Saturday, Sep 25. 2010  –  Category: Android

qrcode While my day job has been working on the Rdio Android app, I’ve continued hacking on other random Android related things on the side to learn about the other aspects of the platform I haven’t touched yet. One of the things I love about Android is the ability for apps to deeply integrate into the system. On an iPhone or Blackberry you can tell where the boundary is between phone and app. Startup the Phone Book/Contacts on a Blackberry or iPhone and you know you’re looking at something built by RIM or Apple. On Android when you start the Contacts app, the contacts you see are being populated by your Google Contacts, Twitter, Facebook, etc. While I’ve been working on the Rdio Android app, I came across the section on how to write SyncAdapters to sync contacts from the cloud into your Android contacts…

Meanwhile, back in the world of social networking… one of the places I keep a profile is LinkedIn. I’ve found it to be a useful resource and a great professional social network. I thought it’d be really handy to integrate that into my Android Contacts… so 1+1=2 and a few days of hacking later, I’ve built the ConnectIn app.

It syncs your LinkedIn connections into your Android contacts, notably it syncs over phone numbers, photos, status updates, and “headlines” (which are the “Senior Muckity-Muck at Foobazco, inc.” title things). It also adds a link to invoke the browser to load the full profile. I’ve released the initial version in the Android market for $0.99 (USD). It’ll be an interesting experiment… I’ve never sold software before (at least not directly).

Some features I plan on implementing: an in-app profile viewer (rather than kicking directly off to the browser), people search, and whatever else I think of that seems interesting and relevant. Anyway, if you have 99 cents to blow and want to check it out, scan the QR code to the right.

Once you install it, it’ll be accessible via your System Settings > Accounts & Sync screen. Click the Add Account, and you should see a LinkedIn account type. Click that and you’ll be walked through the LinkedIn OAuth authorisation process. Once that’s done it’ll automatically start syncing in the background. To actually display the contacts go to your Contacts app and go to the Display option in the menu to enable display of LinkedIn contacts. On HTC phones using Sense UI, you’ll want to use the People Search app instead of Contacts.

Update 09/27: I just pushed version 1.1.0 to the market last night which should fix a bunch of the Sense UI issues including contacts not showing up in the regular People app.

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41 Comments to “ConnectIn”

  1. Eric Mill Says:

    Cool, I’m trying it out now. Consider adding an actual activity to the launcher (and which would launch when the user tapped the “App finished installing” notification) that would tell people what to do after installing the app. If you get at all noticed, few of your downloaders will have read this blog post, and few will know to go and manually add an account from the account management screen. All of my other accounts got added through other apps.

    Also, consider offering the same merge options that Twitter and Facebook do: sync all, sync none, or sync only with people who are already in my address book. I don’t really want all of my LinkedIn accounts to display in my contacts list, but I do want my existing contacts to have their LinkedIn account associated with them, like their Twitter and Facebook accounts have been.

  2. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Eric: Great suggestions – especially the sync all/none/existing one. I’ll work on adding that to the next version. cheers!

  3. dave Says:

    i like the idea of the app but the fact that the contacts only show up in the search people app. I think a better solution (other than having the apps show up in the contacts/people app natively) would be to have it show up as part of the online directory tab(where you search facebook, twitter or Exchange ActiveSync). Overall I like the idea of the app but right now, since I have downloaded and exported my contacts from Linkedin, I would get duplicates

  4. Gren Says:

    Nice straightforward idea and app. Needs to integrate with ‘HTC people’ app rather than ‘search people app’ as I don’t know if many use the search app. Would love to see notifications for updates. Running on Desire 2.2

  5. GT Says:

    Does it only work on Eclair and Froyo? I unfortunately only have Donut, MT3G, and it is not in the market.

  6. Stephen Lau Says:

    @GT: Yeah, sorry it’s Eclair or higher only since the Contacts integration requires Android 2.x

    @Gren: Notifications for updates are a great idea; I’ll look into building that into an upcoming version.

    @Gren & @Dave: Looks like HTC’s Sense stuff does things differently from everyone else’s Android. :( I’ll look into the online directory tab and see how that is built. I might have to do some HTC specific workarounds to get the same level of integration to work on those phones.

