My First Training Video – Scheduling Your Time in ServicePlanner

I have decided to be brave and have a go at my first training video 😬

This video covers the basics of how to Schedule and Plan your time in ServicePlanner. It also briefly introduces how to add witnessing partners, how to enter historic report data, and how to send your report at the end of the month.

Let me know what you think, and if it is helpful, and I will consider doing more in the future.

Version 2.2

Version 2.2 introduces the following new features:

Share a Contact

The “Share Contact” button is now more powerful, allowing other ServicePlanner users to import the Contact data.

From the Contact screen you can now choose between:

  • Summary Email – this will generate an email with the Contacts details, the same as before … but now it will also include a file attachment. If the recipient is also using ServicePlanner, they can open the attachment in ServicePlanner to import the Contact data.
  • Share File – this will generate a zip file with the Contacts details that can be shared via the iOS share action sheet, allowing users to share the Contact via SMS, AirDrop, Email, or messaging apps like Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp and more.

Manual Backup / Restore

In Settings there is a new option for Manual Backup. This will generate a zip file of all the ServicePlanner data and then show the iOS Share action sheet. Send the backup via AirDrop to another device, or store it using a cloud service or file sharing app. You can also email the backup via the default Mail app which will use the free Mail Drop solution to store the file for 30 days. The point is – you get to choose.

User have the option to enable Backup Reminders every 7, 14, 30 or 60 days. The backup reminder is triggered a few seconds after the app is opened – it will check the last backup time and show a reminder alert based on your settings.

To restore the data just locate the ZIP file and open it in ServicePlanner.

Some notes about the backup file:

  • It will include all publication and video cover artwork you have manually added.
  • It will not include any Territory Helper data. On each device you need to sign into Territory Helper to authenticate and download the maps and location data.
  • It will not include any downloaded video files. Videos need to be downloaded on each device as required.
  • Because of the above, the backup file can end up reasonably large. So you need to store it or share it using a method that supports large files. Some recommended methods include:
    • Send an email via the default Mail app to yourself. This will detect the large file attachment and then use the free iCloud Mail Drop system to store the file. You will have 30 days to download the file from Mail Drop.
    • Store the ZIP in Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, iCloud Files or any cloud solution.
    • AirDrop the file to another iOS device or Mac.

Other Changes

This update also fixes a number of low level issues.

Thank you again for using ServicePlanner. If you feel inspired to leave a review on the App Store it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Version 2.1

ServicePlanner 2.1 introduces the following:

  • Official support for iOS 12.
    • There was a low-level change in iOS 12 that was causing the app to randomly crash. This should be stable now – any issues please let me know. If you experienced this issue then I thank you for your patience.
  • Optimisations for the new iPhone XS Max screen size, and for the upcoming XR as well.
  • New Address detail screen, accessible from a Contacts Details tab. This new screen should make it clearer what is going on behind the scenes when you enter and geocode an address, and paves the way forward for more power around addresses in the future.

Thank you again for using ServicePlanner. If you feel inspired to leave a review on the App Store it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Version 2.0.4

ServicePlanner 2.0.4 is coming soon and includes the following…

Generic improvements:

  • Now fully translated for French users.
  • Updated support for Chinese Pinyin/Yale/Zhuyin/Sidney Lau when using the in-app browser.
  • Reduced the overall app size.
  • Fixed issue with sending report via Telegram.
  • Fixed issue trying to add Publications or Videos when the device is set to a Chinese language.
  • Added “Send Report” option to the Activity tab menu top/right.
  • You can now delete Placements, Videos, and Visits from the Report data even if the linked Contact has been deleted.

Territory Helper improvements:

  • Improved sorting Locations by Street.
  • Improved zoom into a Map with no boundaries set.
  • You can now manually edit the address components for a Location.

There is still more planned for ServicePlanner – stay tuned.

I hope you are still enjoying ServicePlanner and it is helping you have a productive ministry.

If you feel inspired to leave a review on the App Store it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Version 2.0.3

Version 2.0.3 introduces the following changes:

  • Improved formatting of the Location Street names if City is not defined.
  • If no Map boundary, then zoom onto the Location markers instead.
  • Dropbox login process now uses a SFSafariViewController in harmony with best practice and Google recommendations (Dropbox users can login using their Google account).

I hope you are still enjoying ServicePlanner and it is helping you have a productive ministry.

