ClearContext v5: SIMPLER, FASTER, SMARTER

image Our next major release, ClearContext v5, will be about making the email management features our users have come to depend faster, more automated, and more intuitive.  We've made many incremental improvements to ClearContext for Outlook over the past year, as well as some major additions like our statistics and effectiveness components.  But we've also been working hard on the next major version of ClearContext for Outlook, and we're excited to share our plans with you. 

Our development efforts are concentrated on four areas:

  • Infrastructure & Performance
  • Message Filing & Organization
  • Project Management & Dashboards
  • Statistics & Effectiveness Measurement

Please note that we are still early in the release cycle, so a number of these details are likely to change.  We're very interested in hearing feedback about which features are most critical for you.

image Infrastructure & Performance

We’ve re-architected the ClearContext infrastructure to be more flexible with lower overhead.  This will provide a number of key benefits including:

  • Improved performance
  • Compatibility with more mail configurations
  • Support for the upcoming Outlook 2010 release

image Message Filing & Organization

Inbox management is a critical part of everyone’s day.  ClearContext v5 will make filing and organization smarter and more automated.  Key improvements include:

  • Smarter topic assignment and filing
  • Flexible topic management
  • Simplified message prioritization
  • Additional automated message filing

image Project Management & Dashboards

ClearContext v5 project management functionality will include a much stronger focus on tasks and actions, and make project dashboards much more flexible:

  • Improved summary information on projects and actions
  • Flexible project creation and organization
  • Integration of additional information
  • Additional task management and prioritization
  • Project archiving and reporting
  • Improved search and filtering

image Statistics & Effectiveness Measurement

Our initial release of statistics and effectiveness measurement focuses very heavily on email – volumes, response times, and performance.  We’re continuing to gather feedback on the data you find most useful in understanding your email activity, as well as continuing to refine the ways we measure your email management effectiveness.  If you haven’t already, please visit ClearContext Online and let us know what you would like to see there.

In addition to email, ClearContext v5 will expand elements of the statistics and effectiveness modules into areas such as tasks, appointments, and project-focused measurement.

image Next steps and beta

In order to deploy these features and enhancements as quickly as possible, we are organizing the v5 release into several stages. The initial ClearContext 5.0 release will focus on the infrastructure and filing/organization features. Additional 5.x releases will focus on the project management and statistics areas.

We haven’t finalized release dates and beta schedule yet.  Stay tuned to the blog for more details.  If you’re interested in being on the beta list, please send an email to beta at clearcontext dot com.  Thanks for your interest!

29 comments.

  1. FYI – information on support for the Office 2010 Technical Preview available here: http://online.clearcontext.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1957&p=7732#p7732

  2. ClearContext v5: Single-Click Filing

    Last month we shared our plans for making ClearContext v5 simpler, faster and smarter. This month we’re going to post additional detail on what’s coming. We want your feedback as we finalize v5 features, so please post your thoughts in…

  3. […] making ClearContext simpler, faster and smarter.  Previously we discussed v5 single-click filing and message prioritization.  Here are […]

