New finance features: estimates and the ledger view

Jeff Denton

Feb 12, 2015 by Jeff

44 comments
finances, ledger, estimates, news, Hints and Tips, Help

Last week we rolled out a whole bunch of updates to CreativePro Office.  Among them were things like updated jQuery UI controls, new messaging widget, drag and drop file uploads for tasks and messages, and a highly requested feature...estimates!

Now you can create and send estimates to your clients and then convert them to invoices with one click.  Estimates are created exactly the same way as invoices and they show up in the Finances area under the Invoices and Estimates tab.

The other big new feature is the ledger view.  Until now, there was no way to view income and expenses in a single view.  In the ledger view, you can select a date range and see all invoice payments and expenses within that range.  You can expand each item to see a little bit more detail. Invoice payments will show all payments made for that particular invoice, along with the date of payment and the method of payment.  Expenses will show any notes or comments associated with the expense.

In the right-hand column, you can see income and expense totals for the time period selected. You can also toggle between viewing only expenses or income.

We hope you like the new estimate and ledger features as we keep working to make CPO a more complete solution for your team!

Thanks for reading.

Some big changes are coming to CPO Finances

Jeff Denton

Sep 29, 2012 by Jeff

185 comments
Features, News

Just a quick update on some of the new stuff we've been doing around here the past few weeks. Possibly THE most requested feature for CPO has been the ability to create estimates. So, we're finally going to make that happen.  But as we were building out the estimate feature, we went ahead and decided to do a whole bunch of good stuff in the Finances area.  Here's a quick list of things you'll see within the next 2 weeks:

  1. Estimates and the ability to turn an estimate into an invoice with one click *Yea!*
  2. A ledger view with Income and Expenses will be the default view for the Finances area.
  3. You'll be able to filter the ledger by date range or keyword search.
  4. The PayPal link on invoices will now be optional.  You can chose whether or not to include it when you email the invoice.
  5. We'll make the invoice HTML and Email views a bit more readable.
  6. We'll fix that pesky invoice Due Date bug.

We're also making a few app-wide changes - mostly to the code and UI.  We've replaced a lot of CSS code to make our button HTML smaller and easier to implement.  Category entry select controls in Projects, Invoices, and Expenses are now jQuery combo boxes and they work very nicely.  All autocomplete controls have been replaced with jQuery UI autocomplete. And we're now minifying and concatenating all our CSS and JavaScript files on the server so you should see some slightly faster load times.

I think that's about it.  We hope to have all of these updates rolled out by mid-October. Thanks for reading!

How does 10x more storage space for FREE sound?

Jeff Denton

Sep 29, 2012 by Jeff

16 comments
File Management, News

10x more storage space on CPO!Some good news for your weekend.  Today we bumped the storage space on all CreativePro Office accounts by a whopping 10x!  That means that the SOLO plan now has 10GB or storage space.  The SHOP plan has 50GB, and the TEAM plan has a stupendous 100GB of storage space.  

The best part...this increase is completely free to all customers.  It's one way we can say a big "Thanks!" to all of our loyal users.  So go - upload your documents, photos, comps, and proposals. Hopefully, worries about running out of space will now be the last thing on your mind.

Have a great weekend, everyone and thanks for reading.

View your CPO payments...and some restructuring.

Jeff Denton

Jun 20, 2012 by Jeff

30 comments
Features, News

We've always felt a little bad about not offering a place where subscribers could see their payment record.  So this week, we've fixed that!  Beginning this week, you will receive email receipts each month for your CPO payments and you can view them within the app as well.

To view your payments, you'll need to go into the My Account area which is new.

My AccountYou'll notice that we've moved some stuff into the My Account area that used to be under Settings like changing you password, cancelling your account, and changing your credit card or plan type.

To see your list of payments, click on the View Account Payments tab.

Your payment list

Here you'll see an entry for each payment you've made since May 2012 - unfortunately, we couldn't get data for any payments made prior to May. The Profile ID is a unique ID assigned to your subscription by our payment processor.  It will change if you update your credit card or change plans and it's handy to have on hand if there's ever a payment dispute.

Right now, this is a simple list view.  Eventually, we'd like to give you the ability to print or email your payment data from this screen.

Thanks for reading!  

Introducing the CPO desktop timer

Jeff Denton

Jun 1, 2012 by Jeff

24 comments
Development Progress, Features, News

iPhone AppOur push to move CPO beyond the browser continues. Today we're happy to announce our desktop app for Mac and PC! Now can log time to any of your active projects and tasks right from your desktop without ever having to open CPO in your browser.

