Sunday, April 25, 2004

Relate linking tool

I have been meaning to write about Relate for some time. It is not something I have much use for, but I think many people would find it excellent. It allows you to create links between records in the four main PIM databases. This something people often complain is missing from the Palm OS and is one of the most common reasons for buying a replacement PIM app like DateBk5 or Agendus.

But Relate has two differences:
    1. It words with the built-in, plain vanilla PIM apps.
    2. It does not store its linking information in the note field of the record.

The way Relate works is very straightforward: select a record, and bring up the command bar, where you will see a chain-link icon. Tap on this icon to view or create links:

Realte icon in command BarseparatorRelate dialogue

Records to ink to are selected from Relate's own chooser:

Selecting a Contact

If there is a link already, the icon in the command bar has a red background, and the dialogue shows the links, and one tap will take you there:

Red iconseparatorShowing links

This is an elegant and efficient way to provide much-needed linking between records, but it has one big drawback: there is no visual indication of whether a record has a link or not until you select the record and bring up the command bar (a tap and a stroke). So here is my suggested workaround: find a symbol you never use and create a simple graffiti shortcut to write that symbol. Then add it to every record which has a link. That gives instant visual indication with minimum of effort. You can see the effect in the last two screenshots above, where there is a circle with a cross behind it after 'Week 2'.

Relate costs $7.99 and can be purchased at PDAGreen.