Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NightHawk Intro

Folks have been asking me: Why do a new calendar & contact program? Why not just do another rev of Now Up-to-Date & Contact? Well, here goes...

About NUDC

Now Up-to-Date & Contact first came into people's lives in the early '90s. Over the last decade-and-and-half, NUDC has grown from System 6 to System 7 to Mac OS 8 to Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. It's been adapted to Windows 9x/NT/XP. NUDC has its own database code, its own networking code, its own UI management code. It even implements its own web server for its web publishing.

At this point NUDC contains about 1,200,000 lines of code developed by Now Software -> QualComm -> Power On Software -> Now Software engineers. And while the code quality is reasonably good, it only takes a few needles in a 1.2M line haystack to cause problems. Just modifying the code to keep up with OS changes takes a lot of effort. Plus (as you've seen) it is difficult to make sweeping changes to the code, especially graphical user interface (GUI) changes. If we stayed with the current code base we'd have to continue taking small steps. We want more.

NightHawk Overview

Our new software base (codename: "NightHawk") is a complete re-implementation of NUDC from the bottom up. It has a SQL database backend, industry standard networking code, industry standard encryption code, and runs on an Aqua GUI for Mac and a .NET GUI for Windows. NightHawk forms the basis for all of our future development projects. The first product released on the NightHawk code base will be our new integrated calendar and contact manager. This new release implements the current feature set of NUDC plus essential new features. But NightHawk is more than just a replacement for NUDC5. NightHawk is a platform for business management software where we can add integrated support for whole new kinds of functionality.

NightHawk Roadmap

NightHawk is currently in active development. At this time, all of our NUDC engineers have moved over to NightHawk and we'll only be doing further releases under the NUDC5 code base as necessary. NightHawk will go through a series of releases, where our first public beta is scheduled for June 2007. At that point we expect the code to be usable and reasonably solid.

NightHawk Blog

This blog is a place where I and members of my team can talk about NightHawk and the software industry, and where you can give us your feedback and insights. NightHawk is near and dear to my heart. It's been a 100+ hour per week project where I can pursue software done right. I hope you enjoy using it as much as I and my team enjoy developing it!



Stephen said...

Good to hear that the NUDC team will be starting from scratch. I have been a NUDC user since v.1 and introduced it to our school many years ago, where it has work pretty solidly, but, yes, it is past its prime. I was rather disappointed with v.5, especially the contact module.

I am really looking forward to seeing how well the NUDC team have tackled the task of keeping the NUDC simple but powerful.

Good luck.

Allen Hancock said...

Hey John,
It was a pleasure meeting you in SF.

Looking forward to seeing this go beta. It will make generating buzz around the project even easier!

joluMark said...

Like Stephen above I have been a user since v.1. It is an important part of my day and my Palm Treo. I am looking forward to solutions/improvement to the to-do function, catagory lists, Contact files and the unmappable error that occur between Palm and NUDC. And the sync issues!

Robert said...

Please allow all the sidebars to be optional and switchable - what is fine on a 23 inch display needs slimming on my 12inch PB

Looking forward to full Sync services including .Mac as well as phone and PDA sync

Robert said...

PS more Wishlist

still talking small screns. How about a global Quick Contact HOT KEY without having to have a menu bar icon ?

Also the possibility to flip the bottom function/search bar to the top, for those of use who like to work top down. Also probably be more efficient mousing with all menus and functions at the top

Cheers, Robert in London

Peg Syverson said...

I would love to have a robust journal included with NUD, so that I can keep more notes about what has happened, reflections, book recommendations, quotes, and so on.

Also important to me is a solid print capability. I use NUDC both ways: on the computer, and in print form. One of the great strengths of NUDC was the capability (not found in any other calendar program I've checked out) to print two weeks worth of multi-day views on one 8 X 11 page. I print on one side only and punch the pages to put into a Circa binder from Levenger. The blank back of the page is used to make notes for the facing calendar page. This works extremely well, keeps two weeks in view and allows for notes on the opposite page. I can quickly flip back through the notes to find the exact date my car was rear-ended, the notes I made about the insurance company, rental car and so on.

Like others, I've been using NUDC since it first came out, and I'm looking forward to Nighthawk.
Best wishes with it!

Wilson said...

This blog is a good communication tool for us to see what's happening behind the current.

After almost two years of silence, it's nice to hear from the Now team.

I know they've been busy learning new software environments and getting up to speed with all the changes on both the Windows and MacOS side, it can be quite a task.

I almost gave up Now for dead after not hearing from them in ages.

Can't wait for the public beta.

I'm hoping that there will be a flexible report function. I kinda liked the Daylite reports feature. Reports are one of the most important features of personal information management programs. I hope reports don't get the short end of the stick.

