When will developers make use of AddressBook?

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
I am not a developer.



The point of Apple's new AddressBook, as I understand it, is to be the central repository of all contact information. I have yet to see this implemented.



Apps that claim to use this feature, (Daylite, Apimac AddressBook, et al) must sync with AddressBook. This of course means that the user must decide which info should override the other that is being sync'ed.



I don't want to make this decision. If I edit a contact in Daylite (or any other app with contacts) that change should be made in the AddressBook. (And vice versa.) I shouldn't have to sync this later. It should be done concurrently because you are always really working in AddressBook.



Have I totally misunderstood this central repository idea or have the software developers failed to implement it according to the concept?



So far, this has been a disappointment to me as I switched over to AddressBook anticipating this development. It seems to me that software developers are OK with the idea as long as you use their app and just sync every once in a while to keep Apple's 'Book current. That sounds like the same as it always was.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    mbezzombezzo Posts: 72member
    yeah, I hear ya there. That could be such an amazing feature. I was very surprised how long it took for envelope printing software to tie in with address book. Luckily there are several now that do, my favorite being Snail Mail.



    It's difficult to understand why developers choose to create their own address books within programs instead of tying into address book. Is it difficult to implement or something?



    Lets hope we see more software take advantage of this cool feature soon!
  • Reply 2 of 24
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kcmac

    I am not a developer.



    The point of Apple's new AddressBook, as I understand it, is to be the central repository of all contact information. I have yet to see this implemented.



    Apps that claim to use this feature, (Daylite, Apimac AddressBook, et al) must sync with AddressBook. This of course means that the user must decide which info should override the other that is being sync'ed.



    I don't want to make this decision. If I edit a contact in Daylite (or any other app with contacts) that change should be made in the AddressBook. (And vice versa.) I shouldn't have to sync this later. It should be done concurrently because you are always really working in AddressBook.



    Have I totally misunderstood this central repository idea or have the software developers failed to implement it according to the concept?



    So far, this has been a disappointment to me as I switched over to AddressBook anticipating this development. It seems to me that software developers are OK with the idea as long as you use their app and just sync every once in a while to keep Apple's 'Book current. That sounds like the same as it always was.




    Yeah...the devs are badly implementing this. But then again, I don't think it's easy to implement the Address Book support into apps.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    ibrowseibrowse Posts: 1,749member
    The AddressBook framework is there. If a developer is going to write a good app, they may as well write it right. It's not that hard to implement into an application, but to do so, and make good use of it, is another thing.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by iBrowse

    The AddressBook framework is there. If a developer is going to write a good app, they may as well write it right. It's not that hard to implement into an application, but to do so, and make good use of it, is another thing.



    True...I'm currently trying to convince Justin Wood, creator of the multi-IM client Proteus, to implement Address Book support a little better.



    Currently the Address Book support kinda sucks. So does iChat's Address Book support.



    IMO, iChat and Proteus should go take a peek inside the address book database, find all the contacts with IM accounts and set them up automatically inside your Instant Messager's contact list.



    And there shouldn't be any 'sync' buttons really...if a contact has more than one account and you decide to add it via Proteus, it should automatically update the address book by adding this account to the contact's info. And vice versa...if you suddenly realize your contact also has an AIM account in addition to his MSN account, and you add it in the contact's info inside the Address Book, Proteus should be able to know the contact's been updated, see that the contact now has an AIM account, and set it up automatically inside Proteus.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    Maybe this is something Apple needs to be more active in. This whole idea is a killer app concept if implemented. It is surprising to see that it isn't being used at all for the most part. Maybe it is harder to incorporate than us laypeople imagine. Or maybe it is just hard to get the devs to break old habits and quit creating their own little "contact" islands.



    I sent a letter to the Daylite people who are always very responsive. I just can't go on using their app with this situation of syncing their info with AddressBook. With over 2000 contacts, I shouldn't be expected to remember which ones are current and therefore which ones should override in the sync process. I am constantly editing contacts.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    mrmistermrmister Posts: 1,095member
    The $1000 question is whether Entourage's next rev will use Address Book.



    My crystal ball and instincts say 'no'.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    I have sent the Mac BU of M$ this suggestion more than once. This was the major factor that I switched from Entourage to Mail. (Other than I just appreciate how simple and clean Mail is.)



    With Entourage gaining Exchange Server support sometime this year, adding true AddressBook integration would probably push me back to it.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    Yep.

    This is one of those golden opportunities that Apple stands a very real chance of dropping the ball with....



    It's easy to come up with new ideas. It's "easy" to develop them into products. It is, apparently, difficult to remember to implement those ideas and cultivate them once they've been planted.



    Who goes around watering these things once they've been planted? Apple needs a ground crew to tend to the software and apps once they've been introduced to the community.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    Maybe I'm being too hard on them, but Apple needs to overhaul the Address Book if it wants people to think of it as a "bet the company" kind of application.



    The iTunes-like interface isn't business-like, the fonts are too small and unchangable (as far as I can see.)



    While the Apimac's new Address Book interface isn't great either, I think Apple needs to take a few hints and make the AddressBook a place that people are comfortable with and with a few more built-in options.



