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Summary:

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 […]

On The Job Icon

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

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.

Getting Started with On The Job

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.

Editing a task in On The Job

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.

On The Job in the dock

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.

Lots of Tasks in On The Job

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.

By Brian Warren

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  1. Yeah, it’s a great little app. The only thing I would like would be some way to group projects based on the client. I’ve found myself moving slowly to Studiometry simply for this feature. On The Job is still the greatest app for those quick jobs though.

  2. Stuntblog » Blog Archive » The Apple Blog reviews On The Job Saturday, September 30, 2006

    [...] The people at The Apple Blog were nice enough to do a review of On The Job. Check it out! [...]

  3. Brilliant! Just what i’ve been looking for!

    On a sub note – how’s that re-design of Apple.com coming? ;)

  4. On The Job is awesome, I use it for all my freelance work! Simple, effective, and creates awesome invoices.

  5. This looks great.. I’ve been considering switching to a new time tracking program since the one I’m currently using (TimeNet) has yet to convert to Universal Binary.. Its slowing my machine down.. and I don’t like that..

    I’ll be checking this one out.

  6. Thame: The way I’ve been grouping projects based on clients, in On The Job is using the folders in the “Jobs” section. It’s easy enough and provides enough sorting for me, but I could see how it would fall short for more extended use.

  7. Look like a very nice and usable app, having a look at it now

  8. Nice. However I can’t seem to figure out how to just throw in a pre-determined amount of time and have it set the cost accordingly. It lets you manually input time but doesn’t allow you to adjust cost nor does it calculate cost automatically based on manually inputed time. Why allow manual input of time if it won’t use it in cost calculation? Seems like I’m either missing something obvious or it’s an obvious flaw in an otherwise good softaware product. Also, no invoice numbers is pretty much a deal breaker for me as almost all my clients demand them. I realize I could use the “notes” area for this but that just seems hackish and otherwise abusing a feature I may need for *gasp* notes :) Unless again I’m missing something? Also, as already mentioned, sorting projects by ciient would be useful.

    Nice looking/functioning app. Can’t wait to see what future versions have in store. For now I’ll have to stick with iBiz (buggy as it is). Studiometry is complicated and overkill for what I need, Billable has no Tax capabilities (huge oversight) and various other software I’ve tried have been severly lacking one way or another.

    K.

  9. Kevin:

    Hi, developer for On The Job here. To have the time entered into a task reflected as a cost, the hourly rate of the job must be set to some non-zero value. You can set the rate by first selecting the job in the jobs list by clicking it’s name. Then open the info panel. There will be a field there marked Hourly Rate.

    You will also notice that there is a field in the info panel marked Invoice Number, which should solve the other problem you were having, so you really can use the notes just for notes. :)

    An update is almost ready to make finding those two things a lot easier, and should be out within the next week.

  10. Great app Thanks!

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