activeCollab Feather – are you ready for it?

June 11, 2015

Should you switch to activeCollab Feather

If you noticed, activeCollab recently changed their website – and the whole product!!

If you are a long time user of activeCollab, the new activeCollab (code named “Feather”) looks extremely slick. It’s got flat and clean design. It feels “new age”.

“Feather” is quite snappy too. Pages load fast. Everything feels nice.

You’d want to upgrade to it immediately.

But wait… Is Feather ready for prime time? Are you ready for it?

activeCollab Feather is a project and task management solution built afresh. A lot of core concepts are same (just like any other project management system).. But a lot has changed – both under the hood and in the app.

So if you depend on activeCollab for your day to day work, and have many people using it, I suggest you take a step back before upgrading. Especially if you are hosting activeCollab on your own servers.


Here are somethings self hosted activeCollab customers must grasp fully before considering Feather.

Some features have changed (or don’t exist anymore)…

  • To make things simpler, activeCollab team dropped many features from Feather. And they are not coming back. So if you relied on these features from previous versions, you’d face difficulties.
  • For example: There is no way to manage user roles or create new roles and access control. There are only three roles – Owner, Member, Customer.
  • There are small terminology changes too – Milestones are now called Task Lists. But that shouldn’t be too difficult to get used to.
  • Still, all the core features are intact – and polished further. So for basic “getting things done” you shouldn’t have a problem.
  • But one must test and evaluate their own needs before switching…

Third Party modules won’t work

  • Third Party Modules don’t work with Feather. There is no way to install additional modules within activeCollab anymore.. Even if you use Self Hosted version of Feather.
  • The only “integration” and “extension” possibility is via HTTP REST API. Which means extensions have to be “external” apps. Much like any other SaaS web site. They can not integrate with activeCollab UI.
  • So if you rely on any functionality provided by a third party module (or if you have developed your own customizations) – you will have to let go of that before you can move to Feather. OR you stay with activeCollab 4 (or 3 or 2 – whatever you may be using).
  • Even the API has changed. So if you use any apps that integrate with activeCollab via API, they’d need to update as well.

You’re sharing a lot more data with activeCollab now…

Everything related to emails (incoming and outgoing) and search is now handled via a service called “Heartbeat”. This is a service activeCollab hosts themselves. So even if you use the self hosted version your data is going to activeCollab servers.

Yes, there is an “enterprise” option – where you can host the “Heartbeat” service on your own servers. But it’s still “coming soon”…

Try it first

  • Overall, activeCollab Feather is still a work in progress. A lot of things work, but try it first before upgrading.
  • We recommend you try out the online 30 days demo first. Familiarize yourself with the changes. Then evaluate if you want to upgrade.
  • If you want to upgrade, setup a staging environment, migrate your data, and fully test everything beforehand.
  • Your data is critical. So make sure you have backups. And that you get everything you need.

Also, make sure you read and understand activeCollab’s own “Upgrading to new activeCollab” guide…

What will happen to Apps Magnet activeCollab modules?

We understand a lot of you rely on our activeCollab modules for your businesses. And while we want to bring all the features we added to activeCollab with our extensions, it’s simply not going to be possible because of the new architecture.

We are considering building web based services that talk to activeCollab via its API and add features.

But we need to know what you’d like us to do! So leave a comment and tell us if:

  1. Would you like us to help you migrate to Feather?
  2. Would you like us to continue supporting activeCollab 3 and 4 installations?
  3. What modules / features would you like us to build for activeCollab Feather?

Awaiting your feedback!


Faster Reports Plus Module

May 5, 2015

Last week we picked up a Reports Plus module and made a small but very important change in it.

Time Reports – The Issue

Earlier, Time Reports (part of a Reports Plus module) loaded a whole bunch of time records right at the start. This not only took a lot of your time but also made the entire process very slow. The outcome the user often ended up irritated..