If you feel inspired to leave a review on the App Store it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Version 2.0.2

Version 2.0.2 introduces some important changes to the Territory Helper permissions as well as various improvements and bug fixes.

Territory Helper Permissions

Previously users would get to see all Territory Maps for a Congregation and if these Maps had been assigned, to whom, and for how long. I have tightened the rules around the visibility of the Maps and Assignment details to better align with:

  • The Users Role in Territory Helper.
  • The Congregation > Publisher Settings in Territory Helper.

Specifically the following changes have been made:

Visibility of Maps

  • If the User is Role = Publisher AND if the checkbox “Publishers can view the congregation territories page” is turned OFF, then user will only see maps assigned to them.
  • If the User is Role = Publisher AND if the checkbox “Publishers can view the congregation territories page” is turned ON, then the user will see all maps.
  • If the User is Role = Advanced OR higher then they see ALL maps.

Screenshot from Territory Helper Congregation Settings

Assignment Details (To and For How Long)

  • If the User is Role = Publisher they they can see if a Map is “Assigned” or not. Publishers will only ever see who it is assigned to, and for how long, if it is assigned to them personally.
  • If the User is Role = Advanced OR higher then they can see who the map is assigned to, and for how long … for all maps.

These rules mean that what the user sees in ServicePlanner will better match what they would see if they log into the Territory Helper website.

Important: Some users who are currently seeing ALL maps, will find that they either see just a few maps or NO maps once the next update goes out. This will be because the Congregation Setting “Publishers can view the congregation territories page” will be turned off in Territory Helper. If this setting is changed in Territory Helper, the user will have to:

  • Open the Territory Settings screen in ServicePlanner
  • Click the “Refresh Permissions” button
  • Log into Territory Helper to authenticate their details

This will pull down the users latest permissions from Territory Helper.

Improvements

The following minor improvements were made:

  • If you are looking at the Today screen, and you have moved to another day, you can now tap the Today tab again to return to the current day. Note that you could already do this in the top date navigator by clicking on the date. This is just another option.
  • When looking at a Territory Location screen there is now a reminder under the Notes field that the notes are stored online in Territory Helper and you need to ensure that the note only includes details allowed by your local data laws. In many countries this will mean you cannot include details about the householders religion, race, gender etc.
  • Improved touch gestures available on Google Maps so that you can pan and zoom at the same time. You can also “tilt” the map. Basically the gestures available mimic the standalone Google Maps app.

Bug Fixes

The following issues were resolved:

  • Fixed a random crash that happened when adding new Locations via the Territory Map.
  • Fixed issue with adding Locations and Units and it would not allow the Language to be set to “Language Unknown”.
  • Fixed Map Search while in the Grid layout to include street names in the searchable text.
  • Improved formatting of the Notes to strip out HTML Tags and convert HTML Entities.
  • Fixed a crash that would happen if you tapped the Activity button in the top toolbar of the Today screen, and then tapped on a Witnessing Partner.
  • Fixed the formatting of Contacts list when entering multi-select mode (accessed by tap+hold on a Contact).
  • Stopped the round “delete” button showing after removing a Publication or Map from the Today screen.
  • Fixed an issue where a phone number would not be saved when adding a new Contact.
  • Fixed an issue when inserting Credit Hours and then jumping to a month with no data – it would still be showing the Credit Hours from the previous month.

I hope you are still enjoying ServicePlanner and it is helping you have a productive ministry.

If you feel inspired to leave a review on the App Store it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Version 2.0.1

Version 2.0.1 fixes the following issues:

  • Issue with Annual Report when a future months Projected Hours include minutes (eg “87:30”)
  • Issue with the Activity Plugin on the Today screen not showing Placements or Videos in the “Other” category.
  • Improved the format of Territory Location addresses when no City is provided.
  • Improved experience when importing maps from Territory Helper, and requests were taking longer than 60 seconds.
  • Fixed issue when clicking on a Time entry in Settings > Partners on an iPad.

Version 2.0

It has been a few months since the last major update to ServicePlanner. In the background I have been working hard on version 2.0 which introduces a number of new features and improvements.

