A common request I receive for Roomr is to add an ability to import room information without needing to use Exchange Room Lists. Room Lists aren’t the greatest of Exchange’s features. They are, as the name suggests, simply lists of Rooms. Whilst you can have multiple lists, you can’t nest them or organise them into a hierarchy of any kind. Further more, there is no UI available to create or maintain them. It’s all accomplished via PowerShell. This makes them even harder to use.
Enter the roomrconfig file. This file allows you to specify a list of rooms and folders, in a nested fashion, that you can import into Roomr. A sample file looks like this:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<folder name=”10, Any Street Building”>
<folder name=”First Floor”>
<room name=”Conference Room” email=”firstname.lastname@example.org” />
<folder name=”Second Floor”>
<room name=”Conference Room” email=”email@example.com” />
As you can hopefully make out, there is a folder called “10, Any Street Building”, which is broken down into two floors, each with one room. It looks something like this on an iPhone.
This is a pretty simple case, but common for larger companies that are spread over multiple floors and potentially multiple buildings. This sort of nesting also makes it very easy to search based on context. The information can then be imported into Roomr, so it’s readily available from your iPhone at any time.
The config file can be deployed as an email attachment or accessed via a link. This version of Roomr, 2.9, is currently awaiting Apple to approve for Beta testing. If you’re interested in being part of the Beta program for Roomr, please get in touch!
As always, feedback is welcome!
As part of my on going work with Roomr, I’ve recently released the beta of the new Roomr for iPad. This product is designed to be used as a meeting room status indicator and gives an “at-a-glance” status of a meeting room.
Having an iPad represent a room actually opens up some interesting possibilities. This afternoon, I started experimenting with Bluetooth and iBeacons to see how I might enhance the iPhone version of Roomr. After about three hours, I came up with this:
The iPhone performs a scan for iBeacons and retrieves the information about nearby rooms. Pretty cool. From here it’s possible to do all the usual stuff, checking the calendar, making a booking etc.
It’s all just prototyping and won’t end up in Roomr anytime soon, but it’s always good to explore the possibilities.
On a sidenote, if you’d like to be part of the Roomr for iPad beta program, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll arrange access!
Now that Roomr for iOS is nice and stable (Full AutoDiscovery implementation, full support for global timezones), my attention is now returned to Roomr for Android.
Since I released Roomr for Android back in 2013, I’ve learned plenty by developing a client app, Call My, and by tinkering on my apps Job Tracker and Job Hunter (not related!).
Working in the new Android Studio helps, but I have a long way to go with the UI :)
Update (12th July) Roomr for Android is back in the Google Play store. You can get the free version here – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tomasmcguinness.roomrfree and the Pro version here – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tomasmcguinness.roomr
Feedback, as always, is welcomed!
I’ve been experimenting with the DayView control I created for Roomr and Peopler and today I added the ability the add an appointment with touch. This mimics the behaviour of the native iOS calendar app.
You hold your find on the calendar for a second or two and an appointment appears. You can then drag up and down to position the appointment. This is a very early demo, but it seems to work pretty well.
Whilst Peopler isn’t exactly being downloaded in the millions, I’ve received *actual* feedback from users, which shows they are a) using the app and b) interested enough to email me!
One feature, which I’ve wanted to add for a while, is the ability to view the future availability of your favourites. It’s all fine being able to see a person’s availability today, but what about tomorrow or the day after? To sort this, I’ve started building a Day Picker into Peopler. This was an early mockup I did, so I could see how a horizontal date picker would work. I’ve seen this horizontal pickers and like the look of them. After some coding, I ended up with something like this.
You can see five days in advance, scrolling right will show you up to thirty days. This is an iPhone 5 screen size and I suspect the iPhone 6 will probably show 6 or 7 days. I need to experiment with this a little to ensure the auto layout works. Anyway…I digress. You can see that I’m free for the Remainder of the day. When I select a day in the future, it goes a bit wrong :)
My “availability” algorithm works off the current time and isn’t factoring in the fact that we’re dealing days in the future. This was actually a good thing as it made me realise that showing availability in this way is pointless for any date in the future. My initial feeling is that availability might be better expressed in number of appointments and actual free time.
I need to think on this a little as working hours will factor into this too. No point in telling you that somebody have seven hours free if that time is beween 5pm and midnight!
For the next release, version 1.2.0, I might just add the day picker into the schedule view. If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them!
One of the most common bugs reported in Roomr is an incorrect free/busy calculation. I’ve done a lot of work over the past few months to make this more and more intelligent, handling parallel meetings, tentative meetings and multi-day meetings. Each time I submit a version, I wonder who the next incorrect report will manifest itself!
To help make it easier for user’s to report this back to me, I’m adding more direct diagnostic options. In the last beta of Roomr 2.7.5, you can now report from the Favourites screen.
Firstly, enable Diagnostics on the settings screen.
Once back on the favourites tab, identify the room that is reporting the wrong status. Just press and hold on the row for about two seconds and an option popup will appear.
Press “Email Diagnostics” and you’ll be presented with a draft email containing the data returned by Microsoft Exchange. If there is any sensitive data in here you wish to remove, such as meeting subjects, you can edit this here before sending it to me. You can also add any relevant information that you think would be helpful.
Using this data, I can then debug the availability calculator and find out when it’s wrong!
I got an email from a prospective user of TestMDM regarding the Single App lock feature. After some reading I learned that whilst this feature only works on Supervised devices, it should be configurable with an MDM.
The App Lock is performed by installing a configuration profile on the device. TestMDM hasn’t supported the ability to install any old configuration profile, so I’ve corrected this.You can now choose a device and upload a PList file containing your configuration profile.
I’m uploading the new build to Azure as I type, so it should be ready to use shortly.