I’ve been searching for a good invoicing application for OS X. There are programs out there but I’ve had a hard time finding one with a native (preferably Cocoa) interface that is simple, intuitive and nice looking. Here are the results of my search.
First, what to avoid
CG Invoicer – I’m sure this is a powerful program but the interface isn’t simple, isn’t native Mac though it tries to be–which is almost worse than not trying at all if you ask me.
TimeNet – This one comes close, but the interface is still not simple enough and it takes 3 small windows to accomplish basically one task. I prefer one main window and maybe one editing window.
Blue Box Invoices – Again, this is probably powerful software, but I just can’t bring myself to use something created entirely in FileMaker Pro. I’m not against FileMaker, but I just don’t think it’s the best tool for the job in this case.
Activity and Expense Tracker – Ahhh… big blue buttons. Enough said.
Acro Invoice – Another not-quite-native OS X invoice program. It just doesn’t look professional to me. Again, I’m not knocking the functionality of any of these programs, but I want good looks along with my smarts.
Invoice Biz – Woah. This looks like it could be the interface to a sweet early 90′s game.
SoftBooks – This is another close call, and would probably be fine for my needs. My only complaints here are that it’s pretty boring (I guess this is invoicing we’re talking about here) and I just have a gut feeling that it could be done better.
StudioEase – Again, strange custom interface.
TimeEqualsMoney – Appears to have a native OS X interface but way too crowded and the functionality seems limited.
Workbook – Decent looking, but it’s aimed squarely at the software developer. Too specific for my needs.
Studioboss – More to come on this. I’m still not ruling it out.
Second, what I created
So… after much searching I finally decided I’d have to design it myself (and have someone else program it of course). I spent a bit of time doing just that, and I think I came up with some decent Ideas – here are my sketches (click to enlarge):
After sketching on paper, I even made it as far as to open Interface Builder and dabble a bit with creating the interface. This didn’t last long, but here are the results (click to enlarge):
Finally, the fruits of my labor
After searching, designing and playing with Interface Builder, I finally came back to a program I’d seen quite awhile back but completely forgotten about. Studiometry. Basically it fits the bill. It looks great, is simple and effective and appears to be in active development. It also even looks a bit like what I was trying to get at in my designs, in a roundabout way.
After learning more about what’s available for invoicing on the Mac than I ever thought possible, I’m sold on Studiometry.