There are some kinds of applications that just really strike me as admirable. These are the ones that really find a couple things to focus on and do those things really well. The “Microsoft Words” of the world today are so bloated and so feature-rich that they lose focus on what really matters. They have to add features each time they release a new version because otherwise, why would people upgrade? In sharp contrast to the “More Features = Good” way of thinking comes On The Job by Stunt Software. On The Job is a time tracking and invoicing application that is both simple and powerful, and it feels right at home in the Mac OS X environment.
Getting started with On The Job is simple. Helpful on-screen tips guide you through it, but really, there isn’t anything tricky. I’ll walk through a basic job so you can see the features as I use them.
First you just add a job. Call it what you want. I named mine “Apple.com Redesign.” Next, add a task, this would be some sort of sub task of the job. It’s up to you if you want to have multiple tasks for the project. I should also point out that in the Jobs column, you can group individual jobs into folders. I found this handy for longer projects that have multiple stages.
Once you have a task, click the play button and start working. On The Job will track your time as you work. If you need to take a coffee break or go out for some adult beverages, On The Job will figure out you’ve been idle. When you come back, On The Job will pop up a dialog asking if you want to subtract the idle time or not. It knows, on its own that you’ve been idle. Also, it’s easy, even from the dock, to start and stop the time at will.
As I progressed through this project, other tasks came up so I created them and timed my work on them accordingly. Also, it’s easy to add non-timed tasks to the project, such as expense line items. This is handy for people who charge by the job rather than by the hour. You can add credit items as well.
Invoicing Makes it Shine
Once I’ve put in your hard work you’re ready to invoice the client. This is a place where On The Job really shines. The invoices it creates are simple and attractive; I often get comments on them. Clicking the “Invoice” button brings open a window where you can, with a click, print it or send a PDF right to Mail. There are a few options to add tax rates, round the time and add your address. Almost always I send my invoices via email, so having this built into the invoicing application is a big bonus. Unfortunately, if you use Thunderbird or anything other than Mail, the “Send to Mail” function won’t be helpful for you, as On The Job doesn’t pick up on your default e-mail client.
Stunt Software plans to fix this in the future. Apparently there is not a standard way of feeding attachments to an email client. Consequently, developers have to handle each email client separately, and adding support for all major email clients is a big task.
A Great App
On The Job is a fantastic application for anybody who does freelancing. It’s not a one-stop solution for managing projects and clients, but it doesn’t try to be. It does what it does very well. It’s also easy to integrate On The Job into a bigger client and project workflow such as Basecamp. There may be a few areas for improvement, but all in all it’s a great application.