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Monica 2.0.0 with better relationships

Last week we've released a major new version. So major in fact that we had to bump the version number to 2.0.0. Here is a list of the major changes that have shipped with this release (read the complete changelog for a list of all the changes).

Redesign of relationships

Monica has always let you link contacts together. However this relation was limited to parent->child relationships, or love relationships. This wasn't the most flexible system. Starting now, you can now link contacts with many different relationship types, like uncle/nephew, coworker, mentor/protege, etc... The complete list of the possible relationships is defined here.

We've also tried to respect genders when we can. For instance, if contacts are women, we'll say "aunt" instead of "uncle", and so on. This is a real challenge for contacts who have a custom gender though. We do not support this case yet, but we are working on finding a good solution to manage this specific case.

This change was the biggest change we've made to Monica yet. Despite an extensive testing period, we had some bumps in the road while deploying this new feature, and I hope things are more stable now.

Ability to define which feature you want to activate on a contact sheet

We now have an option to customize which feature you want to use with your contacts. Under the Personalization tab in the Settings panel, you can now toggle features you care about. If you don't want to display the Gifts section, for instance, you can now hide it.

Journal entry date

You can now specify a date for a journal entry - allowing you to have more control over your journal.

Right to left languages

We now support right to left languages, starting with Hebrew. We'd like to thank our amazing community of translators for making this happen and their contributions to the translation process in general.

Markdown in activity comments

Markdown is a fantastic formatting tool. We were using it on a Call note, now we also use it in an activity's comment.

Final note

We are very lucky to have a great community around this project. I'd like to thank every contributor (above 100 now) who've helped by contributing to the code, every translator for their insane effort in translating the thousands of words we have in the app, every subscriber and donator for their monetary contributions. Everything helps. In a world who finally realizes how big social media platforms destroy the privacy of users and affect relationships between people, we need independent, open source projects like Monica to restore our faith in how great human relationships can be.

Version 2.0.0 is already available as a download, and is live on our hosted version.

Introducing notifications

Reminders are a convenient and popular feature on Monica. Before today, they were sent the day events happen. If your goal was to buy a gift for your friend who has his birthday today, it would have been be too late to find and buy the gift. From now on, you will be reminded some time in advance that an event is coming. We call this a notification - or a reminder of reminder.

By default, notifications are sent 30 days before the event happens, then 7 days before, then the day the event happens. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to plan for whatever the event is.

Those notifications can be disabled in your Settings panel, under Personalization.

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Notifications only affect monthly and yearly reminders, not weekly.

Cherry on the cake: you also now have the possibility to define the hour in the day you want to receive the reminder emails.

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These new features are already in production, and will be available in v1.8.1, which will be released in a few days, if you are into running Monica on a server that you own.

Translations just got an upgrade

Maintaining translations is really painful. I've yet to find a project where it's an easy and painless process. Until now, to translate Monica, you needed to clone the repository, update the language file and finally submit the result as a pull request. Well, no more.

Thanks to Crowdin and their generous open source program, you can now use a very simple tool to translate Monica in the language you want. The project is available at https://crowdin.com/project/monicahq and will ask you to create an account if you want to contribute. Don't hesitate to create an issue if you want to translate a language that we don't support yet.

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Introducing custom genders

When I launched Monica last year, I didn't realize that only offering two genders (man and woman) to identify contacts wasn't enough. We received a lot of feedback about this very specific point. The reality is that gender is not a binary option. Monica needs to represent reality, and it is more complex than what I originally thought.

This is why we are introducing the notion of custom genders. By default, each account still comes with three genders (male, female and other), but now you can customize this list, add or remove genders at will. You will be the one deciding which gender people should have. While we should be careful not to add too many options in Monica, this is a case where we need to put you, the user, in control of what your reality is.

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Mark a gift as offered

Monica has the ability to manage gifts related to a contact. You can easily remember gift ideas for your best friend, or gifts that you've received from your grand mother that year. Now you have the ability to mark a gift idea as being offered. The section has been slightly redesigned to reflect this new feature.

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A lot of other smaller additions have been recently added. We'll cover those in upcoming blog posts - but you can always read about all the changes we make on Monica on the release notes page.

Monica in 2018

When you are working every day on something, you don't take the time very often to think about the big picture. I don't want to lose sight of what I would like Monica to accomplish - so here is what I’d like to do in 2018. This post is not a roadmap per se. Think of it as my very own Wishlist.

