Monday, March 22, 2010

Export / Import Data as CSV & Bulk Delete in iFreeTools CRM and Creator

A new upgrade to our Google App Engine powered CRM application and Online Database App-creator, has added support for Exporting and Importing data in CSV format, along with support for bulk-delete.

Exporting and Importing of data as CSV enables you to
  • store a backup of your data
  • import new data in bulk
  • restore back old-data at a later date, if required, from the back-up
  • take away your data at any time from our database - No vendor locks.

In this blog post, we will have an overview of this new feature, as used in iFreeTools Creator, the approach will be similar in iFreeTools CRM too.

In the default list views, there will now be an option under More Actions to Export as CSV and Import from CSV as shown below..

First export the data as a CSV file and store it locally. This file acts as a backup of the existing data and can also be used as a template to add new data.

You can use any spreadsheet application which supports editing of CSV files. We will use Google Docs for this feature preview. Use the upload option to upload the CSV file to Google Docs..

The spreadsheet will be loaded and will show the entries as present in the iFreeTools database..

We can now add / modify entries in the spreadsheet. We will add 2 new records - of which 1 record will have values in unicode (Tamil language) and update the existing records by adding some notes. The changes made to the spreadsheet are highlighted in the image below..

Now download the modified file from Google Docs, by choosing from the menu File > Download as > CSV (current sheet). Now you can upload the file to iFreeTools. Choose the Import from CSV option and specify the file downloaded from Google Docs and click on Import..

This will import the data into iFreeTools' database, as shown below..

Notice that 2 new entries have been added, with proper handling for unicode characters and that 3 existing records have been updated with notes. The status message on top also provides the details of the import.

Further changes to the imported data can be performed using the Bulk Edit feature, which was added recently.

This update also includes the Bulk Delete option, available under More Actions.

Hope you like our new features. If you face any issues or have suggestions, feel free to use the feedback form in our application.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Custom Actions now supported in Google App Engine powered iFreeTools CRM and Creator

When we added the Bulk Edit feature recently to our Google App Engine powered CRM and our Online Application Builder for App Engine, we had mentioned that we were to make "Custom Actions" available next.

And with today's upgrade, it is now available.

When performing bulk operations, you will now have an option to provide a name for the bulk-edit operation. For admin users one can additionally specify if the Custom Action needs to be available for all users or just for you. In the sample screen-shot below, we are adding a Rented-out custom action, which sets Vacant property as False (unchecked in form)..

And after this proceed with the bulk-edit operation as usual. This will apply the bulk-edit changes and also create a custom action which will be available under More Actions, as shown below.. In the screen-shot the bulk-action buttons (Bulk Edit and Rented-out) will remain disabled, until one or more rows are selected.

You can get to know more details of the Custom Actions by clicking on Action Details. This will list the details of the accessibility of the Custom Action, along with details on the attributes that get changed by the action and if you have the privileges, an option to delete the action, as shown in the image below..

While one can also provide the same custom action name in the bulk-edit form to update an existing custom action, it is just as easy to just delete the action and add it again.

Hope you like the new feature. Feel free to send in your feedback.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Building a simple Issue-tracker application on Google App Engine.. Online.

In this blog post we will walk through the steps in creating a simple issue-tracker application over Google App Engine, using iFreeTools Creator.

Login into iFreeTools Creator (no signup required, your Google Account is sufficient) to start building the application.

The overview of the steps involved..

Edit App Settings under Admin and rebrand your application..

As you might notice, there are options to further rebrand the application providing your logo and also to map the application to your Google Apps sub-domain. But we will leave that for now.

Add an entity to store the Bug / Issue details..

We have allowed the viewing of bug database for guest role users. While to create/edit/delete bug entries, they need to have user or admin role.

Add required attributes..

Our Bug database requires to store the following attributes..
  • Tester
  • Title
  • Description
  • Steps to reproduce
  • Severity
  • Date logged
  • Date closed
  • Notes

Add Tester attribute as a reference to User system-entity..