 

What does it do?

For now, the desktop app can log time for multiple projects on a given day. It will also keep a history of time logged. Using the built in calendar widget, you can view time spend on projects in the past.

Desktop app trayWhen the app is minimized, you will see a little icon in your tray indicating whether or not you have active timers running. You also get a small menu of options for logging out or getting help with the app.

One last nifty feature...if you want to start a new task that isn't already in your task list, you can add it right in the task combo box. You don't have to log in to your account in the browser, and add the task there - you can do it right from your desktop.

Desktop app screens

Where can I get it?

Check out our Extras page to find the download links for both Mac and PC.  Installation should be quick and painless on both platforms.

Any plans for updates?

Yes...and, it depends.  Some updates are certain. For example, we would love to add better keyboard shortcuts to the app along with some simple reporting features.  We've also thought about releasing this as a standalone app in the Mac App Store.  

Other features we see being useful are a task manager, file uploader and viewer, invoice viewer, expense manager, and maybe a contact list manager.  We're going to take a wait and see approach to these other features.  Our sense is that most users will be happier with a good and complete mobile app so that's where we will likely spend most of our resources.

However, if folks seem to really like the desktop app, then we'll give it some more love!

The geeky stuff.

We built the desktop app with Appcelerator Titanium using HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and a sprinkling of Chico IU components. Figuring out all the little quirks in Titanium took some doing - the desktop API is a bit different from the Titanium Mobile API...and less supported.  

We're really pleased with the Chico UI components.  We didn't like the idea of including a huge UI library (like jQuery UI) just to get a calendar and a combo box. Chico UI fit the bill nicely.  It's a relatively new library on the scene but the devs are actively working on it and respond quickly to bugs and feature requests.  Check 'em out for your next project!

The CPO iPhone app is here!

Jeff Denton

May 25, 2012 by Jeff

9 comments
Development Progress, Features, News

iPhone AppWe're happy to finally announce our new iPhone app for CreativePro Office! Now you can track your time and tasks while away from the office. We know you've waited a long time for this release and we appreciate your patience.

Where can I get it?

 ...and it's FREE!

What does the app do, exactly?

Currently, our iPhone app includes time tracking and task management. You can track time against any of your current projects and tasks.  The timer can run in the background so you don't need to have the app in the foreground to track your time.    

The task manager allows you to see all of your current, upcoming, and overdue tasks.  You can mark tasks as complete and add new tasks as well. 

Download the app and kick the tires for a bit.  We're looking for feedback on how well it works and what features should be added in the future.

Any plans for upgrades or new features?

Yes, lots. Our rough roadmap for additional mobile features looks like this...

  1. Expenses including the ability to upload receipts to your account.
  2. Invoice viewing and creation.
  3. File manager for viewing and uploading files to your account.
  4. Integration of client contact information with device contacts.

Any plans for an iPad app?

Yes, we're actually in the early stages of development. I won't give a release date yet but we do hope to have something available for the iPad before the end of 2012.

Any plans for an android version?

Eventually...we would like to get an iPad version out the door first.  Tentatively look for something early in 2013.

Why did it take so long to release?

We've been promising a mobile app for a little over a year.  The main problem has been finding a development platform that we felt worked well.  Last year there were many emerging mobile technologies that promised the ability to build native apps for both iOS and Android with one codebase instead of buiding separate apps for each platform. 

The very first thing we did was build a mobile web version of CPO with a product called Sencha Touch that you could access through the phone browser.  We just weren't happy with the results - it was slow and the code was cumbersome...so we kept looking.  

Next, we tried refining our Sencha Touch app and using PhoneGap to package it. PhoneGap allows you to build native iOS and Android apps using HTML5 and JavaScript.  It then packages the app for distribution through the app stores.  We were happier with the results but the app was still very slow on older devices.  Keep looking...

Finally we gave Appcelerator Titanium a shot and found joy at last! Titanium allows you to build cross platform mobile apps in JavaScript that are truly native, using native controls and giving full access to the device features like camera, contact list, GPS, etc.  If you've been wondering which platform to use for mobile development, I would strongly recommend Titanium.  The learning curve is a little steep but the rewards are worth it.

Drag and drop task ordering

Jeff Denton

Nov 8, 2011 by Jeff

15 comments
Features, Help, News, Development Progress

Now you can reorder tasks simply by dragging them around and dropping them where you want.  You can reorder tasks within a milestone or move tasks from one milestone to another - it works the same either way.  We hope this makes organizing your tasks a little bit easier.

