Sunday, March 26, 2006


Thank you for the good sw.
I've only 2 questions:
  • Can I store my data file on a remote server?
  • Can I share the data file?

If you read the Support page, you will see

Q: I would normally store all my data files in "My Documents", so I can easily backup the whole folder. I see Open Contacts always load the address book file "default.gdb" in the Data folder under the program folder. For some reason, I don't want to install Open Contacts under "My Documents", can you provide a solution?

A: When you look at the program folder, you will find a file named "main.ini". Open it with Notepad, you will see an item "Database=default.gdb". After you change it into "Database=c:\My Documents\Somewhere\default.gdb" and re-launch the program, the program will locate the file under "c:\My Documents\Somewhere\".

For remote file, it could be something like "\\RemoteServerName\ThePath\.....".

Only one user could open the file at the same time by default. If you want a few users share the db at the same time, you will need to install Firebird/Interbase database server.

Taking a look at your suggestions on how to deal with the AND feature, it would definitely be incredibly useful and powerful to be able to search by the categories field, so you can select “category” as one of the fields, and put in multiple categories. It would also be quite useful to have another drop down that allows you to do “and/or”- so you can return records that match any of the conditions, or all of them. Quite a simple task I would think, but an incredible feature! But I still argue that having the ability to select multiple categories from the quick search option- i.e. from the people category window- would be useful, have something like the ability to pretty the ctrl key and select multiple categories. In that way, you could use the less resource intensive quick sort method rather than have to implement a full proper search through the search function.

I agree that the required fields thing could be quite messy, and really mess up the design- I’m convinced by your argument!

As for the interfacing with other calendar programs, could you provide examples of what applications I could use to interface with the calendar? I definitely have a budget I could play with and if your company provides solutions that plug into open contacts or work hand-in-hand with it, I’d be more than willing to pay for it. Just point me in the right direction and I can see if it’s what I’m looking for!


As you probably know a lot IT, you know it should not be difficult to implement this "And Categories" feature, at least easier than recursive categories implemented. You know things need to be balanced. The main navigation windows like the Initials window and the categories window are essentially quick searches, with single mouse click. So such a powerful "And Categories" feature is not appropriate to be presented in these windows. I am thinking of 2 solutions:
1. In the Search window, conditions can include selected categories.
2. or you define these contacts in both categories, so when you click either of the categories, you will see them.

How do you think?

Regarding to item A, Required field is not friendly to end users basically, in respect of both home users and company users, though there are a lot programs apply required fields, but they are bad examples of UI designs.

Regarding to item B, Open Contacts tries to interface well with other calendar programs and Email programs, while Open Contacts provides COM interfaces for other programs to interface.

By the way, we developed a few business extensions through COM integration, or extending the database structure sharing by standalone companion programs, while the contact management part remained free.

Regarding to "And Categories", we will put it to the evaluation of UI. Stay tune.

Did you read the developer section of the Open Contact homepage?

There are articles about the COM interfaces, and source codes of Open Contacts for Google Desktop.

For example if you prefer MS Outlook as calendar, you may develop an Outlook add-on which can read data from Open Contacts, and have data pass to Outlook.

As both MS Outlook and Open Contacts provide rich COM interfaces, the interaction between two programs can throughfully adapt your business processes.

If calendar program is Sunbird, you might need a bit skill of of XCOM....

I am pretty sure you have done researches on many CRM, and PIM programs. I think you probably wander between integrated solutions and loose coupling solutions. To give you clear evidences, I would like to point out:
Open Contacts focuses on contact info management, providing native extension to other Windows programs like Email programs, telephony, skype, and map services etc. While Open Contacts have a rich list of features with relatively simple interfaces, there is still a long list of features to be implemented, in respect of contact info management alone. We don't have plan to integrate calendar, tasks, notes etc. , while trying to provide interfaces and bridges to other programs.

First of let me comment on how fantastic this application is! Thanks so much for sharing this with the public!

Some feature requests:

1) Have a locking feature so for e.g. if in a network of computers one person is editing a record, another person either cannot open the record or is told that the record is currently being modified.

2) Have an AND capability in the people categories. For e.g. I want to see if someone is a Relative AND a Business.

Regarding to item 2, you may click on the Category button in the Edit Contact window, you will see categories of the person.

In respect of item 1, this will be an option in the future, as part of the sync. strategies.

I have one question concerning Open Contacts:
how can I send e-mails to contacts using ALL e-mails registered in one contact? For example, if I have 3 different e-mails for each contacts how can I send automatically e-mails to ALL the e-mail addresses I have registered.

Do you think you are going to do this kind of operation very often?

Anyway, just do copy/paste for this occasion.

I'm living in the Netherlands I am want to give Open Contacts a try.
Alas, Open Contacts causes a systemcrash when I try to install the program (I hard rest is needed).
I'm using an "old" computer with an AMD 350 mhz processor, an 8 Gb hard disk and Win98 SE with all patches. I'm using IE6, also with all patches..
Can you advise me about solving this problem.
BTW: using the add/remove option in the control panel I saw that is version is a beta?!

Since Microsoft had stopped supporting win98, and so the minimum setting is win 2000, especially the after v2.0, OC supports Unicode. I was surprised the installation program allowed to install, because I had set it to check OS first. Anyway, somehow there's no win98 machine around for me to test.