  4. ClearContext v5 wish list
    1. Project features
    (1) Able to import a standard or MS Project tasks into it, vice versa.
    (2) A function to manage issue tracking, very similar to Topic/Thread conversation and need more features or functions. Personal project may be called Topic; Project point of view, may be called: Issue.
    (3) A dashboard or summary to show a big picture of a project view of (a) Milestone (b) Action/Task list/To Do list in current time, i.e., today, this week, or this month, or even a whole Project (c) Issue list/status in current time, i.e., today, this week, or this month, or filter by Top 10, Top 5 or Priority most group, Priority less group, Maybe (d) Customization display items.
    (4) Issue tracking system and its fields including: Tracking item no., Subject or abstract, Message itself, delegated date(needs to link to Delegation function), due date, duration, person in change, initiator(default: message sender), customization fields, initiate date, how many days take so far, and resolved/close.
    (5) Gantt chart, based on layer structure: Project/Milestone/Task/To Do list, also, if not operate like MS Project, it is a fine idea just to show the Gantt chart imported from MS Project.
    (6) Issue and Task progress bars, a tip pop up indicating its brief information while mouse cursor hovers on it.
    (7) (a) Reminder at least 3 gating points customization to set in each Task or Issue for reminder, i.e., 3 times of reminder able to set from start to due date (b) Notification alerts either by sound or text messaging, every time across the line or due date set by Milestone or Due Date. Also, a function to set alert for appointment and to do would be great.
    (8) One message could multi-link bilaterally issues, i.e., one coming mail could be linked to many To Do List items or even Tasks, vice versa.
    (9) Document Centre hyper link function: if integration to ClearContext is to slow down the performance, hyper link or reference function for query to a database in which collects all document or attachment, and summary report containing fields: document name, created date, given by, …etc, is required. Also, each issue or task should support a hyper link button or referencing click to open for reading these document.
    (10) Contact collects from email and able to group into Contact of MS Outlook in which added in a function indicating which project is working for.
    (11) Base line project set and snap milestone as a comparison base. Many base lines set is required. If it is not an option to develop, at least, it should support to import Base Line of MS Project and sync function.
    (12) Budget control, it does a comparison of Base Line budget in which Resource or equivalent cost, either imported from, i.e., MS Project, or ClearContext built-in, and Actual cost and sync function.
    (13) Actual cost tracking system, it collects every activity such Task or Issue cost entry or information, and turns them into cost. If it is too complex or not an option to develop, please provide a import/export/sync function and format to the most popular application, and sync function.
    2. GTD features in terms of issue/Topic/thread
    (1) Next Action—to create a Task/To do
    (2) follow-up
    (3) delegation
    (4) Defer
    (5) To do at a specific date in Calendar
    3. Report format
    (1) A customization function to let user define his/her own content by filtering.
    (2) Issue list and scoreboard report by filtering to display or Dashboard/Summary
    (3) Task list by filtering to display or Dashboard/Summary
    (4) Action list today, 3 days, or 1 week report
    4. Scoreboard
    (1) A scoreboard function to track down how long each issue takes. If an illustration of chart to show, it would be great.
    (2) A scoreboard function to Project performance such as between Baseline of project and Actual. If an illustration of chart to show, it would be great.
    (3) A scoreboard function to show cost variance between Budget and Actual. If an illustration of chart to show, it would be great.
    (4) A scoreboard function of visual view such a chart and tablet to check each stage or period such as Project or Milestone, Planned and Actual course.
    5. Mobile device synchronizing.
    (1) Action List(Task), a brief comment taken from issue and task list, with GTD featuring context
    (2) Contact, a brief contact information customized to be filtered by some fields
    (3) A simple and easy reading summary or dashboard
    (4) Calendar
    (5) Selected or customized Scoreboard charts
    6. Search
    (1) Indexing during idle period or auto shut down PC after Indexing
    (2) Lightning speed search is important but not to inference MS Outlook as Lookeen does but not slow down Outlook.
    (3) Search result classified as What type, date, subject, from, to , where stored in an option filtering view as today, 3 days, 1 week.

  5. Revised ClearContext v5 wish list

    1. Project features

    (4) Issue tracking system and its fields including: Tracking item no., Subject or abstract, Message itself or a new created To Do/Task, delegated date(needs to link to Delegation function), Status(In Progress, To Do, Done), Due Date, Next Review Date(Once assigned, for all issues belonging to the same project, a reminder or an appointment set automatically in Calendar to Both Delegator and whom was delegated to), duration(Calculated by Days to Due Date), person in change/PIC(the person who made the promise), initiator(default: message sender) , initiate date(default: mail sender), how many days take so far or Progress Bar indicator, resolved/close date and customization fields. Also, it should support an Issue Tracking Summary Report filtered by one or some of fields such as Status, PIC, Initiator, whom was delegated to, and more, and display customized/filtered items as a part of Dashboard, over Today, 3 days, 1 week or even a whole project.

  6. Robert – a quick THANKS! for the extremely detailed suggestions. This gives us food for thought when we start looking at more detailed project management capabilities.

  7. We are moving our orgainzation to Windows 7 64-bit and will likely move to Office 2010 64-bit when available. Do you know when 64-bit support for ClearContect will be available? We are testing the Office 2010 64-bit software now.

    Thanks

  8. Kevin – we can’t officially support Office 2010 until it is completed and released by Microsoft. In the interim, our v5.0 beta will provide provisional support for the Office 2010 32bit Technical Preview. Future CC releases will follow to support the RTM of Office 2010, including the 64 bit version.