So we conducted a small research and found that generally we do not need such vast amount of time records. As a person first of all I would like to glance at the my most recent time records i.e I’m only interested in the time records of the current week, past one week or maximum two. Also I would love to get things loaded faster.

Do you agree? If yes read on….

Keeping the above findings  in mind we decided to work on the initial data that got loaded in  Times Reports

The Improvement

Now, we load only the most recent data and by that I mean just the current weeks time record. However, if you want to see other time records, you can change the filters anytime and load time records according to your requirement. Good enough?

Over to You

So, inspite being a minute enhancement it surely can save you alot of time.

Hope you will find it useful.

Chronograph Module Updated!

April 21, 2015

Here’s a small but important update on the Chronograph module.

In activeCollab there are two billable statuses while tracking time on task or project. One is Billable and Second is Non Billable.

You can set default billable status at the global level from Administrator > General Settings and project level settings from Project > Options > Change Settings.

According to the bug that was noticed, the Chronograph module was picking up global level default billable status even though project level billable status is set. It means, if you set billable status as “Non Billable” at global level and “Billable” at project level, Chronograph module sets billable status as “Non Billable”.

So, we fixed that issue. Now, Chronograph module picks up billable status from Project level settings.

The other bug fix was about Job Types

In activeCollab, Job types can be created through Administrator > Job Types & Hourly Rates panel. While creating a task in project, you can specify an estimate with Job type and by default time tracking on that task it will be consider in that job type. Again, Chronograph module was picking up default job type even though Job type is different for particular task.

We fixed that issue. Now, time tracked through Chronograph module picks job type of that task not the default one which sets at global level.

So, these are two important fixes which we have done in last release.

Credit: One of our customer Angela, reported this issue. Because of that this issue came to our notice and we fixed it. Thank you Angela for spotting that out 😉

Six Years Done! Thank You!

February 12, 2015

Hello activeCollab user!

It was this day, six years ago, when we launched our first activeCollab product – Reports module.

Today, we are completing six memorable years participating in activeCollab community.

We’ve seen lot of change – activeCollab 2, the rise of extensions, activeCollab 3, 4, the crash in business, marketplace changes and much more.

And now, bells are ringing for activeCollab Feather. We believe Feather will be a major step forward for activeCollab and are getting ready for it.

But what’s most important today, is you! We thank you for being with us. Your continued support has allowed us to stay in business and deliver solutions to the activeCollab community.

We also thank activeCollab team – Ilija, Goran and everyone else – for building a platform we’ve loved all these years. All third party extension developers for their contribution – US Web, Active Labs, activeCollab Mod, Zingdev and everyone else. Kudos also to everyone who contributed to community forums!

Thank you once again, and we look forward to serving you further.

In gratitude,
Nirav & Malay

Comments Plus Module – New Features

December 20, 2014

It’s holiday time and to add to your delight we have these amazing features added to Comments Plus Module.

The first feature is the Highlighted Customer Comment feature.

(Note: This feature was added into Mizen a few days back and looking at the customer response we received….we thought of extending it to Comments Plus Module as well )

Previously, customer comments looked the same as any other comments in the system. One had to literally dig into the details of the comments so as to distinguish between a customer reply and a employee reply. This not only was a total time waste but also increased frustrations incase the project to be scanned was huge and had multiple participants involved.

Client Comments - Previous Look

Customer Comments – Previous Look

With this new feature, the customer comments get highlighted in a different color. This makes it standout and recognizing customer comments gets much quicker and easier.

Customer Comments- New Look

Customer Comments- New Look


The second feature is the Predefined Templates.

It is seen that we often have to draft fixed replies to customers. It could be as simple as a Thank you mail for testimonial that the customer sent you or it could be a pre-sales question inquiring about some product and its details.

What we originally did was :

1) Create a master text document having such predefined replies and then copy paste the reply as and when we received a corresponding customer mail


2)The hardworking guys simply sat and drafted the whole reply every single time… Whereas now, stop spending those extra minutes drafting such mails each time a customer sends a testimonial or asks for product details…or hunting the master text document.

