Once we had built the flow store (a generic method of linking your collections together) it became apparent that the powerful bits of GeneralFlows were the collections themselves. The flows needed to be brought closer in, to make them more usable. So we set about refactoring the app, to do exactly this. Now done, it is more of a one-screen application, and so feels a lot like a spreadsheet or database might on your desktop. To this end we’re now calling it a ‘database’, but we’re at pains to point out it is a nice, usable database!
After we had built the two flows (Who and Where) we could see the common patterns. So we threw away the repeated code and instead produced the Flow Store. This lets you define your own flows. Instead of relying on the flows we supply, you can now define anything you want to connect your collections.
- Who: was the first flow
- What: is your stuff, in collections
- Where: is our latest flow, which lets you record where your stuff is stored
Available right away for everyone using GeneralFlows.
It is very simple, but we’ve now got our first flow out there: ‘who’, which tracks who currently has a piece of your stuff. You can assign something to one of your colleagues via the ‘Flows’ popdown menu in the Stuff Manager - and if you need a bigger list of colleagues, go to the ‘You’ menu to add some new ones.
|—||We’ve (finally) released a flow for GeneralFlow, called ‘who’, which allows you to track who has your stuff.|
We’ve begun fleshing out how sets work. The Set Manager is out there, and lets you add stuff from all your collections into one set. So for example you can put a laptop and a projector in a presentation set, which makes it super-quick to then do things such as book it out to people. And we’ve added Packing Lists, too. They don’t do much yet… but they will one day help you fill out a set by describing what should be in it. What’s this mean? In the above example, your presentation set could have a Packing List of one laptop and one projector, then you can fill the set with your Dell laptop and your Sony projector.
PS: if anyone noticed any downtime recently, sorry - our EC2 zone was having issues after a power outage so we’ve skipped over to another zone to get back to normal (we hope).
Now real people have built collections, we’ve noticed they added more columns than we used for testing and the collection display got too wide and became unusable. We’ve hopefully fixed this now, by adding table horizontal scrolling and a widget to let you show/hide the collection’s columns.
You can now delete a column and so change the design of your collection by deleting unwanted columns then adding new ones. Before too long, we hope to let you rename columns, too, and eventually re-order them. Changing a column’s type, though, might be quite hard; it might prove easier to delete the old column and add a new one with the new type.
We’ve added date and time columns to the collections. There’s a couple of ways you might find this useful…
Firstly, obviously, for recording date and time data! If you use GeneralFlows as an HR database, for example, you can now add a ‘Date of Birth’ column and store dates in that.
Secondly, as a really lightweight task manager. If you were managing a collection of machinery, you could add a column ‘Next service date’ and put a date in that for when the machines next need a check. If you sort by this column you can then find the machines that need servicing next.
The time column is very simple, and helps you pick a time from the 24hr clock.
Later on, we’re planning on releasing a proper Tasks flow, which will let you assign a task to any item of stuff, with an associated deadline. You will be able to assign the task to a colleague, too.