  9. Looks great, very promising !!!!

  10. Why is the topic field still listed in the inbox? Old emails are fine, but new emails do not get the topic field assigned to it (or at least it is not displayed properly).

    Thanks for your reply

  11. Rob – You’re looking at an old v4 view that was left installed after the upgrade. Instructions for selecting the new v5 views (By Date or Threaded) are on the beta page.

  12. I thought you and others might be interested in knowing about a Microsoft add-on that I use extensively (almost as much as I use CC features) called LookOut v1.3 (beta). Microsoft is pushing a different search product now, and I don’t believe LookOut was ever officially released.

    This might be an feature to tackle in the future for CC. Indexing messages across all OST/PST files and being able to search on them in seconds (or faster!). I use it quite often and often day-dream of it being integrated into CC.

  13. Richard – LookOut was a third party product that was purchased by Microsoft and morphed into Windows Desktop Search. The integrated search in Vista, Windows 7, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 all evolved in some way from this product.

  14. I have gone back to V4.x and will wait for the release of File Topic when V5.1 is release.
    When do you expect V5.1 to be released?
    Please keep me informed when it is released.
    Thanks
    John

  15. v5.1 should be available early next year (2010).

  16. […] v5.0 is just the beginning of the next generation of ClearContext.  Our v5.0 release focuses on streamlining inbox management.  Version 5.1 is dedicated to improving project management and dashboard capabilities.  And 5.2 will focus on improvements to AutoAssign and related features.  See our blog for the v5 product roadmap. […]

  17. What about IMAP support? We’ve been waiting for years…

    Not all that excited about continually upgrading and not getting a feature that was “coming” several versions ago.

  18. One of the reasons for the major changes in v5 is to support other email configurations. We are actively working on supporting IMAP for V5. However, testing and debugging entire new platforms is a significant undertaking and it is not clear yet whether it will be ready in time for the initial v5 release next month.

  19. I’ve been testing Beta v5 and thus far no problems. Works well and the one click filing is a big improvement. As someone using both Windows and an Apple Mac is there any chance that you will develop/release a Mac version of Clear Context? I’m aware that the numbers switching to Macs is increasing year on year.

    Cheers Phil

  20. Forgot to mention in previous post. It would be great to have an email preview in the Dashboard view.

  21. Phil – thanks for the feedback. We have no near term plans to build a Mac version of ClearContext. In the interim, many of our customers use virtualization software to run Outlook on OS X.

    FYI – A dashboard redesign is coming in v5.1.

  22. I would like to chime in with brad to stress that I’ve been a loyal customer of ClearContext for a long time from the early days.

    ClearContext has been talking about so many types of improvements which are going to be quite useless if they aren’t going to be IMAP capable.

    You guys have a FANTASTIC product that is pretty much rendered useless because all of my work and personal emails have shifted over to IMAP over the years. I don’t understand why there are other upgrades considered more important than making it IMAP compatible considering the times now. POP3 is being used in the era where only one computer is used to access email. Our world is very different today considering the BlackBerries and iPhones in circulation and I dare say IMAP usage is going to increase.

    With all due respect, instead of just explaining that IMAP is going to be tough, is it possible for you to tell us why it’s going to be tough for us to decide whether we should be looking at some other mail manager instead?

  23. Thanks, William, for the feedback. Please see earlier reply above re: IMAP. Though we can’t commit to inclusion in v5.0 at this time, we realize that IMAP is important to many of our customers and intend to support it in a near-term v5 release.

  24. Hi brad,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Is IMAP going to be a v5 release target or is it a maybe? [I think this is a very reasonable query since we’ve been hearing about IMAP support for years.]

    Like I have mentioned earlier, I’ve been loyally buying CC despite it becoming useless since my mail accounts have all moved onto IMAP but I’m hesitating my v5 purchase now.

  25. Please see our update on IMAP here:

    http://online.clearcontext.com/forums/alternate-mail-servers-imap-hotmail-google-apps-t2498.html

  26. Thank you for the official reply brad.

    I have commented in the thread and will be purchasing v5 thanks to your response.

    Waiting for the good news.

  27. Support for multiple Outlook folders (or as known by the rest of the world: PSTs) – brilliant.

    No all I need to know is how do I invest in your company?

  28. James – thanks for the feedback!

  29. […] We will be posting updates to our other tutorials after the v5.1 release. […]



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