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Review: KeyContacts 1.1 - Perfect address synchronization with Outlook (English)

Door Roel van der Vegte, translated by Roeland Krul Klik op de plaatjes voor een vergrote versie
Publicatiedatum: 12 September 2002





















Dit review in het Nederlands

There are already plenty of replacements for the standard DateBook application available. DateBk4, DateBk5 and Iambic’s Agendus and its predecessor ActionNames are some of the most popular titles among these.
In most cases however, the standard DateBook application will be more than satisfying for most users. The available fields will do for most people, and finding an address is quick and easy. Most of the replacement titles add extra fields and some functionality, but the constraints remain the same: maximum of 10,000 addresses, maximum 15 categories and only a single address database. Serious power users however, who expect nothing less than perfect synchronisation with Microsoft Outlook, will have to look for something better. Until now, there was no application available that could fulfil the needs of these users. Enter Chapuras KeyContacts, providing a solution for most of these limitations. Most notable features of KeyContacts are the following:

  • Maximum 254 categories instead of 15
  • Unlimited number of address databases
  • 40 extra fields in Outlook are all available on the handheld
  • Notes have a maximum size of 32 kB instead of 4 kB
  • Category names can be as much as 254 characters long

Installation

During the install procedure of KeyContacts the HotSync conduit for the Palm Address Book will be disabled, since KeyContacts uses its own set of databases. Should there already be another connection between Palm and Outlook, e.g. via PocketMirror or Intellisync Lite/Pro, this connection will also be disabled.
During this install procedure two HotSync operations are required: the first one to install the keycontacts.prc application file, and a second HotSync operation in order to sync the data from Outlook to KeyContacts. After the second HotSync operation KeyContacts is ready for use. Of course there are still plenty of settings left to configure, but I will come back to that later on in this review.

Extra fields

Having edited an address with all available fields in Outlook, a single HotSync will make all of these fields available on the handheld. Click here for a complete overview of all of these 40 extra fields.
KeyContacts uses the same field names as does Microsoft Outlook for full names: Title, First, Middle, Last and Suffix. Each name can have up to three complete addresses, as well as three email addresses. A single tap on any one of the addresses on the handheld will reveal a detail view screen with all information.

The list of phone, fax, mobile and other numbers is endless. Each of these fields may or may not be shown in the address overview.

Need still more fields? No problem! Even fields for Birthday, name of partner, child(ren), an extra date field (wedding anniversary, deadline, next meeting, whatever), web page, department, office and assistant are now available.

Subdivisions and folders

Creating a new address book database starts with a new Contacts folder in Outlook. To do this, right-click on your default Contacts folder in Outlook and select 'New folder....'. You can rename this new folder to something more descriptive (Private, Business, etc. ), and simply drag and drop the desired addresses into the newly created folder. In order to make these new folders available on the handheld, they must be added to HotSync Manager's KeyContacts conduit. Adding or removing a folder is easily done within the conduit. The standard directional options naturally apply: 'Synchronize', 'Handheld overwrites Outlook', 'Outlook overwrites Handheld' and 'Do Nothing'.

Your Palm-powered handheld offers the option to create Categories within an Address Book database. This allows for further structuring and grouping Contacts together. One might have, e.g. a Contacts folder named "Family", whichs holds the Categories "My family" and "In-laws". A very nice touch of KeyContacts is the possibility to assign a single address to multiple Categories. Suppose you have a Contacts folder named "business", holding Categories such as "Customers", "Suppliers", "Golf buddies" etc. If you have a golf buddie who is also a customer of yours, simply tick both categories. Of course you may also use Outlook's default list of Categories.
Chapura claim a maximum of 254 categories. I assume this is a truthful claim. I am currently using 20 Categories in a single Address Book, so the old 15-Category limit has sure been broken.

There is also a "Quick Find" option, allowing the user to select one of the following fields: First name, Last name, Company name and "save as" or "file as" name.

Integration with other applications

From within DateBook, Memo Pad, To Do List and Mail it is possible to extract phone numbers and email addresses from KeyContacts, using the /L(ookup) shortcut. This feature was added in version 1.1 following widespread desire, and makes the use of the standard Address Book redundant.
Handspring Treo users or those using another Palm OS powered smartphone have an extra benefit: simply tapping a phone number is enough to make a call to that number. This trick also works for all handhelds running Palm OS 4.0 or later with a GSM driver.  

Summary

KeyContacts is an impressive solution for practically seamless integration between Outlook Contacts and your Palm handheld. If you are looking for a title that breaks the current boundaries and restrictions of the standard Palm Address Book, then look no further. Chapura have taken good notice of the feedback that came after the release of v1.0, and this has resulted in the addition of the Lookup function, yielding the use of the standard Address Book redundant.

Open to improvement

  • Possibility to move addresses between different address book databases on the Palm
  • Possibility to edit field names, such as the "custom fields"

Plusses

  • The 15-category-barrier has been broken: 254 is the new limit
  • 40 extra fields in Outlook, now also on your Palm
  • notes attached to an address within KeyContacts may me 32 kB long instead of 4 kB
  • HotSync conduit comes with an intuitive wizard
  • Unlimited number of address book databases
  • Lookup function cleverly integrated with built-in applications

KeyContacts specifications

  • Company: Chapura
  • Product is now integrated in: KeySuite 2.0
  • Suitable for: PalmOS 3.5 and higher / PalmOS 5 compatible
    Palmdesktop 4.0.1 or higher
    Minimal Win/98, Outlook 2000, 16 MB RAM and 2 MB diskspace
  • Filesize: minimum 1,4 MB for Palm, 2MB for PC

Beoordeling

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