Why a new name ?
I originally chose the name “Blueprint Pro” to represent project plans, because the Blueprint Pro application offered project management features. Unfortunately, the name turned out to be confusing, the Blueprint icon even more so. To be honest, I’m not sure that Proteo is a better name, but it seems to be more representative of the concept behind the application. Proteo is derived from Protean, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “able to do many things; versatile”. This definition corresponds more closely to the application that I wish to develop in the long term: an information management application that is as customisable as possible. To this end, the app will soon allow activation and deactivation of certain features.
A Full Rewrite
Wondering why it took almost five years to release a major update to the application? Well, it’s because this is a complete rewrite of the application, taking into account future and past versions.
Although Blueprint Pro presented its functionality in modules, its architecture was rather monolithic. Proteo was designed to be modular from the start, but previous versions had to be taken into account to ensure a smooth transition. Of course, some features have disappeared, but 90% of them are still present and your data will be migrated to the new architecture with as little breakage as possible.
As you may have already noticed, Proteo is introducing a new interface. The Blueprint interface was designed for OS X and had been outdated for some years. This new interface had three objectives: to be modern, cross-platform, and international. In terms of modernity, the new interface tries to respect Apple’s recommendations as much as possible. But that’s not all. This new interface also aims to respect the recommendations of Windows. However, there is no question of mixing genres. The objective was to design an interface common to both platforms while leaving enough room for manoeuvre so that the application is a true macOS and Windows application. Finally, the new interface finally supports dark mode.
Contacts and Companies are merged
In Proteo, the Contacts and Companies modules have been combined into a single module called Contacts. The two modules had very similar interface and functionality. In fact, the two modules had already been merged in version 2.5, but I cancelled the merger at the last moment because I wanted to do more testing.
International Address Format
The grouping of contacts and companies was also an opportunity to rewrite the address support. In Blueprint Pro, only one type of address was available. Proteo should now support all address formats in use around the world. For example, if you have a contact in China, their address will now be displayed in the address format used in China. A contact in Peru will use the address format from Peru, and so on.
New Note Features
This was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made and I’m still not sure it’s the right one. On macOS, Blueprint Pro’s Notes editor relied entirely on the system’s APIs. The Windows version’s text editor was developed in-house.
When I made the decision to start from scratch, the choice of text editor was the subject of much reflection. Although extremely powerful, the macOS editor is reserved for macOS, making it incompatible with the aim of making Proteo a cross-platform application.
The in-house text editor had many qualities, but also serious limitations. For example, it wasn’t designed for right-to-left writing systems, and implementing this capability would have required a lot of development work, or even a complete rewrite. Also, while it worked on macOS, Windows and Linux, porting it to mobile platforms would have required a complete rewrite. The development of Proteo was taking longer than expected, and adding the rewrite of a text editor would have delayed the update even more.
So a third way had to be found. After much research and procrastination, I decided to use an html editor. It offers similar functionality to the macOS text editor, and it’s cross-platform. It works on smartphones and on the web, and supports right-to-left writing systems. However, this editor has some drawbacks. It requires the integration of Chromium on Windows versions, increasing the size of the application by about 170 MB. Finally, it is not as fast as a native text editor. It’s a compromise I’ve accepted for the moment.
This new text editor brings a lot of new features: highlighting, lists, photos, links and tables. To ensure a smooth transition, notes created with the old text editor will still work with the old editor. They will not be converted to the new format. Only the new notes will use the html text editor.
The redesign of the interface was also an opportunity to start from scratch. Many of you asked for the possibility to delete certain data fields, and Proteo now makes this possible.
Proteo no longer offers the Opportunities module. This is only temporary. The Opportunities module has been completely redesigned and still requires some optimisation. The new Opportunities module also required a complete rewrite of the quotation system with a new template editor. The module works, but I still wanted to test it a bit more before launching it.
About the Future
Some of you may be disappointed by the limited number of new features and the removal of other features such as the Opportunities module, but I hope you’ll see this version 3 as a new beginning. Proteo’s new modular architecture allows for faster development of the application and updates will now be more regular.