Simply use the Comments Plus Module. Create a template of ready made replies and use them as and when required.

Comments Plus Module now allows you to save ready made replies in the form of templates. You can simply create a template and then use it multiple times whenever required. Kindly check out the screen shots below for better visual understanding.

creating predefined comment-template




What Next?

Download Comments Plus Module to test drive this feature now!!!

Mizen Highlights Customer Comments

December 3, 2014

Any company be it into products or services treats their customers specially. We thought of applying this simple psychology that we use everyday in our businesses in Mizen as well.That is, we felt that comments from our customers must look different.


Previous Problem

Client Comments - Previous Look

Client Comments – Previous Look

The customer comments were not distinct. Mizen did not differentiate customer comments from the other comments. It had the same look and feel as any other comment in the system. This made it difficult for an employee to scan through the conversations. One had to literally read through comments and figure out if that was a reply sent by a customer or by just another employee belonging to that project. Now if the conversations were short this method was bearable. However, if we had a huge project with multiple employees and clients working simultaneously on it. It would be a big pain to address this issue.

Current Solution

Customer Comments- New Look

Customer Comments- New Look

We came up with a simple solution. Just like we treat our customers differently. We thought of changing the look of the customer comments. Although nothing fancy just a change in the color of customer comments it serves its purpose the best.

You no longer have to dive into the comments to figure out which of them is a customer reply. Just a scan and you can easily distinguish a customer reply from the other comments. So no matter however long are the project discussions or however huge are the number of participants in the project, customer replies will standout thanks to this amazing feature.

 Check it out and let us know your feedback. Suggestions are welcome :)

Acknowledgement Autoresponder – Making Support Better

October 21, 2014

Receiving a support ticket is your biggest opportunity to get into a deeper relationship with your customer. While most of the businesses/ support guys take it as an issue and tend to repel it. It is by far the best medium to gain loyal customers.

Double Edged Sword

How you handle a support ticket can make or break your relationship with your customer. Obviously, the customer is facing an issue and he has dropped in a ticket hoping for a quick relief/ reply. And by quick I mean faster the better….

Playing it Safe

So, in order to ensure that you don’t go wrong and your client gets the quickest reply that would beat even the best support guy on your team, we have implemented a quick auto responder in the Task Plus Module.

What it does?

It simply sends an acknowledgement auto responder reply to every ticket that is sent to you by your customer. It may seem really trivial but the assurance that it can leave on your customers mind is immense. A simple liner ” Your ticket has been received and the issue is being taken care off” can soothe a lot of frustrated customer nerves.

The Technical Working

Now, admin can set the acknowledgement message to their customer for successful creation of support ticket. We have made it optional. Such that admin will have choice to enable/ disable this feature.

This option can be set from Administrator > Tasks Plus Settings panel. See the below screen shot.

Acknowledgement Message

Acknowledgement Message

Candid Letter from Malay: 5 years with Apps Magnet

August 25, 2014

Hello Everyone,

I completed 5 years with Apps Magnet on August 11, 2014. The journey so far has been absolutely awesome – the years passed so quickly, it’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years already!

The other day I was remembering “old” days, and was excited recollecting these five years of togetherness.

Today, I am taking this opportunity to share my journey with you. There are lot of personal details here that I’ve never shared, and I am not a gifted writer. At times this may sound too much “I”, but bear with me as I pour my heart out!

My “mantra” has been “Better Everyday” – this is something I learned in school and carry to the day.. (By the way, I and Nirav went to the same school albeit a few years apart!)

Let me give you a little background. I am from Palanpur, a hot small northern town in the state of Gujarat, India. Palanpur is famous for its diamond merchants, rich heritage and now also Pranav Mistry (of SixthSense / Samsung Galaxy Gear fame). After my studies in Palanpur and later my engineering degree, I came to Mumbai in 2009 for a job. I was young and naive, and quite clueless about the “software industry”.

