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Kylom Projekt: More Than Simply Lists Print E-mail
Written by SymbianOne   
Thursday, 24 November 2005
Hierarchical list managers are probably one of those classes of application that engenders passion or apathy, but really every Symbian OS device user should have one. Richard Bloor puts Kylom Projekt through its paces to see if it fits the bill.

At first sight Kylom Projekt is a pretty standard list manager. It allows items, with a description, to be arranged into a hierarchical list. However there is a lot more to this application than that. Underneath the list management is a presentation manager and sophisticated export features, which can prepare information directly for the Internet.

Projekt is available for both UIQ and Series 80. The review will concentrate on the UIQ version with a brief review of the difference between the two products at the end.

Projekt on UIQ opens to a file list screen. It is perhaps a little non standard, from a UIQ perspective, but it allows for all the basic actions of opening existing lists, creating new ones (which can also be achieved with a shortcut "plus" icon), importing data, setting preferences and filtering files by location.

To Projekt there are only two locations for files, the device or the memory card. The folder used on either of these drives is set in Projekt's preferences, allowing Projekt files to be separated from others. The main preferences also allow Projekt's start-up behavior to be determined, with the option to skip the file list screen when it is opened and jump straight to the last open list.

The file list screen does have one slightly disconcerting habit. If the "All" option is selected and a file located on "Disk" is opened, once any editing is completed and the application returns to the file list the files are filtered on "Disk". This is one of those features that could seem like a huge benefit to some, an irritation to others. When a new file is created it is placed on the memory card unless the file list has been filtered to the phone memory.

Creating a new list displays a blank screen. The list name and an item counter are provided above the empty list. As a list is built the item counter displays a bar showing the position and extent of the displayed section. It can also be used for quick navigation, by tapping on a point to jump to in the list. At the bottom of the screen is a toolbar, with a single "plus" icon allowing list items to be added.

Adding an item is done through a three tab dialog. The first tab records the item title and defines any links. The second allows the standard item format to be overridden and the final tab allows a note to be added. The note tab also offers an interesting option to add a date and time stamp to the note.

Projekt has an interesting two mode approach to list editing and navigation. When an item is selected Projekt displays an ordering toolbar with icons to enable items to be moved up or down the list and promoted or demoted in the tree. The remaining icons enable a branch to be opened in a new window, new items to be added and the selected item edited. In this "select" mode the edit menu provides copy and paste functions.

The select mode deactivates automatically after a period (which can be set in the application's preferences). When this happens the tool bar changes to a add and navigate mode with the edit menu switching to provide a number of list manipulation functions. The Projekt menu remains unchanged and provides features to expand and collapse the tree, uncheck all items, filter the list and find items.

This switching select mode can be disconcerting at times. Also, when an item is copied select mode is automatically deactivated. As a result, if the item is to be pasted directly below the source item, it is necessary to select the item again. If the item is to be pasted elsewhere this feature is an advantage, as the application is in a mode that facilitates navigating to the point where the item is to be pasted.

As already mentioned items can be linked to other data, options exist to link to contacts, tasks, calendar items, documents and other Projekt lists.

For contacts, tasks and calendar entries there is the option to link to an existing item or create a new one. When items are linked, the existence of a link is marked with an icon. For all links, except a Projekt file, tapping on the link icon opens the linked item. Using the lists preferences, it is possible to display the name of the contact and date of a task in the list, curiously a calendar entry does not display a date.

Working with linked contact or task records could be hard, as they could be scattered throughout the tree, so Project provides "sort on name" and "order" (or sort on date) features. These options flatten the tree and sort the records. Unfortunately undated or un-named items are displayed at the top of this list which, in long lists with only a few items linked to a task or contact, it might be necessary to scroll some way before the items of interest are found. The item counter bar comes in handy in this situation to jump past any unlinked items. A similar feature also provides a flat view of the items sorted in alphabetical order.

In addition the basic list manipulation Projekt has two special modes, shopping and presentations.

In the shopping mode, obtained by a long press on the select key (the jog dial on a Sony Ericsson P series device), the list can be navigated using the jogdial and items checked by pressing the select. This mode continues until either the application is switched away from or it is explicitly stopped with "End Shopping". If the filter mode is turned on each checked item is hidden.

The second special mode is a presentation timer. This mode can be activated for any list that has a value box set to minutes or seconds. In navigation mode, clicking the select key starts this mode. A timer is displayed counting down the time set for each presentation item and the vibrator is activated when the set time is up. Pressing select moves onto the next item. An estimate of the completion time is also provided. If the presentation timing is interrupted, by an incoming call for example, the timer is stopped and can be restarted by pressing select when the interruption has finished.

At the end of a presentation an option is given to review the times. Either for each item, or globally for the whole list, the latest recorded time can be set as the new time or discarded.