At a high level these changes include:

  • Integration with Territory Helper
  • Redesigned Today Screen using Plugins
  • New Activity Plugin on the Today Screen
  • New Hours Plugin on the Today Screen
  • Support for Multiple Witnessing Partners, with Calendar Integration
  • Improved Google Maps Integration
  • Improvements to Playing Videos
  • Ability to add 2 Phone Numbers per Contact
  • Ability to Delete Placements, Videos, Visits from the Report
  • Multiple UI improvements
  • Multiple issues resolved

Let’s review these changes…

Integration with Territory Helper

Most of the work for version 2.0 has been building the base platform for Territory Management in ServicePlanner. In version 2.0 this will only be accessible via integration with Territory Helper, a very powerful online tool for creating and managing a congregations territory. Obviously not all of you will not be using Territory Helper at the moment, which means you will not get to see the largest chunk of work I have been doing. But in the near future I will open it up so users can create Territories independently of Territory Helper.

The integration with Territory Helper allows users to:

  • Sign into Territory Helper
  • Import all Congregation Maps and related data
  • Refresh the data at any time to stay up-to-date
  • View Maps and Locations offline *
  • View a Maps boundaries on the Google Map
  • View each Location on the Google Map
  • Add/Edit/Delete Locations and Units *
  • Control which Locations are displayed
  • Request and Return Maps
  • Filter and Sort Maps
  • Customise the Colour and Display Order of the Map Types
  • Add Territory Maps to the Today screen
  • View your Calls in relation to a Territory Map

* Some features require you to be online or to have the correct permissions in Territory Helper.

Sample Screenshots on the iPhone

Sample Screenshots on the iPad

This is just the first stage of integration with Territory Helper. More is planned for the future. Stage 1 does not include support for recording Not-at-Homes or visits made to Locations while a map is assigned to a brother. You can add top-level visit details, such as the last time a Do Not Call was updated.

Think of the Territory Helper integration as providing you with a digital version of the old paper-based maps, with the ability to view and update the master list of locations against each map.

Please read the Help Docs to learn more about the Territory Helper integration.

Improvements to the Today Screen

The Today screen is now Plugin based. Users can:

  • Configure the Plugins via the Today Settings button top/right of the Today screen.
  • Choose which Plugins are enabled/disabled.
  • Change the order of the Plugins.
  • Quickly collapse/expand each Plugin in the Heading bar.
    • This is handy if you want to show a Call something on the Today screen (eg a Video), but you don’t want them to see all the Contacts you are calling on that day for example.
  • Choose which Plugins have their Heading bar enabled/disabled.
    • By disabling a Heading bar for a plugin, it will be grouped with the previous Plugin.

In addition there are two new Plugins added to the Today screen…

New Activity Plugin

This allows users to quickly enter Manual Placements or Videos Shown directly on the Today screen.

  • Control which rows show in the Activity Plugin via the Today settings.
  • Click the + or buttons to add Single placements.
  • Tap+hold on the + or to add Bulk placements.
  • Tap on the label of each row to view a breakdown of the Calculated vs Manual Placements. Calculated = placements made with Calls and automatically added to the Report.

New Hours Plugin

View a summary of your Hours by Day, Week, Month and Service Year directly on the Today screen.

  • Enter Hours using the “+” button in the Plugin Heading.
    • Note that this only edits “Ministry” Hours, not “Other” hours.
    • By default the “+” will enter Planned Hours if the date is in the future or Actual Hours if current day or older. You can Tap+hold on the “+” to force it to edit the Planned Hours.
  • Click on each section of the bar to view the specific Hours being displayed.
  • Choose which rows show in the Plugin via the Today Settings top/right.

Multiple Witnessing Partners

This was one of the most requested features in the Issue Tracker.

  • Add up to five (5) witnessing partners per day.
  • Choose the Start time / End time for each Partner.
  • Optionally add the booking to your device Calendar.
  • Editing the booking in ServicePlanner will auto-update the device Calendar.
  • The number of partners is indicated on the Activity screen.
  • Configure default options via the app Settings:
    • Set the default Start / End times for the first booking per day
    • Choose if the first booking should auto-add to the device Calendar
    • Set the Event name to be used in the device Calendar
    • You can set a different Event name for a Confirmed booking. By default an Unconfirmed event will finish with a ?.
    • Choose if the Event name uses the Full Name or just the First Name of the selected contact

Tip: My wife and I share a Calendar, so we configure our event label to show “Matt with %n” or “Sonja with %n” (where %n = name). I also use Emoji to differentiate things a little more and have some fun 🙂

   

Improved Google Maps

I have upgraded the Google Maps integration to work with the latest libraries. Much of the improvement is under the hoods, but some of the user benefits include:

  • Support for Live Traffic. This can be turned on/off in the map Layer settings (bottom/right).
  • You can now toggle the Location Tracker on/off. This is the little blue dot that follows you around 🙂 Theoretically you can save some battery if you turn this off.