My first job lasted for two days. In my hometown I once dashed on my bicycle from one end of town to the other in under 15 minutes, and in Mumbai, it’d take me 1.5 hours to get to my workplace and equal (if not more) time to get back home.

I’d met Nirav before taking up the job.. He’s married to a not-so-distant cousin of mine! And I’d done my internship with his company when they had an office in Ahmedabad. When I met him in Mumbai, he showed me the kind of work he was doing on activeCollab. He showed me the Reports module for activeCollab, and I was impressed.

So when he checked back to see how my job was going and if I could join Apps Magnet, I immediately quit the “arduous travel job” and picked up moonlighting with him instead!

Early days...

Early days…

Yes, those were the early days of Apps Magnet. Nirav took care of the existing web development services business during day, and we paired up at his home during nights to work on activeCollab products. During the days, I studied activeCollab, carried out my assignments, and it was the 3-4 hours in night we brainstormed, evaluated opportunities, and discuss what products we could create to solve real problems.

acGarage - my first main product!

acGarage – my first main product!

acGarage – Automatic update of activeCollab – was the first product on which we worked and I still remember, we released it at 5 AM after working overnight ironing out bugs and making tweaks. It was a thrilling experience that started a series of new adventures!

We built many products after that – Tickets Plus, Time Reports Plus, Assignments Plus, Communications module, Confidential Items… Every product was an opportunity to learn, a chance to contribute to the community, and to get satisfaction of building something that helped people.

All in all, I worked on 45 activeCollab products, 4 WordPress plugins, 2 Magento extensions and 50+ customization projects.

I remember that I was scared of touching a client’s server; or even responding to a query. I was always “behind the scenes”: did research, fixed issues, wrote code.. And Nirav generally took care of client interaction. I overcome that fear and started taking small steps. I started replying to questions, then started working on client customizations or fixes and then handling most of day to day work now.

Over these five years, I must have interacted with nearly 130 customers personally. Probably 1000+ on support tickets. And honestly, I’ve been blessed to work with some great people.

People like Brad & Tracy from Geodelic, Grif from Blackstone Media, Nathan Sudds from activeLabs, Maxim Mathew, Federico Soto, Abdul Karmach and many others have been phenomenal.. Each client interaction has taught me something!

In Bangalore during a conference + leisure trip

In Bangalore during a conference + leisure trip

Learnings went beyond technology though. I’ve learned a lot about product development, business… I’ve expanded in all areas of life.. (Ok, I’ve even put on weight, but let’s skip that bit for now!)

When I started, I was shy and timid. Today, I am free to share. I’d give a lot of credit for this to Landmark Education too though. This non-linear education really helped a lot. I did the complete curriculum – Forum, Advanced Course, Self Expression and Leadership Program, and even Being Extra Ordinary Seminar… It’s always given me a push forward.

Especially with teams. It was only me and Nirav in Apps Magnet initially. Then a small team of 4 people. But with Store Apps and Putler teams together, we were 15 people and all that I learned in books, seminars and observing others became extremely valuable. I took on all new things as opportunities – leading sprint meetings, taking tech sessions for the team, solving problems for others… And it’s been greatly fulfilling…

Diwali celebrations in office

Diwali celebrations in office

Together, we’ve celebrated Diwali, Christmas, birthdays, outings, many special days, and not to forget the so many “Fun Fridays“. (A Fun Friday is an evening of fun and games – competitive at most times, extremely enjoyable, and at times we give a hard time to the coordinator, but always memorable!)

Boys with Bands - on friendship day

Boys with Bands – on friendship day

Team outing to Imagica amusement park

Team outing to Imagica amusement park

There were obviously “not-fun” times. The toughest times for me were when we were transitioning to activeCollab 3. We were porting all our activeCollab 2 products to activeCollab 3. That involved a lot of work since we have a large portfolio of products. New activeCollab versions were coming out frequently, and there were a ton of compatibility issues. Customers would complain if a new release broke their activeCollab. Our days went fixing problems, learning new tricks, supporting clients, and then also working on migration. It took almost a year for things to stabilize and gave us all a hard time!