  7. Pedro Says:

    An option for people with no access to paid apps on the market, to also buy it, would be nice :) With Paypal or something similar.

  8. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Pedro: Yeah – I’m looking into alternative markets too but this app was built with the Android Market Licensing Verification Library which sort of ties it to the market. Maybe next month when they release the market to additional geos…

  9. Gren Says:

    Nice work on the update, didn’t expect anything so quickly. Can confirm the Sense version of contacts now works nicely. Will hopefully stop those comments in the Market about it ‘not working’

  10. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Gren: Thanks for confirming the Sense fixes worked.. and for the idea for the notification (and thanks for the comments/rating on the market :) )

  11. Pedro Says:

    Okay, thanks, I guess we will have to wait until Google decides to open more markets…. :/

  12. Joel Says:

    Force Closes when trying to view a linkedin user’s profile HTC EVO, 2.2 App is latest from market, just bought tonight. Is there a fix?

  13. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Joel: Yup, that’s a bug, I’ve got it fixed in my development tree; should have a new build pushed to the Market this weekend for that and a few new features and bugfixes.

  14. Pedro Says:

    Now that Android market is coming to Norway in the next two weeks ish, its not so important for me to get another way to pay for it :)

  15. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Joel: Pushed a fix to the market in 1.1.2 earlier today for that FC on viewing the user’s profile.

  16. Pedro Says:

    Android market Norway, just got payed apps and I have just bought a copy.

  17. Darrel Donatto Says:

    I purchased and installed ConnectIn on my Droid X running Android version 2.2 I added the LinkedIn account and setup the synch.. it never seemd to synch. I received an update notice and did that.. It never seemed to synch as expected (or at all). After the update – I could no longer view groups in my contacts. Just prior to the update – I could. When I click “display Group” I get a dialog box that says “Show” with a small down arrow that does not respond to any touch.

    Can you help get my phone back to normal????

  18. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Darrel: Have you tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app? It shouldn’t touch anything with the groups at all (in fact that’s something I’ve been trying to do unsuccessfully :p). If you can collect a log with the free Log Collector app (available in the market) I can take a look and see if it’s stuck on something.

  19. FanDroid Says:

    Hi !, I installed it but after I click account, it’s stuck on “connecting to linkedin”. And then nothing happens. What can I do ?


  20. Mark Says:

    Installed it, synced and the linked ones appeared in contacts, so far so good :-) But inside a linkedin-contact there is no possibility of adding phnumbers adresses :-( …Can these contacts only be managed via Linkedin?

  21. Stephen Lau Says:

    @FanDroid: Do you have a working Internet connection? That usually means it’s unable to get to LinkedIn’s website to do the OAuth exchange to allow you to login.

    @Mark: Yes, they’re read-only and can only be managed via LinkedIn. You can, of course, create new accounts of the same name and then link them to the same account so there is only one entry in your address book (which is the Android way)

  22. FanDroid Says:

    Yep, my mobile internet is working normal. Maybe somewhere a security setting ?

  23. Stephen Lau Says:

    @FanDroid: Could you install the free Log Collector app from the market and grab a log after ConnectIn gets stuck at “Connecting to LinkedIn” and email it to me? (coleslau at gmail dot com). I’ll take a look and see what’s going on…

  24. vertti Says:

    I select a person from People list. There’s (1) in the corner meaning a link suggestion. I select that and it links that guy to his linkedin profile. I run Connectin SYNC NOW. I select the same person from People list: There’s one suggestion again, so it has lost the link between the guy and his linkedin profile.

    Pretty frustrating after just clicking through tens of people and linking them…

  25. Heber Says:

    Hello! Just bought ConnectIn from Android Market and it seems to work fine with my Galaxy S, however I couldn’t find the option to sync only existing contacts in the preferences screen, so all my LinkedIn contacts are downloaded. Am I missing something?

  26. vertti Says:

    nice new update but still SYNC NOW breaks all links between people and their linkedin profiles!! lots of work to link people with their linkedin profile and then after you click SYNC NOW in Connectin, all those links are gone.

    HTC Desire, froyo.

