Contact View New Features

Search Highlighting

One of our users suggested that we integrate Contact View with the Contact Lookup applications so that it highlights the search text when viewing the contact details.

This was a great idea, he even suggested that we could ‘scroll’ to the search text too, to help make it easier to find.

So that latest versions of Contact View (from v2.4.0) will do exactly that. All instances of the search text are highlighted in blue where it appears in the contact data. When viewing contacts, the view will ensure that the first section that contains the text will be scrolled into view. This scrolling works with text in the headers too, although this is not highlighted.

Here’s a couple of screen shots that shows the search text highlighted.

To get this to work, you will need to install the latest version of either Contact Lookup Pro or Contact Lookup Fast. You can find all out applications on the Android Market, er, Google Play site.

Thanks to Joel for suggesting this.

HTML Notes

Whilst doing this work, we realised that we could enhance the notes capability tremendously if we supported HTML in notes. Just look at the long note above, it’s barely readable. The screen shot below shows a note that supports HTML, and it’s far easier to read.

Even better, we can use the native features of Android to support links to other applications. So as well as being able to click on web page URI’s, you can also embed other Android protocols in your HTML and it will open the correct application! Isn’t Android great 🙂

Below are some of the supported protocols:

  • tel: for telephone
  • sms: for SMS
  • mailto: for email
  • geo: for maps
  • sip: for Internet phone
  • http: for web pages

In theory, you could add any protocol and if there is a supported application, it will open it.

We wouldn’t recommend using your phone to format HTML notes, it would be too painful using the soft-keyboard. Instead, copy your notes from the Gmail Contacts page into an editor and apply the correct formatting, save this as HTML and copy this back to your contact note. The HTML support is limited, this page on the Commons Blog gives some detail of what is supported.

As an example, the section below is the HTML used to generate the text in the above screen shot.

<h1>HTML Formatted Notes!</h1>
Contact View now supports HTML formatted notes.
It's mainly limited to styling HTML, but it can make your notes more readable in Contact View.
Here's some <b>Bold Text</b> with <i>italics</i> and <u>underlining</u> too!</b>
<p/>
<font color="red">Red text, anyone?</font>
<p/>
We can even include anchor tags with 
<a href="http:\\softwyer.wordpress.com">automatic hyperlinks</a> that open a web page.
<p/>
<b>Further more</b>, our links can use Android recognised protocols,
 so <a href="tel:07888656013">this link</a> will open the phone dialog!
<p/>
The supported protocols are:
<p/>
<font color="red">tel:</font> for telephone
<br/>
<font color="yellow">sms:</font> for SMS, 
<a href="sms:07888656013">Click to message</a>
<br/>
<font color="cyan">mailto:</font> for email, 
<a href="mailto:karl@softwyer.com">Click to mail softwyer</a>
<br/>
<font color="lime">geo:</font> for maps, <a href="geo:53,9">Click to see map</a>
<br/>
<font color="purple">sip:</font> for Internet phone, 
<a href="sip:12345678899">Click to call</a>
<p/>

HTML limitations

The Android TextView control does have some limitations which may make this problematic. One of the issues is that any HTML that it does not understand is ignored. This means that if your notes have some text wrapped in angle brackets (< or >) then it could be ignored and not displayed in the note.

To avoid this, there is some simple logic in the renderer that tries to check if the document is a HTML document, or just some plain text with angle brackets. This isn’t foolproof, so if you find this is more trouble than it’s worth, let us know and we’ll add an option to not render any note as HTML.

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2 thoughts on “Contact View New Features

  1. Such nice updates to an already great set of products.
    Keep up the innovation, it rocks my world!

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