Vincent Danen explains how Mac OS X's powerful Daylite CRM application syncs easily with other applications to provide highly flexible, up-to-date access to all of your most important information where ever you go.
Daylite is a powerful CRM application for OS X systems, which I wrote about last week. One of the potent features that makes it so useful is its ability to synchronize with other applications. Daylite takes advantage of the OS X Synchronization Services, which allows it do real-time synchronization with Address Book and iCal. Because these applications also synchronize with other third-party applications, you can use them as a "bridge" between Daylite and other apps.To configure or change syncing preferences, you need to modify the Daylite Preferences, then select the Synchronization icon. Here you will be presented with a number of options to sync Daylite with iCal and Address Book. You can elect to synchronize everything: all Calendars and Contacts, or you can elect to synchronize only certain bits of each (whatever groups you define in Daylite that you want to sync). You can also choose whether or not you want to sync appointments and tasks. There are two tabs: one for Calendar, another for Contacts, shown in Figure A.
Once you have decided what you will sync, you will be prompted to do an immediate sync. Once this is complete, both iCal and Address Book will contain the same data that Daylite has: tasks, calendars, and contacts. From here, things get interesting.
A lot of applications can sync with iCal and Address Book. There are plugins that allow you to sync to Google Apps; you can also take advantage of smartphone syncing utilities like The Missing Sync for BlackBerry, The Missing Sync for Palm OS, and other applications that sync to smartphones. There are also single-use applications that can sync such as Things and The Hit List, which are two task management (GTD-style) applications that are capable of syncing tasks with iCal.
If you use an iPod Touch or iPhone, Daylite Touch is a must. Without it, you can still sync information from Daylite, via iCal and Address Book, to the iPhone's equivalent applications, but the Calendar application on the iPhone strictly deals with calendars; it does not provide task information. If having handy access to your tasks is important to you, Daylite Touch is the best way to access the information on your iPhone. Not only does it provide the basic tasks, calendar, and address book information, but it exposes everything in Daylite, including Projects and Opportunities, in a very simple and easy-to-use way.
The ability to set up Daylite for real-time syncing with Address Book and iCal may seem relatively minor at first, but once you start looking at the opportunities, you'll realize that it is a great way to merge data that you would not be able to otherwise merge together. Granted, Daylite is just one "client" to these sync services, but if you need a powerful CRM, Daylite doesn't lock you into using its interface at the expense of using other tools.
While Daylite and DMI (Daylite Mail Integration) are great if you're at your desktop, being able to sync calendars and addresses to GMail, for instance, ensures you can get to your information at any computer. With a two-way sync, any information you input there will make its way back to Daylite. And being able to carry that information in your pocket -- be it via an iPhone or Blackberry -- with two-way synchronization, is the icing on the cake.
Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.