  27. Amedee Van Gasse Says:

    I like the concept of your app, in particular that it integrates in the Android Contacts app. But it is not the first nor the only app that does this for LinkedIn. Could you please tell me how your app compares to the free Unlocking Android LinkedIn app? Look for us.cirion.unlockingandroid.linkedin in the Android Market. It is a sample app that comes with the book “Unlocking Android: A Developer’s Guide”, on Amazon: I presume that the source code is provided with the book. I don’t know, I don’t have it.

    I’m also going to write a blog post or a series of blog posts on my blog (in Dutch) about various Android apps that integrate into the Contacts app. I will cover your app, and to be able to comment on it, I will have to buy it first of course. I’m just a bit worried that I will experience some difficulties with two different apps that sync the same contact data.

  28. Bob Breck Says:

    Tried to install the recent upgrade on the Samsung Transform, but it’s stuck in the Market on “Install”–can’t cancel the download or the install and it’s been doing this for several days.

  29. Kenny Sharp Says:

    So far I like the way ConnectIn links through to my Contacts and pulls through the photos, but it doesn’t appear to be pulling through contact details. I’m using HTC Desire with Android 2.2.

  30. Kenny Sharp Says:

    Still not getting contact details. Just getting names and photos. Is this a bug or am I missing a setting somewhere?

  31. PatrickB Says:

    Thanks for the great App. It does everything I want it to do. Almost. ;-) The photos are linkeded to the internal People/Contacts on my Desire Z which is a great thing. However, it would be great if it would also sync instead of just link. With this I mean that it will automatically be synced with GMail contacts so that the address book on my GMail account will also contain the pictures of contacts and maybe also telephone numbers and/or E-mail addresses. Just make sure it does not automatically overwrite existing data. Just my 2 cents!

  32. Stephen Lau Says:

    @Kenny It should sync over phone numbers if your contacts have #’s listed in their profile (and visible to you). Unfortunately LinkedIn’s API does not expose emails so I can’t integrate those. :(

    @PatrickB Unfortunately sync providers can only alter data for the info they add; i.e.: ConnectIn can’t modify any data that the Google Account provider syncs. :(

    For the folks on HTC phones experiencing link-breakage after each sync; unfortunately this seems to be a bug in the interaction between HTC’s Sense customisations and third party Android sync providers. Without knowing more about what HTC’s Sense does in the background, I don’t have a way to fix this. :(

  33. PatrickB Says:

    Unfortunately sync providers can only alter data for the info they add; i.e.: ConnectIn can’t modify any data that the Google Account provider syncs.

    So if I get this straight, we need a single sync app which both syncs GMail and LinkedIn for syncing the (for example) LinkedIn profile pictures with GMail account pictures. Well, if you got enough spare time on your hands, I would gladly pay a bit extra for an app which would do this. :-)

  34. NdyGen Says:

    @Stephen, did you find out what’s causing the problem FanDroid had? Mine does the same now on gingerbread, keeps saying “Connecting to linkedin..” but nothing happens. It used to work perfectly on Froyo.

  35. Stephen Lau Says:

    @NdyGen: I’ve heard a couple of reports of this issue on Gingerbread. Unfortunately I’m unable to reproduce it on the emulator, and I don’t have a Nexus S (sigh :p). I’ll have to wait until I get Gingerbread pushed to my Nexus One in order to properly reproduce it and debug the issue.

  36. koolpal Says:

    Stephen, try Cyanogen Mod for your Nexus One. I am using the same and am stuck at the same error reported above.

    Please help!

  37. Kenneth Says:

    Seems like the application will not update the removed connections. I removed some of my LinkedIn connections, and they are still visible in the application.

  38. Michiel Says:

    I got my OTA upgrade for my Nexus One today and I have the same issue. I suspect there’s an incompatibility with Gingerbread. Would be nice if you would look into it.

  39. Stephen Lau Says:

    Just pushed a fix for the Gingerbread issue… should be working on your Nexus One & S’s now!

  40. Michiel Says:

    I can conform that! Syncing now. Thanks a lot!

  41. Torsten Says:

    I have the same problem as Kenny (#30), did he get his setup to work? I am on a Legend with Froyo, running LauncherApp Pro instead of Sense.

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