NOTE: Currently you cannot reorder milestones...we're still working on this feature.

Task ordering with drag and drop 

Invoice PDF's get a nice makeover

Jeff Denton

Mar 12, 2011 by Jeff

773 comments
News, Features

We just made your invoice PDF's a little prettier and a lot easier to use.  Check out the sample below or download the actual sample PDF here.

  • Your business and client addresses are positioned to be visible in a 2-window envelope as shown below.
  • The word 'Invoice', the amount due, and date due are clearly visible above the first fold of the invoice. Also, the dark line acts as a guide for more accurate folding.
  • Totals, discounts, and taxes are more clearly displayed and easier to read.
  • Your company contact information is displayed in the footer of each invoice page.

We really hope you like the new changes! Thanks for reading.

Custom account subdomains are now available

Jeff Denton

Mar 8, 2011 by Jeff

5 comments
News

Over the weekend we rolled out a nice little update. Now you can have a custom subdomain associated with your CreativePro Office account like mycompany.mycpohq.com.  Here's how you make that happen.

Click on the Office Settings icon in the upper-right.  On the first screen for Company Information, look for the field labeled Your account web address.

Enter your desired subdomain, no spaces or special characters allowed.  If the subdomain is reserved or already taken by another customer, you will be notified and asked to select another one.

After you've selected a subdomain and clicked Save, you can find your account login screen by entering your-subdomain.mycpohq.com. The login screen that both you and your clients will see looks something like this ...

If you have uploaded a low-res logo, it will appear at the top of your new login box.  We think this addition helps our customers give a more professional presentation to their clients and team members.  We hope you like it!

Self-hosted updates are now available

Jeff Denton

Mar 6, 2011 by Jeff

5 comments
Self Hosted, Development Progress, News

At long last we finally have an update package for the self-hosted version available. 

You can download the update ZIP file here!

We decided to abandon the in-app auto-update process because it simply didn't work for enough customers. So, here are some quick instructions to get you started.  Be sure to also read the instruction PDF included in the ZIP file.

  1. Download and upzip the files somewhere on your computer.
  2. Copy all of the files to the CPO installation on your server. This update is big so there are many files - please make sure all the files get transferred to the correct directories or else things will not work well.
  3. Open up the file database updates/cpo_updates_2.0.0.2.sql and execute the handful of SQL commands on the CPO database.

Hopefully your update goes smoothly but if not, please shoot us an email if you run into trouble.

 

Timesheets get a great new look!

Jeff Denton

Feb 8, 2011 by Jeff

7 comments
Features, Help, Timesheets, News

CreativePro Office has been around, in one form or another, since 2003.  Back then the state-of-the-art for timesheet data entry was the typical week grid that looks something like this...

Old timesheet data entry

"Hey, that looks just like the timesheet I use on CPO version 2!" Yup, you're right.  The point is, as CPO has gone through numerous upgrades and revisions, the timesheet has remained pretty old school and it's time for a change.  Here's why.

The old timesheet user interface (UI) has 1 advantage ... it allows for quick data entry for 1 week IF it is the only place in the system to enter timesheet data AND hours are the only data you're entering.  Anthing more complex and the UI begins to fall apart.  For example, there's no place to view comments without clicking on a comment bubble and the design just looks cramped.

You also run into trouble when introducing other means of entering timesheet data such as the job timer or the up-and-coming mobile app and desktop app (more on these in another post - later).  It quickly becomes unclear how to render the timesheet rows with multiple entry points. If I enter hours and comments through the timesheet UI for a given project/task/day and then enter more hours/comments through the job timer for the same project/task/day, how should that be shown?  Two lines in the UI or combine the 2 entries into 1 line?  It gets confusing fast.

Lastly, as many of our users have noticed, the code is just buggy. Comment popups don't close when you think they should, timesheet rows don't always delete, etc.  This is due to a cludgy and ugly codebase that has not changed a whole lot in about 7 years. 

It's Time for a Change

This coming Friday we'll be rolling out the new-and-improved timesheet UI.  It may take a bit of getting used to, but ultimately I think it will be more intuitive, relatively bug free, and simpler to maintain.  Let's take a look...

The new timesheet UI

Hopefully, the first thing you notice is a cleaner look and more 'breathing room' in the design.  Other than that, the most fundamental change is the shift from project/task focused entry to day focused entry.  In other words, instead of selecting a Project/Task and entering all your weekly hours for that combination, you select a Day and enter whatever project/task/hours you worked for that day. 