I want to roll out open contacts onto my network but have a couple of question:

1) Is it possible to define permissions eg so only certain people are able to add/edit/delete?

Access rights are defined only in the Pro version not yet released.

2) Is it possible to do mail shots and mail merges from within OC?

To send mail to multiple addresses, selected multiple contacts. Please check manual for detail.

To do mail merge, first export data to CSV/Excel/vCard, then use your favoriate program to do the merge and the mailing.

Joseph Hume wrote:

I must say that I love Open Contacts on Windows. It was a 'challenge' getting used to the new interface.

My Question is "Will there be a linux port?". Having gotten pretty fed up with the stance of micro$oft, I have moved to Debian Linux on my primary desktop. I have been trying to make the program run under crossover office with no luck... I had to create the software\clients\mail key (Open Contacts throws major errors if it doesn't exist and isn't populated with something...), More loop problems trying to mount the default database. I will have to compare the install vs my windows install to see what is different.

In this simple users opinion, having Linux support would give your product an immense value especially since it can run off of removable media. Imagine, two installs (one windoze, one linux) both using the same database... Use it at home on the linux box, use it at work on the windoze box... It would be awesome!

Joseph Hume

It is interesting you tried to run the program on Linux through an emulation. Regarding to the exception of registry, a recent release should fix that. It could be good if you state the exact version number in the subject line so I knew what you had. Now I just tell you the latest version is v3.7.0.366.

Please let me know your evaluation of running on Linux, and I and many Linux users would appreciate that if you may share your experiences. I will try to fix any problem of running on Linux as long as we keep close contact.

Have you tried again on Linux with v3.7.3?

Hi Support,
I recently downloaded Open Contacts V3.6 to share with other computers in the office.
I have downloaded Firefox and completed the instructions copy 'udfoc.dll' from Open Contacts and paste into Firefox folder 'udf'. Then I went to the next step of changing 'database=default.gdb' on the client machine. Once changed, it prevents open contacts from opening on that machine until I return it to its original form. What am I doing wrong?
At the time of installing Open Contacts onto both the main server and the client machine, I installed 'Full installation for all users sharing the same database' therefore I found the 'main.ini' folder saved under 'Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Shared Contacts, is this correct?
Correct. This is for all users on the same computer sharing the local database. If you right click on the program shortcut to see property, you will see the startin folder is different from the target folder. OC will locate the INI and other data through the Startin folder.
In addition, we are already running a mimer server to link an accounts program to all client machines, therefore could this have something to do with not being able to find the database or not connecting the program 'Open Contacts' properly to all machines?
OC can talk to a standalone firebird server, as long as the INI file can provide correct parameters. You may modify the INI manually, or through the Options window.
Finally, the main computer's network name (main server - which was provided previously for the accounts program currently running) is 'Frontdesk'. Would this have something to do with changing the default.gdb field?
You may send me the INI file you modified after a few tries, and then I can have a look. OC was upgraded to v3.7.1 .

BTW, the icons in your Email could easily make your mail be regarded as spam

I have totally failed to import my prior contacts from Outlook 2003. As an alternative, I exported my list to a CSV file and reduced the number of columns to 72, then followed all your instructions. I could not import the CSV file either. I can not spend the time reimputting these 700 contacts manually but want to evaluate your software.

There could be thousands of reasons why the importing did not work. At least you can assume I was not sitting besides you seeing any possible block on your computer. You won't blame your car won't go anywhere when the road is blocked, would you? If you still have willingness of using the program, to resolve the issue of importing from Outlook, please give more specific description of what was happing when importing.

letters about categories

I use Open Contacts just a while and have linked people to my customer-companies. I linkes them e.g. with responsibilizy (e.g. IT-Leader )
I would like to get a list of all IT Leaders from category customers to send them an email.
Filtered by category then by relationship? If so, some coming planned features will make this possible: In the Search window, you will be able to select categories, and relationship. Of course, this won't be a tomorrow release. Just stay tune.

Is this possible (only getting the list out of oc - sending email could do another program).
You can do this in OC, pls read the manual for details. And you can do it through mail merge as well.

Features of Open Contacts

Open Contacts is an address book program (contact and relationship management) providing unified, flexible and intuitive interfaces for you to manage and lookup contact info of individuals and organizations.

Essential Features:
1. Unlimited data fields to store any contact info. Along with preset fields, you may add unlimited data fields grouped by section.
2. Interlink contact info of individuals, organizations and departments.
3. Comprehensive Categories. You may click on a category to view contacts of the category, or right click to list contacts of subcategories recursively.
4. Search through any data field, and search birthday of people.
5. Import from MS Outlook, Outlook Express (WAB), Eudora, Netscape/Mozilla Thunderbird, XML (xCard), CSV and vCard.
6. Export to indented text, CSV, Excel, vCard, XML (xCard) and HTML.
7. Interact with Windows applications of telephony, Skype, emailing or Web/File browsing etc.
8. Map service with Google Maps, supporting single line address and multi-line address.
9. Print contact info and labels with built-in functions or external label printing programs.
10. Attach photos and files .
11. Portable. The program is portable running on external devices such as a USB drive or memory stick.
12. LAN supports for multiple users in Local Area Network, using true Client/Server architecture.