FrontlineSMS

FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Dear Frontline Community,

I have been using Frontlime for almost exactly one year now.  In that time, I have received about 35,000 messages and sent about 8,000.  Thanks for providing such a usable product!  It filled a real need for my organization, and has great potential for the future.

Since your support is so great, I thought that I would take advantage of the 1 year anniversary to enumerate a few of the features I am looking forward to in the next release.  I know that you are currently working on all of these, so let this just be one more vote from a daily user that they are eagerly anticipated!  I am using currently version 1.5.8.

1.) It's way too hard to find out which phones works with Frontline.

This is by far the biggest problem I've had.  It is not clear when you download Frontline that it doesn't work with many phones.  For example, on the "What Is It" page, it says: "[Frontline] works with your existing plan on all GSM phones, modems and networks".  This is misleading.  Let's try to avoid new users making the same mistake I did and buying a nice new Nokia that doesn't work at all by making the fact that it only works with some phones much more prominent, and by making the list of working phones much easier to find.

I know that there are too many phones for you to keep track of yourself, but have you tried making a sticky post post at the top of the forum where users could post which phone they tried, whether it works and the date?  Then the admin could edit the post to keep the list up to date.  Useful pieces of information would be: phone, number of users, works/doesn't work with current version, and date of latest confirmation.  Another option would be to put this on the wiki so users could edit it directly.  However you do it, it should be easy to print, so you can bring the list shopping...  Also, a list of phones that don't work is equally valuable.

2.) Import Directly Into Groups

Really looking forward to this one!  Contact management is clumsy with the current version.

3.) Select All Ungrouped Contacts (Across Pages)

If I could select all ungrouped contacts and move them all into a group at the same time, I wouldn't much care that I can't import directly into a group.  I import about 2000 contacts at a time, and change the list every few months, so each time I update the contacts I have to delete each page of old contacts separately.  The ability to select all messages would also be helpful.

4.) When you delete a contact, there's no keyboard shortcut for "Continue"

Deleting all those contacts wouldn't be so bad if I could do it all on the keyboard, but strangely I haven't find any way to select "Continue" after deleting without using the mouse.  I can switch the highlighting between "Continue" and "Cancel" using tab, but pressing enter doesn't do anything...

5.) Append messages to a database 

We forward all our messages to a gmail account for posterity (great feature!), and it would be great if we could forward them all to a database just as easily. I think what we will do is take the emails from gmail to Outlook, then from Outlook to Access (then Access to .csv, then .csv to Stata... quite the process).  I'm aware of this solution but haven't play with it yet: http://frontlinesms.ning.com/forum/topics/data-collection-without-f...

6.) Display the current version on the downloads page

I missed an update somehow at one point, and couldn't easily find what the current version is.  It would be great if this could be listed on the downloads page, before you register.  

7.) Include individual contact info in group messages



Thanks again for your tremendous work!
- Ryan


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Ryan

Thanks for this incredibly useful input! We will look at all your suggestions. Any more for any more, folks?

Laura
Hi Ryan

I echo Laura's comment - a big thank you for taking the time to write this down. It's all amazingly helpful, and the kind of feedback we're keen to start collecting on a more regular basis from the growing user base.

I'll let Alex, our lead developer, check through the feature questions and requests and make sure we have everything covered, and I'll take a look at some of the website language issues you raise.

Thanks again, and we look forward to letting you loose on the new version once we're all set. Very soon!

Ken

P.S. It would be great if you could upload a profile picture/image when you get a moment - you look a little 'grey'. ;o)
Hi Ryan!

Like my colleagues, I'd like to thank you once again for the great feedback you gave us!
As a developer, I'm looking with interest to what you've requested, and be sure we keep that in mind for the next versions of the software! :-)

By the way, you may be interested in something right now: when a confirmation dialog is prompted, you can confirm (click continue) by pressing the 'Space' bar instead of the 'Enter' button ;-)
Hope that helps!


Morgan \o/

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