I don't know about you but for me, this shift just fits better with my daily routine. The clutter reduction and increase in visible data helps me see what I've done day-to-day with a lot more clarity.

Data Entry

Data entry for this new UI look like this...

Entering timesheet hours

Weekly Summary Views

We understand that a whole-week view is essential as well so we have kept the weekly grid view - it's available when you click the Grid view button.

Weekly grid view

Also, along the right-hand column you will see a bar chart of hours worked, giving a kind of at-a-glance understanding of the week.  Down the road we will include charts to show hours worked per project/task/client as well.

Weekly charts

We believe the new timesheet user interface will be a lot more friendly, informative, and stable.  Look for this to be rolled out by Friday, Feb. 11th and we hope you like it!

Some downtime this coming weekend

Jeff Denton

Feb 7, 2011 by Jeff

9 comments
News

This coming weekend (Feb. 12, 13) CreativePro Office will most likely experience some downtime as we upgrade our server capacity.  We've had a lot of new users sign up over the past couple of months and we're hoping to speed things up a bit.

Thanks!

Timesheets and expenses integrated with invoices

Jeff Denton

Dec 11, 2010 by Jeff

7 comments
Features, News, Hints and Tips

Something we've wanted to do for a long time is to simplify the process of invoicing timesheet entries and expensses. Well this week we made some big improvements in this area.  You can now add expenses and timesheet entries to an invoice right from the invoice form.  Let's check it out.

To add either an expense item or timesheet entry, click one of the buttons right above the invoice item section of the form as shown below. We'll start by adding some expense items to our invoice.

Including expenses in an invoice

Selecting expenses to invoice

After clicking the Select expenses button, a dialog window will appear that allows you to search your expenses for the ones you wish to invoice.

Searching expenses

You can use the auto-suggest search box or search by date range. We're going to do a text search on Computer and see what comes up.

Selecting expenses to include in this invoice

Ok, we found a few expenses and are now going to select the ones we want to include in the invoice. After we're done making our selections, we can either do another search or click the Add selected items button in the bottom left to add the expenses to our invoice.

Expenses added to the invoice

You'll notice that adding expenses will automatically change the Type column to Product by default. If the expense is a service, you can certainly change the Type column to reflect that.

Including timesheet entries in an invoice

Selecting timesheet entries is almost exactly the same except that you can only search by date range.  You must first select a client and project in the invoice form before selecting timesheet entries.

Timesheet search

If any timesheet entries are found in your date range search, you can then select them to be included in the invoice. Click the Add selected items button to include the timesheet entries.

Included timesheet entries

And there you go. No more flipping back and forth between an invoice and your timesheet page to see exactly what it is you need to invoice.

Thanks for reading.

Introducing the new file manager

Jeff Denton

Dec 3, 2010 by Jeff

5 comments
Development Progress, Features, News

We're please to announce a completely revamped file manager in CreativePro Office! In version 1, CreativePro Office allowed file uploads to specific projects - there was no ability to share files across multiple projects. In early version 2, we improved file management a bit by allowing multiple file uploads and file "attachment" to projects, tasks, messages, etc.  However, this solution was not ideal...file uploads did not work well in Safari, files could not be moved to other folders, file/folder management was cumbersome and unreliable.

So what's new?

File upload and management now has a dedicated section within the application and you should see a new menu item called Files.

File menu item

This section is where you will do all of your file uploading, folder creation, and moving files between folders. We have kept the popup file manager that is available on all pages of the application; however, its sole purpose now is for selecting and attaching files to items.

File manager section

Upload multiple files with drag and drop!

Uploading files now is really simple if you use an HTML5 compatible browser like Firefox, Safari 4+, or Chrome.  You simply drag and drop files into the file uploader, then click the Start Upload button.  If you use IE or some other browser that doesn't support HTML5, you can still upload multiple files at once but drag and drop will not be enabled.

File drag and drop uploads

And once the upload starts, you will get an accurate idea of how the upload is progressing and approximately how much upload time remains.

Files are uploading

Moving files and folders

Now you can move files between folders by just dragging and dropping the file onto a folder.  You can do the same thing with entire folders as well.

Moving files between folders

Adding new folders

Adding new folders is now a lot more intuitive.  Just click the New Folder button, enter a folder name and click Save or hit Enter - a new folder will be created within the current directory. A folders can now be easily deleted by just clicking the delete button when you hover over a folder.

