For the past several months we were busily working on no small undertaking. Our client ELO Digital Office GmbH in Stuttgart, Germany (maker of the ELO digital document management system) wanted to present a super-charged iPad client just in time for Cebit. And that’s “ELO” as in “Electronic Leitz Office”, not “Electronic Light Orchestra” the band.
So today they announce immediate availability of the dedicated iPad version of ELO. It is a free download because to really use it you need to have their ELO server software. But you can still test drive the client because there is a test server available and pre-set when you download the app so that you can try it out for yourself.
The new ELO iClient for iPad is a ground-up rewrite of the client, designed to give users of the ELO server software the best of both worlds. Digital document storage, indexing and search via their powerful server. Touch-based interaction with a beautiful user interface on the iPad as users have to come expect it from Apple devices.
The entire UI hat to be custom-made because the task was to combine the visual appeal of the Twitter app with the feature-richness of the ELO server. And you know how it is with software, there always is some small problem that creeps in. But we had to draw a line, about 2 weeks before launch, to send a version 1.0 to Apple for approval.
Approval for Version 1.0 took 5 days, as almost all do nowadays. But we had set the release time to a future date to be able to control the availability. After the first approval was through we sent them a 1.0.1 version with some minor fixes. The second time around we used the “Time Critical Release” bonus card, via the contact form to get an expedited review.
There are some things that did not make the cut-off in time, but which are almost done. But as it is with the app store you can always submit another point release.
One such item is that we wanted to have the panels move a bit depending on the amount of momentum that you give them when lifting your finger. I’ve seen it and it works beautifully! Another item is that we made the choice to submit a separate app from the iPhone version. We want to unify both apps into a single client that works for iPhone and iPad at the same time. But for that we need to update all the UI for the iPhone and achieve feature-parity. Forcing both apps into one would have been too schizophrenic, simply because the iPad version is a ground-up rewrite.
So we’re going to take sufficient time to polish up the iPhone part and then we can make the current iPad app universal, as originally intended. It is our hope and goal to give ELO’s clients the best possible iOS app for accessing their documents on the go. Even offline. That was one of the most complicated items to get right, but we think we pulled it off.
The greatest part of the experience for us was that all the predictions we made about how Apple would react held true. Thanks Apple, for letting us look good in front of our clients!