it really should take hardly any time now that we have Windows Mobile done, since Safari is a far superior browser).
Blackberry & Android - We haven't done any work optimizing for Blackberry or Android (yet).
HOW TO LOG IN
Simply go to https://www.methodintegration.com/method/mobile.aspx on your mobile device and log in as you would normally. It will show you all the mobile-optimized screens. In your account, assuming you have Method Field Services installed, you should see we have pushed in 3 mobile-optimized screens:
"Work Orders" (FieldServiceMOB_WorkOrders)
Note: logging in via a mobile device means that you are still logging into Method. So it will log you out of regular Method since you can't be logged in twice with the same User Name.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR *OWN* MOBILE SCREENS
Like all other Method screens, you can make your very own mobile app using Method! You can modify the existing screens we have provided, or create your own from scratch.
To create your own from scratch:
1. Under Customize > Screens, create your own screen like you normally would.
2. Click Advanced in the designer screen.
3. Place a checkbox in "Optimize for Windows Mobile device.".
4. Click Finish.
5. Design your screen and click Publish. Your screen is only viewable via the mobile.aspx login (listed above). It will not show up in regular Method.
Some best practices for designing.
A. Small screens are much faster than big screens, so limit how much you put on them.
B. Use tabs instead of regular sections to prevent unnecessary grid loading. Grid loading can slow screens down considerably.
C. Design with up to 2 columns wide.
D. Put fields up and down instead of left and right.
E. Limit how many columns you put into grids. You can always have hidden columns that you show when you really need them.
This is just the start of the Method Mobile beta, so please give lots of feedback on the forum. If you have any problems, please make sure you tell us exactly what device you are using and the browser version you are using, as there is a wide range of mobile browsers.
There are also many standard CRM features coming out during January that we have planned. Danny will be letting you know about them as they come out.
Happy new year,