  • Reply 10 of 24
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    I think you're missing the point.



    Address Book is just *a* GUI front end to a backend database engine that handles all the crap.



    *ANY* developer can produce whatever GUI they want, and have it use the AddressBook.framework to handle the back end data storage. Apimac could make that exact same GUI they have now, and hook directly into the database so that a) no syncing needed, b) Mail uses it directly. This is powerful. It's sad that developers aren't using this to its full potential.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    ibrowseibrowse Posts: 1,749member
    Exactly, the AddressBook framework plays a big part under the hood of Jobs Digital Hub dream.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    That is exactly the point. Apimac has a nice look to it but it wants you to use it 100% of the time. Forget AddressBook.



    If Apimac took true advantage of Addressbook, it would be worth using. As it is, it is a waste of hard drive space.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,773member
    I do understand your points and they are well taken.



    But my point is that when you look at how people use databases, there tends to be one central data-entry point.



    For example, I use Filemaker to keep track of my contacts, since I deal with sales leads, among other things. (I looked into Daylite when I went to Jaguar, but the learning curve's a bit steep and there are no third party books available.)



    If I am continually changing contact info inside 4 or five different programs (Daylite, Mail, Fax, Palm etc.) I'm going to be wondering if I'm screwing up anything set up in the other programs when I add or delete data in one of them.



    For example, if I delete/change a contact in an AB-enabled FaxSTF, what's happens to the contact file in an AB-enabled Daylite, where critical client info could be lost.



    That said, a central source of contact data is good, but does everyone trust all the different software developers to get it right?
  • Reply 14 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    [QUOTE by Frank 777]That said, a central source of contact data is good, but does everyone trust all the different software developers to get it right?[/QUOTE]



    As it stands now, these developers have sync mechanisms that make you choose whether to keep their data and overwrite the AddressBook. Can this be trusted?



    Apimac won't use the central database because their app also works for OS 9 and they say Apple does not accomodate the Classic mode for the common database.



    Daylite says their info is too "rich" and has features that they don't find easy to use the database.



    Hopefully, Apple will continue to make improvements in the Addressbook and its framework to make it easier or more tempting to use. It is hard to say if devs really can't use the database or simply don't want to. I still believe it is the latter.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    amoryaamorya Posts: 1,103member
    I won't use any address book app that has any kind of 'sync'... it must access the data directly for me to even consider it.



    I can't see how changing any data could screw up another program - if your friend changes phone numbers, then you change her phone number in one of the address book enabled programs. The change carries through to all enabled programs, which is good.





    Amorya
  • Reply 16 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    Exactly.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Frank777

    For example, if I delete/change a contact in an AB-enabled FaxSTF, what's happens to the contact file in an AB-enabled Daylite, where critical client info could be lost.



    If you delete/change a contact in an AB-enabled FaxSTF, then that change will be reflected immediately in Daylite. Period.



    If you don't want to lose the data, don't delete it. Simple.



    And you're right, most people use databases as single-entry-points for data, *because that's how databases force them to work*. It's asinine, having to sync the same data, of the same type of data, across applications, and worry about whether developer A 'got it right' on the sync with developer B's app, and whether developer B got *their* part right, and then remembering which entries need to override which, etc, etc, etc.



    One data repository, multiple entry points. Changes made in any one of them are reflected across the board. Simple.



    It exactly parallels the Model/View/Controller method of application architecture, and it is by far the most efficient, effective, and easiest to understand methodology around.
  • Reply 18 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    This is a reply that I got from the makers of Daylite.



    "If you want the AddressBook to be your central repository then DayLite

    is not going to satisfy your needs. It wouldn't be a very smart

    business move on our part. We will sync with it but that is about it."



    Guess that says it pretty clearly. Very dissapointing I must say.

  • Reply 19 of 24
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kcmac

    This is a reply that I got from the makers of Daylite.



    "If you want the AddressBook to be your central repository then DayLite

    is not going to satisfy your needs. It wouldn't be a very smart

    business move on our part. We will sync with it but that is about it."



    Guess that says it pretty clearly. Very dissapointing I must say.





    Yeah, basically they're going to ensure you're tied to their application, no matter what. Heck, if we wanted that, we'd use Windows apps. :P



    What, they aren't confident they can maintain market share strictly on features and UI, they have to lock down your data to keep customers? Sad.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    That is exactly what I have been trying to suggest to them.



    By tying me to their app, they are actually DRIVING me away. I smell a big bloated app coming on. Sounds like the old days....



    I hope they are going to be at the Developers convention coming up. Sounds like a great workshop on the AddressBook is going to take place. Somehow, I bet devs with this attitude will only show up in their own booth pushing their glorious, most powerful app...



    EDIT: Their latest reply...



    This has nothing to do with control. It has to do with survivability.



    1) We will not base the core of our business on Apple's non-critical technology (i.e. Apple could survive without it - just look at history and you'll know why we choose to go this way).

    2) The address book database is not robust! (nevermind the fact that has limited expandability)



    We've worked hard to do synching so that contact info can get into a common place. But it would be totally foolish to base our app on it.
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