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Review: Chapura KeySuite 2.0 English
Roel van der Vegte (email@example.com) Click on pictures for enlargement Publication: July, 16th 2003
For synchronising the Outlook address book with a PalmOS handheld, Chapura had KeyContacts in stock for almost a year. With KeySuite, they now offer a package which enables you to completely sync your datebook, todos and memos with Outlook. In this review, I will look at what KeySuite has to offer.
For this review, I considered the English version of Outlook.
During the installation of KeySuite, the conduit for synchronising the Palm Desktop with the PIM-applications on the Palm is disabled, since KeySuite uses its own databases. Although Chapura says that KeySuite replaces PocketMirror, it can be useful to leave PocketMirror installed. The reason for this will be discussed later on in this review.
During the installation, HotSync has to be performed twice. During the first time, KeyContacts, KeyDates, KeyNotes and KeyTasks are placed on the Palm. During the second time, entries from Outlook Calendar, Contacts, Notes and Tasks are transferred to the Palm.
KeySuite will not run from an external memory card. Thatís a pity, because the four programmes gobble up a whopping 1.4 MB! KeySuite uses a separate database on the pda for each Outlook folder, just like KeyContacts (which is now a part of KeySuite). If you happen to be using a Date Book replacement like DateBk5 or Agendus Pro, you could consider deleting these programmes, as the corresponding databases will not be updated anymore.
(Dis)advantages of one database per folder
The standard PalmOS-databases do not contain all Outlook fields, and you are limited to a maximum of 15 categories. The KeySuite-databases support 65 extra Outlook-fields: 34 more than what is being supported by the PocketPC-applications. Apart from that, a memo can be 32 kB in size instead of the standard 4 kB.
Separating work- and private folders is much easier now, as you can choose for each PC individually which Outlook-folders are being synchronized. It is difficult to exchange data between the different databases on the pda. This can be done using Loopback Beaming, but it is much easier to do this in Outlook instead.
On the PC, you can choose exactly which folders you wish to synchronize. This can be done for different folders on different PCs.
In one word: plain. You can choose some colours, but especially with KeyDates, the difference with for example DateBk5 is striking. No icons, simple usage of colours and only a simple Day-, Week- and Month view. This is being compensated by better integration of Outlook options. Ample font choices are being offered on the pda, as well as many more Outlook-fields.
A useful option is the arrow in the bottom-left corner. By clicking on this arrow, you can easily switch between the four programmes. When using the New option, KeySuite will prompt you to select the appropriate component in which you want to create a new item.
If you are already using DateBk5 or Agendus Pro, youíll probably have to get used to the very plain appearance of KeyDates. You could choose to use KeyDates for your business agenda, while using your Date Book replacement programme for your private agenda. Fortunately, it is no problem at all to set Outlook Calendar to synchronize your private folders only, using PocketMirror Pro.
KeyDates is especially suitable for business users who are often using Outlook on the desktop. First of all, you can synchronize more than one Outlook profile with ease. This way, you can separate work from private items, or keep up with different agendas using one application on your pda. If youíre still using DualDate, youíll notice that this is much easier with KeyDates: two completely separated agendas on both handhelds!
KeyDates also supports the following Outlook Calendar options: to have a look at the list of invited attendees per meeting and to see the status (organiser, accepted, denied) for a particular person. Furthermore, you can mark the time for each meeting as Busy, Tentative, Free or Out of Office.
Unfortunately, KeyDates does not support organising meetings to which you can invite others.
The programme to synchronize memos is called KeyNotes, due to its connection with Outlook Notes. This might be a bit confusing on the Palm, as Memo Pad is the default handler for memos, while Note Pad is the drawing programme. For the sake of clarity, I will be referring to memos in this section.
The ample font choices are pretty good. You can now choose yourself a font that is the most comfortable to read. A memo can be up to 32 kB large now, which is quite an improvement over the standard 4 kB. As a result of this improvement, the two extra functions which you can use to jump to the beginning or end of a memo are very welcome.
For each memo, you have the opportunity to choose from five different background colours (yellow, green, pink, blue or white). This offers you the chance to add some extra structure in your memos if you choose to sort them on colour.
This todo-replacement acts much better in conjunction with Outlook Tasks. Strong points are the ability to set a start- and/or end date, register planned and actual hours, and the presence of a progress field. Also, the feature that lets you maintain the list of people on your team can be very useful for those who keep up with this list in Outlook. Of course the Outlook priority (Low, Normal, or High) can be set, as well as the status (Not Started, In Progress, Completed, Waiting or Deferred). To register expenses, you can use entries like Billing info, Companies and Mileage. Naturally, you can assign more than one category to each task.
I already had the opportunity to have a look at KeyContacts in September 2002. Chapura doesnít sell this programme separately anymore, but nothing much has changed since that version came out. You can use the arrow in the bottom-left corner that lets you switch between programmes easily. Furthermore, the possibility now exists to link items from all four KeySuite applications to the KeyContacts address-databases. A business card symbol will appear to the right of an item to which addresses are linked. By clicking on that card a list of contact persons will appear. By selecting one contact and choose for View, you can see the details of that person. Unfortunately, when returning to KeyDates, you will have lost the letters M, T, W, T, F, S, S. This little bug will probably soon be fixed by Chapura, based on my previous experiences with KeyContacts.
KeySuite does what it promises, and gives an almost 100% synchronization to those who often use Outlook. With KeySuite, youíll have 65 extra Outlook fields at your disposal on your Palm!
Graphically, everything looks quite simple, but the functionality is excellent. One of the best things is the possibility to synchronize with more than one agenda and/or PCs. On a negative note: the interface is sober, almost no usage of colours or other visual aids like icons, the bug which was mentioned earlier, and the lack of possibilities to organise meetings using KeyDates.
If you are like me, and wish to continue using the (visual) power of DateBk5 (or Agendus Pro), itís possible to do that using PocketMirror or Intellisync.
Open to improvement
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