We are excited to announce a new release of FrontlineSMS, our free and open-source desktop product. When we launched FrontlineCloud, we made a promise to continue to develop and support our desktop application. Thanks to generous support from the Open Society Foundations, we have released Version 2.3, which has a number of particularly exciting features and improvements. These include Android compatibility, as well as the ability to create custom message routing rules, allowing users to send messages through multiple connections. And there's more! You will see our continued commitment to our desktop application throughout 2014. At our recent staff retreat, we laid out criteria for the next desktop release, with some very exciting new features and improvements. We created a web page to keep track of the changes introduced to FrontlineSMS, and it will be updated with each new release.
Below, we highlight just a few of the changes made to the application:
FrontlineSMS now supports SMSSync, an Android application from our friends at Ushahidi that allows you to sync text messages from an Android phone to FrontlineSMS. You’ll need a local area network or Internet access to use this feature. We still support modems and mobile phones; SMSSync just represents an additional way to connect to the people you care about.
Custom Routing Preferences
We now allow you to set custom routing preferences among your connections. For example, you can instruct FrontlineSMS to respond to users via the phone number they texted first. Or, you can prioritize your phone numbers so that you are using your preferred connection first. This feature has been requested by many users, and we’re excited to add it to this list!
A Powerful Way to Manage Your Messages: Custom Activity Builder
The new Custom Activity Builder lets you link several actions together based on a single keyword or incoming message. For instance, you can add to or remove a sender from a group, forward a message, send an autoreply … or combine all of the above. It gives you a new way to have FrontlineSMS perform several tasks at the same time … all automatically.
An Easy-to-Use Translation Manager
We’ve improved the process for users to translate both FrontlineSMS and FrontlineCloud and we are adding new languages constantly. Don’t see a language you need? Is a current language not specific to your dialect? Contact us, and we can give you access to translate into any language or dialect of your choice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Editing and Importing
We’ve added a new contact import tool, which will help you organize your column headings before finalizing your contact import. No more guessing as to whether your column headings are correct; we allow you to edit them during the import to ensure everything is accurate. We’ve also improved the contact editing page so that edits looks cleaner.
Improved Visual Cues
We’ve made some small improvements to visual cues in the app, but we think they have a big effect on the user experience. For instance, now notifications appear next to activities when you receive a message, so you won’t miss anything important! The application also assists with showing phone number formats and shows a country flag next to each phone number — all with the goal of helping you ensure you’re reaching the right person.
And stay tuned …
We are committed to releasing a number of great features in the next few months. Stay tuned for a new version of FrontlineSMS desktop soon!