Notice that the attribute data-type for Tester is Reference and the referenced entity is User - which is a system entity.

Similarly add Title as a String and, Description and Steps to reproduce as a Text attributes. Next will be define Severity..

Adding severity with options to choose from..

The options provided are Critical, Major, Minor and Cosmetic.

Proceed to add Date logged and Date closed attributes with data-type as Date.

That is it.

Now, we are ready to start using our Bug-Tracker App

The form for adding a bug will look like the one given below..

Once added, the bugs will get listed in a Bugs list view..

You may also add users, whom you want to provide access. Just provide their email-id associated with a Google Account. Sample user entries added to the application..

Users with guest role can only view the bug lists. While users with admin and user roles can add modify bug details.

Now we can proceed to add more more bug entries to our bug database..

iFreeTools Creator automatically detects attributes which can be used for charts and provides them readily accessible. The data can be visualized in 3 chart types - Horizontal and Vertical (column) Bar charts and Pie Charts.

Bar Chart visualization..

Pie Chart visualization..

Hope you like the features in iFreeTools Creator. If you have any further queries, feel free to write to or use our feedback form.

Related :
Also See :

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Google Accounts & Google Apps user-accounts - authentication options in Google App Engine

The issue discussed in this specific post has been solved. We have now added support to enable Google Apps users to login directly into iFreeTools CRM & Creator.

So, no more confusions.. no more work-arounds.
You may skip this post.

This is a short note on the default authentication modes possible with Google App Engine and how we have configured it for our free CRM and our online application builder apps.

There are 2 modes in which applications can be deployed over Google App Engine..
  • Open to all Google Accounts --or--
  • Restricted to a specific Google Apps domain.

Our default application instances (with application identifiers sahasvat-ifreetools for CRM and sahasvat-ifreetools-creator for Creator) are deployed in the first mode, so as to enable access to users with normal Google Accounts.

Since Google wants to treat Google Accounts and Google Apps accounts differently, it can create confusions for users. This means that users with just a Google Apps user-account cannot login to access our default apps.

There are 2 suggested approaches for this scenario..
  • Creating a new Google Account using your Google Apps email-id and proceeding to use the application for free.
  • Have a separate application instance deployed for you over App Engine, with authentication restricted to your Google Apps domain. For details on such a custom deployment, with optional customizations, kindly refer to

You may also read the following blog post which details the confusions caused by the different account types and options to have things working..
Fixing the Google Account problem [].

We also plan to offer a free deployment - equivalent to the $299/year plan, but with ads - to enable Google Apps authentication for such deployments. If you are interested, use the feedback form or send an email to request for details on using such a deployment.

With the OpenID & OAuth support in Google App Engine's road-map, these confusions can be avoided altogether.

If you have any further queries, feel free to write to or use our feedback form.

The issue discussed in this specific post has been solved. We have now added support to enable Google Apps users to login directly into iFreeTools CRM & Creator.

So, no more confusions.. no more work-arounds.
You may skip this post.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bulk Edit feature now available in the Free CRM for Google App Engine

Our recent upgrade now enables Bulk-Edit feature in our Google App Engine powered Free CRM and Free Online Database Application Builder apps.

While many could have used such features in other apps, just giving an overview of the feature for those who may be new to the feature.

From the list views, select one or more records and then click on the "Bulk Edit" button.

This will bring up the bulk-edit form. In this all the form input elements will be disabled by default. You may enable the form elements for attributes to be modified by selecting appropriate check-boxes and then proceed to enter the values for those attributes. Once you have updated the required fields with values, click on Save.

This will update the previously selected record instances with new values, changing values for those attributes enabled in the form. Other disabled attributes will remain unchanged. (The modified records, with the changed value for owner, are shown highlighted in the following view..)

Coming up next will be options to create "Custom Actions", using which frequent edit operations can be saved as a Custom Action and invoked with a single click, instead of filling in forms again and again.