Well, from what little we've seen from the QuickTime movies and discussions, NightHawk will become the premiere PIM. Hopefully it won't be the fiasco that SOHO Organizer is.

Thanks for the blog....

Jak Keyser said...

Glad to learn of Nighthawk. I'm also a user of NUDC since day 1. I make every phone call with NUDC. My biggest fear has been that my call histories would not be compatible with any demise of NUDC or upgrade or switch to other product.

I have a certain type of memory deficit that your software helps me with. My customers think I have amazing memory because I know what we talked about in any phone conversation in the past going back as far as 10 to 13 years or just a couple of weeks. I would not be working without NUDC.

I haven't seen anything on the website about the Contact part of NightHawk. I hope the history of records stay intact.

I'd like to be able to do group emails with a record of the content and addresses of the email-- even if it was only composed and addressed in the Contact module and sent to the default mail program to actually send it.

It would be nice to have "to-dos" and "phone calls to be made" show in both the task list and in the contact record. Maybe "done" items in the contaact record are in black, while outstanding to-do items in list are in color, or have a checkbox to indicate state.

Please give us a peek at the contact features.

Arnie said...

NightHawk Development Team,

I needed, and still do, a Contact Manager! The journey to NUDC started with a program called Touch Base, which was great, and eventually became part of Now. I truely hope that "NightHawk" will provide a full featured, solid and easy to use Contact Manager. I thank the Development Team for their efforts so far. I look forward to the "release" version, maybe software with a shorter name....

Best of Luck,
Arnie of San Mateo

Kempy said...

As much as I dislike XPs pls don't forget 100% synch with PC's - not having keywords on PC makes life very hard-I work with a mac and travel with a PC so need the best in both worlds.

Like Jak "I have a certain type of memory deficit" and when clients call after several yrs and I identify them on my mobile they are very impressed. Now all we need is a simple system to extend to dialing and identyfing calls on digital phones, not just PSTN.

One more thing, pls tell your web site people that 'help line' opening times in the USA do NOT mean much for users from elsewhere in the world - I don't know what time zone you are in so as well as your local time list GMT! It does make life a lot easier-espec when calling from down under.

William Gallagher said...

I, too, am very much looking forward to NightHawk - though I'm disappointed that it seems to have slipped already. Wasn't Spring the release date? Now a beta in June suggests the final release won't be for many more months.

I'll wait. I've never found a PIM as good as Now Up to Date and Contact, but it has also been frustrating some times: the persistent QuickDay menu bar problems, for instance.

And I imagine performance must be better in NightHawk. As it is, the time it takes to tick an item as in progress and then tick it again to say done can be so slow that I don't bother. And I end up with dozens of tasks I have done but neither marked nor deleted.

Consequently I end up not coming back to NUDC to mark tasks as done; then not coming to it to enter new tasks, then just not coming to it.

And as a result I have phone numbers and my schedule all over the place, across multiple applications and Word documents. I'm a mess in this line and am hoping NightHawk will help me.

Even if it just allowed me to select several tasks and delete them in one go, that'd be a boon.


NightHawk said...

Thanks for all the well wishes! My life kind of revolves around NightHawk right now, and I deeply appreciate your encouragement and faith!

I'll be blogging about the NightHawk feature set in later blogs, including how NightHawk handles contacts, calendars, and specific features of QuickContact/QuickDay (yes to "robert", you can have a global hotkey without having the menus in the menubar, and the GUI will be configurable to the search bar is at the top.)

Unfortunately, this blogging software isn't very good at two way communication like a threaded forum would be. Anyone have any attractive and functional forum software to recommend?


Bacchus said...

vBulletin is great and very reasonably priced forum software, and it runs on Macs!

I'll just throw in a couple thoughts - I've been with Now since v3, and used Daymaker before that. We're using the software for our small business, in a mixed win/mac environment, and it's been pretty solid, though the Win version is getting awfully stale.

My #1 request is some kind of remote sign-in - right now remote users either need to VPN in, or have their IP address given special access to ports 3167/8 - it'd be great to be able to offer those ports to external IP's, and have controlled, secure access.

#2 is faster server updates, or at least better handling of inputs made during updates. We have a rash of items that show up as 'New Appointment' because someone created the item, typed in a title, and closed the window, all before the server reports back that the item was created, and wipes the info entered. Very frustrating for users to have to go back and re-enter constantly, or to have to slow down and wait for the software to catch up.

LOVE how well current versions sync to Palm/Treo, and very much looking forward to this extending to other portable devices and phones.

Final request (perhaps for a future module) is to have more support for true 'contact management' a la ACT - ticklers, better support for customer/sales/prospect management, etc. The integration of calendar/contact modules can allow for keeping better track of 'in-progress' clients