Some display issues were found with the presentation feature. If the screen saver activated before the slide was complete the display only partially refreshed when returning to Projekt. So it is advisable to turn off the screen saver when using this feature.

Unfortunately there is also no way to directly import a PowerPoint presentation to form the basis of the list used in this feature. Equally the PowerPoint outline format is not in a format that can be imported into Projekt (although a simple Word macro can be used to fix this problem).

When it comes to sharing Projekt data with other, or using data from other applications in Projekt, there are several options. Projekt files can be created by importing text or OPML files. The text file import, which can only import the item name, assumes a leading tab indicates an indent. OMPL is a XML file format for sharing structured list data and can import all the details that can be recorded in Projekt.

Export offers more options. There is text and OPML to which is added an HTML option. The text file, as might be expected, exports the item titles with the tree indents indicated with tabs. OPML exports all detail. The HTML option also exports most details (details such as linked document and list files names are not included but calendar, contact and task details are.

The HTML export used one of three templates to format the output. Initially these are all the same, but can be edited in the preferences screen.

OPML makes it possible to share data with desktop OPML compliant structured list managers. Most of these seem to be Mac applications, such as OmniOutliner or Hog Bay Notebook, although the open source JOE (Java Outline Editor) runs on PCs.

A number of other outline editors can be used such as BrainStorm or NoteTab but data may need manipulating to get it into some of these applications. As these exchanges can only be undertaken with text files, only the outline and item names can be exchanged.

It is a shame that there is no export into Word format, given the availability of word editors on the UIQ platform. Such a feature would make it possible to take the content of a Projekt file and use it as the basis of a document.

As mentioned earlier, Projekt also comes as a version for the current Series 80 devices, the Nokia 9300 smartphone and Nokia 9500 Communicator. It is not identical to the UIQ version, missing some features and gaining others.

Several features follow Series 80 UI standards and therefore differ from the UIQ version. There is no file list screen in the Series 80 version, rather files are created and opened using menu options. There is also a recent files list. Gone to is the split select/navigate mode; all navigation, selection, and restructuring is done from the keyboard. Also there is no separate link option for lists, this is achieved as a document link.

There is a new feature to merge lists. This appends the content of the merged-from list to the end of the current list. Items can also be given a single letter category. This category can then be used as a way of sorting a list. The category can be used to filter items, as can the date. The feature to expand the list has gained the ability to expand only to a specific level. Where an entry is linked to a task (Series 80 to-do) the system can be set to automatically delete it when the linked item in Projekt is marked as complete. Finally notes, contacts, to-dos and calendar entries can be displayed in a split window. Notes can also be edited using a variety of rich formatting options.

There are some features of the UIQ version that are not available in Series 80. The Series 80 version is missing the shopping list mode. As Series 80 does not really offer a convenient single handed mode it is difficult to see how such a feature could be provided. Lists can however be set to filter on unchecked items and the "x" key is provided as a fast way to perform check and uncheck, so in effect the same outcome can be achieved. The strangest omission is that of the presentation timing feature, given that Series 80 devices are primarily bought by business people.

While it is probably not a common requirements, files can be shared between UIQ devices and Series 80 devices as well as between UIQ and Series 80 devices, but with some limitations. The most significant limitation is that list created on Series 80 will not open in UIQ, this is because Series 80 lists use rich text notes which the UIQ version can not handle.

Files can be sent from the file manager or from within Projekt, using the *.trz format. When a file is received on a UIQ device and opened it is automatically saved to file, while on Series 80 the file can be saved or opened. When swapping Projekt files between devices linked calendar, task and contact item may be lost or not be as expected (as the item ids used to create the links are unlikely to be identical on the receiving device) and any document links may be dangling.

While it has shortcomings Projekt works well on both UIQ and Series 80. The Series 80 version is easier to use, simply because the keyboard makes navigation and text entry more straightforward. That having been said, the UIQ version has been designed well to allow lists to be easily navigated and structured. In both versions Projekt is a very competent hierarchical list management tool. It has good credentials as a thought organizer and, as its name implies, features which allow information on tasks, event and people to stored, organized and used as an aid to management. As such Projekt should appeal to almost everyone, from the professional business user managing a large project to the personal user who mainly wants a shopping list application but occasionally want to do more. This application would certainly rate as one of SymbianOne's essential recommendations for any UIQ or Series 80 device owner.

Projekt is unfortunately not available through the SymbianOne Shop but can be purchased through RegNet from Kylom's Web site at www.kylom.com. A 30 day trial is available for both UIQ and Series 80 devices. Licensed versions cost of $24.95 for either platform.

This review was undertaken with Projekt version 1.20 for Series 80 and 1.54 for UIQ.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 November 2005 )


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