If I look at the positives, there is always an opportunity to learn in tough times.

Our joint activeCollab 3 Bootcamp Webinar with Nathan Sudds, Guy Cortesi, Willem Nieuwboer was very well received. Customers also embraced our migrated products and thankfully activeCollab 4 was not a major shift from activeCollab 3! We even automated a lot of processes and worked on better planning our release cycles. We put up compatibility charts, stayed in communication with the community and kept working hard.

And I also started learning WordPress and development outside activeCollab world! The main reason for this was the hackathons we organized though. I took on creating “Hack Battles” in the organization and in little over a year, we’ve done 5 successful Hack Battles. We’ve worked on 25+ products during these hack battles, and over 10 from these have already made it to public. Our new ventures like Icegram, Klawoo, Putler connectors and new Store Apps products were all born in these hacking competitions!

Hacking hard during 1st Hack Battle a year ago

Hacking hard during 1st Hack Battle a year ago

Winning a prize in Hack Battle

Winning a prize in Hack Battle

Another battle that I conquered is getting married! (Ok, not exactly a battle, and if I were to believe others, a marriage becomes a battle after few years, but it’s just been a year to my marriage!) I married Mittal last year and we’ve had a beautiful year!

Wedding with Mittal

Wedding pic, with Mittal

Just last month, I and Nirav ran a 10 kilometer race together. Completing 10k within the cut-off limit for a marathon was a major victory, because the only practice I had was 3 days of light running during previous week – where I did more walking then running. Completing 10k taught me the importance of perseverance. And I’m now pushing colleagues to run with me!

After a 10k run with Nirav

After a 10k run with Nirav

In retrospect, these five years gave me lots of opportunities, challenges and breakthroughs. We learnt together, we laughed together and we toiled together.

I am thankful to Nirav for his continuous support and leadership. To my family for their stand and love. To my colleagues who are always supportive and have created a great culture to produce breakthrough results. To my friends who contributed to my overall development and partied with me!

And I am thankful to all customers who put their faith in us, worked with my limitations and showered their compliments.

I continue walking towards “better everyday”.

With love & respect,
Malay Ladu

Better Everyday!

Time Reports Plus – New Feature – Bar Charts

July 29, 2014

Time Reports Plus (Reports Plus) is one of our constantly improving products. The proof to this is our second release in approximately a week. Last week we introduced the KPI dashboard. It gave a one screen view of all the important KPI’s.

Next, we thought of adding some color to the dashboard. So here we are introducing graphs (bar charts)


Time Reports Plus KPI

Time Reports Plus KPI

With this new release, 4 main KPI’s i.e. paid, unpaid, billable, non billable will be shown as a bar chart.

Also the current week is shown as a graph . This feature will give you a quick view about your current week progress.

Now, Time Reports Plus loads current month time records by default. So, most required KPI’s will be at your finger tips. You can always set filters according to your need and get required reports.

New Useful Additions to Task Plus module for activeCollab

July 22, 2014

Task Plus has been one of our flagship modules and we have spent considerable amount of time making it more and more useful for our clients.

This month we thought of introducing a something clients have asked us before – the ability to add more than one subscriber to a support ticket.

Earlier, you could create a new support ticket in Tasks Plus (on behalf of the customer) – but with one email address only. Now, you can separate multiple email addresses (and names) with a comma; and Tasks Plus will subscribe all those people to the newly created support ticket.

Adding multiple subscribers to your support ticket

Along with this, we also added some fixes.

The first bug we fixed was related to comment status. Consider a task containing Confidential / Private comments. If you merged it with another task, the confidential / private comments became “normal” – hence visible to others.

We’ve fixed this bug. So comments will retain their privacy status in the merged task.

The next fix was regarding ‘Localization of Email Template’. It was noticed that even when a non-English language was selected, email templates were still in English.

We’ve fixed this too – so that email templates are localized.

Hope this addition and fixes help you!

You can learn more about Tasks Plus here…