I've been a Now Contact user for eight years, ever since Now Software bought Touchbase and then discontinued it. Touchbase was nice; although the notes field was limited to 32kB, it was easy to review all past calls and notes to review your history with a person. Unfortunately, NC's user interface leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, although NC can hold oodles of notes and calls, they are to an approximation write-only, since there's no easy way to review any number of notes or calls to see what is stored within them.
After years of optimistically paying for NC upgrades, and then years of NC stagnating (including a vacuous paid upgrade), and a year of Nighthawk vaporware, I have no confidence that Nighthawk will both a) see the light of day, and b) be something I'd want to entrust my contact information to. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised, but then again perhaps not. In any case, it's time to seek an alternative.
But there's the rub: there's no way to get all of my two thousand contacts out of NC. Yes, I can use AppleScript to get the addresses and phone numbers, but what about those (yet again) write-only notes and calls? I've figured an ugly method of grabbing the notes, but there seems to be no way to access the calls through AppleScript. Perhaps I can do some QuicKeys gymnastics, but boy, would it be ugly.
So, after this (mild) venting, is there any way I can completely extract my accumulated contact information, notes and calls included, from Now Contact? Or should I wait for Nighthawk to be released, use the demo version to slurp everything from Now Contact, and then either hope for a complete export function or figure out how to hack the SQL database?
I'm nearly 99.9% sure that either using the text/tabbed export with all fields included, will export your data. You would then need to massage it by field mapping back into your PIM dujour. There's also VCARD export which will also handle most of your needs, including notes, but it does merge them.
It's not as dour as you would make it. Nighthawk is underway and under great guidance and development. It's slipped, but then - this is a total rewrite from the ground up. That being said, NOW has never locked your data into place - I can't say otherwise of other solutions out there. I'd be happy to help you migrate if you run into snags.
Geoff Miller MadCow Studios Toluca Lake, CA
Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately, if I use tab delimited export, the resulting text file is ambiguous and incomplete:
Exported keywords are tab-delimited, so they completely mess up the export structure. (Luckily I've never used keywords, because NC's keyword interface is too awkward.)[/*:m]
The notes are merged into one large field. Yes, they are separated by 0xB6 characters, but that's also what all the embedded return characters are converted to, so my import code would have to guess at the divisions between notes.[/*:m]
The killer: call records aren't included in the export. Like most people, 90+% of my conversational information is in the form of notes typed during calls, and that information can't be extracted, either by exporting or by AppleScript.[/*:m]
So, there's no useful export for the critical call data, and NC's AppleScript support is vestigial (also omitting call data). There's a chance I could use Prefab UI Browser and GUI scripting to directly manipulate NC's UI. If that fails I might be able to hack together a QuicKeys workaround for the export holes. Either solution would be ugly, difficult and fragile.
For now I'm going to wait for the (impending?) Nighthawk public beta. Of course I'll be interested to see if it does what NC hasn't done for the last eight years, but my biggest concern will be its export abilities and storage format. If Now is truly committed to not locking their customers down, trusting the quality of their software to retain customers, then Nighthawk will allow users to fully and unambiguously export their data.
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