Creating a new folder

Multiple file views

Another nice new feature is the file list view.  Instead of viewing your files in thumbnail form where much of the filename can often be obscured, the file list view gives you much more information about the file like who uploaded the file, when it was uploaded, and the file size. You can access this view by clicking the list view icon in the upper-right.

File list view

So what about the old file manager popup window?

It's still around and available on most sections within the application.  However, it is no longer responsible for file uploads, folder creation, or moving files.  The popup file manager now exists so you can select files that you want to attach to certain items within your account like tasks, messages, or projects.

File manager popup

Thanks for reading and please let us know your thoughts about the new CPO file manager!

CreativePro Office 2 self hosted download release on Sept 13

Jeff Denton

Sep 7, 2010 by Jeff

7 comments
Development Progress, News

Now that CreativePro Office is officially out of beta, we feel good about finally releasing the self hosted version of CPO 2 on Monday, September 13th.

This download will be available as a beta to buyers of the version 1 source code until it is moved into general release.  It will then be available for purchase by everyone. We should have prices set for version 2 by early October.

To request a download link for the beta, please Contact Us.  You'll need to provide at least your company name, your name, or better yet, your order number for the version 1 download.

This beta version will be fully functionaly except that it will not include a data import from a CPO 2 hosted account.  You will, however be able to import data from a self hosted CPO 1 installation or a CPO 1 hosted account. Import from a hosted CPO 2 account will come later in September.

This new version also has a simpler, 1 click update feature.  Initially, updates will probably be released on a weekly basis as bug fixes and patches are released.  After that, a monthly update schedule will probably be more appropriate.

Thanks for reading and please let us know if you have any questions.

So we're out of beta ... now what?

Jeff Denton

Sep 7, 2010 by Jeff

5 comments
Development Progress, News

We passed an important milestone last week.  After 20 months of part-time but continuous work, CreativePro Office 2 finally came out of public beta!

Is it perfect? Nah, it's got a few bugs, some quirks, and some features need more polish - but it's a solid foundation for the CPO product moving forward.  We're proud of what the product is and excited about it's potential in the coming months.

So what happens now?  Well, the immediate priorities in order are, bug fixes, bug fixes, and bug fixes.  We plan on spending the month of September (and maybe longer) just addressing bugs that users continue to find. And also polishing some features and making them a little simpler and easier to understand.

Another super high priority item is the self hosted product, formerly known as the source code download. We will be releasing a beta version of the self hosted product to existing customers on Monday, September 13th. There is more information on that in this post over here.

After the bug fixes and self hosted product release, should financial support allow, here is a list of features we are really excited to implement:

  • Custom sub domains for accounts so you can have myCompany.mycpohq.com.
  • A mobile device accessible version of the dashboard.
  • Project and task templates so you can set up 1 project with all its tasks, save a template, and create duplicate projects easily from that template.
  • Tying expenses and timesheets together with invoices a lot better.
  • Estimates that can easily be turned into invoices with 1 click.
  • Google docs integration with the file manager.
  • A much more refined file manager that shows thumbnails for images, allows commenting for files, versioning, and drag and drop file upload (for HTML 5 browsers).
  • Desktop application that allows you to manage your CPO account outside of the browser.
  • Better Google calendar integration so that your Google calendar and CPO calendar are always in sync.

 

There are many other ideas we have but they're a little further on the back burner right now.  Let us know if there's something you'd like to see bumped up the priority list a little bit and we'll take it under consideration.

Thanks for reading!

Timesheet Entry Import from Version 1 is Fixed!

Jeff Denton

Aug 17, 2010 by Jeff

14 comments
Bugs, News
Some version 1 users who have switched to CreativePro Office 2 have mentioned that timesheet entries did not migrate over to their new accounts. Today we finally tracked down and fixed that bug. If you have already imported your data from a version 1 account, no worries - just import again and you should get your old timesheet entries. You existing data will not be duplicated because of another import. Some of you may not know about the import feature at all. If you have used the old version of CreativePro Office and would like to migrate your data to a fresh new CPO 2 account, then click on the Office Settings icon in the upper-right, then click the Data tab. You'll be asked for the user name and password of your old account. NOTE: The data migration feature does not work on source code installs - it only works on hosted accounts. Also, if your old account has more team members than what your new account supports, those team members will not be visible after the import.

Public beta ends September 1st

Jeff Denton

Aug 13, 2010 by Jeff

15 comments
Development Progress, News

Our beta testers have found a multitude of bugs over the past few weeks and we've been trying our best to squash them.  Our date for bringing CreativePro Office of public beta will be September 1st.