  • Launch the mobile application. The work has already started and we are close to a v1 that should ship in the coming weeks. The first version will be read only, and v2 will allow the edition of data. The code of the mobile application is already on GitHub, and is 100% open source (obviously).
  • GraphQL support: we already have a REST API that the v1 of the mobile application will use. If we truly want a great mobile application, we need to make sure that all the requests made to the API are efficient and GraphQL is the best solution for this.
  • Support for Carddav and Caldav. I believe this is what will make Monica shine on the long run. These two protocols will let you sync your contacts and calendar entries with your existing mail and calendar apps on mobile or desktops. Monica would become the central source of your social data.
  • More love to reminders, with the possibility to be warned before an event actually happens.
  • Provide statistics about your social life: how much time you went out a given month, who do you see the most, where do you hangout the most, etc… The more data you feed to Monica, the more insights you’ll have.
  • A calendar view that shows reminders, future events,…
  • The concept of “rich” activity sheets: for instance, if you indicate that you went to a restaurant, have the ability to set where it was (with automatic placement on a map), what you’ve eaten, how long it took, etc… Each type of activities would have specific information to fill.
  • The journal should become the place where your life is auto documented. This will be great once we’ll have rich activity sheets.
  • Stabilize the platform, add a lot of tests to make sure we don't break things as we move forward.
  • If I have the time, but only if I do: make the app prettier. However I believe it’s more important to have a functional application than a good looking one.
  • And last but not least: add more ways of importing data. This will be a real pain as, surprisingly, most social networks or systems are not open source and don't provide you with the data they have on you.

I hope to accomplish all the points above this year. I also know that things are constantly changing for a variety of reasons, so take it with a grain of salt.

Add a date without knowing the year

A birthdate is composed of a day, a month and a year. Well, in an ideal world, because in practice, most of the time you don't know the year of birth. If it's the birthday of a dear friend of yours who refuses to give you her age, you will only know the day and month to celebrate her birthday every year.

This is why we have added the ability to set a date without knowing the year.

This change applies to birthdates, first met dates and deceased dates. Reminders for those dates will work the same way as before.

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This feature was one of the most requested features in our issue tracker. We hope it will help you add more information about your friends and family members.

Introducing favorites for notes

Notes can now be set as a favorite. Favorites are a great way to keep track of notes that you find interesting.

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When a note is set as favorite, it will appear in a new tab on the dashboard, called Important notes.

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In this release, we've also released some goodies:

  • Some actions in the UI now have dynamic notifications when adding/updating/deleting data.
  • It's now possible to change account's owner first and last names

These changes are in the version 1.3.0 which is already in production, and as always, you can install it on a server that you own.

Enjoy!

A better way to manage tasks

Adding and managing tasks is now easier than ever in Monica.

We've leveraged our work on v1.1 to allow the management of the tasks right from the contact view page, instead of having to open a new screen to enter task info, or having to wait for a page reload when you delete a task.

Also, and this is an important change, tasks now use checkboxes. Finally. This is something that we wanted to do for a long time.

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These changes are in the version 1.2.0 which is already in production, and as always, you can install it on a server that you own.

Enjoy!

Introducing multiple contact fields

Some people have one physical address and one Twitter account. Others have multiple addresses, no Twitter at all and one Quora account. It's hard to take all use cases into account, but we want to let users organize their contacts the way they want it.

A physical address, a Twitter account,... we call all these ways of contacting someone a contact field.

Starting now, you can add as many contact fields per contact as you want. Previously you could only have 5 pre-defined fields.

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Each contact field has a type: it can be an email, a Facebook account, a fax number. Each account comes with 6 generic contact field types:

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram

You can add or remove contact field types on your account at your leisure, and set their names as you want, in the new Personalization tab under Settings.

Each contact field type can also have a protocol associated with it. A protocol is what the browser should do when you click on a contact field. For instance, for a phone number, the tel: protocol will tell the browser to launch the software that you use on your computer to make phone calls.

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The API has been updated to support those two new concepts (contact fields and contact field types).

We've also reordered a little bit the sidebar when viewing a contact. Information about the partners and children are now at the top of the sidebar, as I believe this is a much more important information that knowing the address of the contact for instance.

These changes are in the version 1.1.0 which is already in production, and as always, you can install it on a server that you own.

Enjoy!

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