The improved integration will allow me to do some fancy tricks like add support for custom map tiles based on OpenStreetMaps or MapBox in the near future.

Multiple Phone Numbers

You can now add up to 2x phone numbers per Contact. You can optionally enter a description for the number as well, to help differentiate them. The description must be in round brackets and after the end of the number, as shown in the screenshot below. When you click the buttons to call or message the number, the round brackets are stripped out.

Improvements to Playing Videos

When in Grid View, tapping a video will now try to play instead of opening the video settings.

  • If you have downloaded the video, then it will automatically start to play.
  • If you have not downloaded the video, then you can choose which video size to start streaming (eg 720p).

Ability to Delete Items from a Report

There are situations where it is handy to be able to record a Contact and placements without them being added to your Report. For example, if another publisher asks you to call back on somebody they just met, you might record the details of the person and the placements made … but you don’t want them added to your report.

I have avoided being too clever on the Visit screens around this, as it is not an everyday requirement. But if you need to, you will be able to:

  • Go to the Activity > Placements screen, click the row and “Remove From Report”
  • Go to the Activity > Videos screen, click the row and “Remove From Report”
  • Go to the Activity > Visits screen, click the row and “Remove From Report”
  • Go to the Activity > Studies screen, click the row and “Remove From Report”

This will only remove the details being Reported – it does not affect the Visit details recorded against the Contact. Note that removing a Visit, if it was a Bible Study, will also remove a Bible Study, and visa versa. You cannot “undo” this, so don’t click this option unless you really mean it 🙂

Multiple UI Improvements

There have been a number of improvements to the User Interface (UI) of ServicePlanner. To mention just a few:

  • The Timer will no longer scroll off the screen, unless you are using the smallest iPhone’s.
  • Improved visibility of Section headings in Lists.
  • Optional expand/collapse of Sections in Lists.
    • Quick tap to expand/collapse a single section
    • Tap+hold to expand/collapse all sections
    • While collapsed, the Section Heading will show the number of rows in the section

And there are many other improvements and bug fixes included in version 2.0.

Languages Supported

I am so happy that ServicePlanner is now available for users in the following languages:

  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian

Work is also underway in Russian, French and more. If you would like to help, please contact support@serviceplanner.me.

I am very happy with version 2.0 and the improvements made. But it is still early days – many new features are planned and I will try to keep the momentum up.

Positive reviews on the App Store are incredibly helpful. If you are enjoying ServicePlanner, and feel inspired to leave a review, it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Thanks for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for ServicePlanner.

Version 1.4.2

This update adds support for Romanian, Dutch and Japanese users of ServicePlanner.

If you would like to help translate ServicePlanner into your language please contact me for more information.

Version 1.4.1

This is a minor update with the following improvements:

Share a Contact via Email

On the main Detail tab of the Contact window you can now “Share Contact”. This will generate a formatted email with all the contacts details and a full history of visits made to the contact. It includes any location information including a link through to Google Maps. The email does not yet allow other users of ServicePlanner to import the Contact on their device – that feature will come in the future.

Note: You must have the settings in place for the default Apple Mail app to work on your device for any email to generate from ServicePlanner.

New Workflow Option

There is a new option in Settings > Workflow so that when new Visits are created against a specific Contact type, ServicePlanner can now auto-set the time to the scheduled appointment time, rather than the current time.

For example if you have a Bible Study scheduled for 10am, and you log the new Visit afterwards at 11:15am, the new Workflow setting will auto-set the visit time to 10am and the Next Visit Time to 10am as well.

Make the Timer Bar Larger

Some users were having trouble tapping the Timer Bar. I have added a new option in Settings > Timer so that you can make the Timer Bar larger / taller.

  

I hope this update helps you to be increasingly more effective in your ministry and get the most out of using ServicePlanner.

Positive reviews on the App Store are incredibly helpful. If you are enjoying ServicePlanner, and feel inspired to leave a review, it would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Thanks for your support.