Those of you with premium plans more than 30 days old will be asked to supply credit card information to pay for your accounts on Sept. 1 when you login. The Solo, Shop, and Team plans are premium plans.

You will be given the option of downgrading your account to the Free plan if you wish during the payment process.

Thanks to all the users that have worked with us to identify and troubleshoot problems.  Although little quirks will no doubt persist for some time, we feel that CreativePro Office 2 is becoming a very solid and reliable product.

Thanks for reading.

CPO 2 enters public beta on June 14th!

Jeff Denton

May 31, 2010 by Jeff

11 comments
Development Progress, News

It is with much excitement that we finally announce the public beta for CreativePro Office 2.  After almost 18 months of development,we're letting this new version out into the wild.  We want to give a big thanks to our private beta testers for helping us get to this point. We also thank our loyal customers for their tremendous patience as we slowly move this product through development.

Some of the great new features you'll notice in this new version:

  • Familiar but improved user interface and experience.
  • Much improved task management area.
  • Application wide messaging - attach messages to projects, invoices, expenses, etc. Messaging among your team and clients too!
  • Much improved file management, central file upload area, attach files to anything - projects, invoices, messages, expenses, etc.
  • Footer toolbar with the most used dashboard widgets on every page.  Now you can view project list, messages, calendar, invoices, tasks, timeclock from anywhere within the application.

 

How do I sign up?

Head on over to http://www.MyCPOhq.com .  Click on the Pricing menu option and sign up for a plan. You will not be charged anything for your plan unless you decide to continue using it after the private beta period is over.

What should I do as a beta user?

Just use CreativePro Office and let us know about any quirks, bugs, or wierdness going on.  You can alert us easily to problems but clicking the bug alert icon in the upper-right toolbar. 

Top Toolbar

Can I import data from my existing CreativePro Office account?

Yes, you certainly can.  Once you're logged in, click on the Settings icon in the upper-right toolbar, then click on the Data tab.  You'll be asked to enter the user name and password of your CreativePro Office 1.0 account, then all of your data will be imported.

Data Import

(NOTE: This only works for hosted accounts - you cannot import data from a copy of CreativePro Office that is installed on your own server.)

Will I be charged for my time as a beta user?

No! You can sign up for any plan and will not be billed for the duration of the public beta period. When the beta period is over, you will be asked to enter your billing information to continue using a premium plan.  You can always opt out or downgrade to a free account at this point if you wish.

Can I still use my existing CPO account?

Yes you can.  All existing CreativePro Office 1.0 accounts will remain active for 6 months after the public beta is completed.

So what happens now?

Well, we let you beat up our new app and tell us what breaks. In addition to bugs, we're looking for feedback on how various features might be improved.  We're hoping this process can be completed within 2 to 3 weeks.  Then we'll be ready to release the final versions for the web and for download.

CPO enters Private Beta

Apr 21, 2010

9 comments
Development Progress, News

Hi faithful CreativePro Office users.  This is a quick note to let you all know that CPO has entered private beta testing. Bug testing is important and necessary and we appreciate your help with the process.

We appreciate your tracking with us as we make another step in development progress.  The move from freeware to paid subscription based software is something that we are happy to make progress on.  CPO hasn't yet "earned its keep", even though it is so popular with our users.

It is nice to reach this point after so long, I think we are taking a bit of an exhale as we reach this point, happily.

We will keep you posted!

Frequently Asked Questions about the CPO 2.0 release.

Mar 23, 2010

12 comments
Development Progress, News, Other Stuff

We have been fielding a lot of questions about CPO’s next version that is due out very soon.  The work is still fast and furious here with a private beta release date of March 31 looming large.  There are a few things that current CreativePro Office users should know as we finally enter the release phase of this long project.

When are you releasing version 2.0?

We have decided to do a private beta release of CreativePro Office 2.0 on March 31 with a public release shortly thereafter.

Why did you guys miss so many release dates?

This is an honest question and the answers are many.  Mainly, the scope of work was much larger than anticipated.  In retrospect, we may have tried to cram too many features into the initial 2.0 release. But, since version 1.0 has a pretty complete feature set, we knew we had to match and exceed that benchmark which I believe we have done. 

So what great new features finally made it into the new version?

Too many to list here but the ones we’re most excited about are:

  • Much improved shared calendaring including export to Google calendar. Tasks and project dates automatically list on the central calendar.
  • The task manager has been entirely redone.  It’s very robust and includes neat features like file attachments, message threads, email notifications, export to Excel file or PDF.
  • Team roles and permissions are now user defined so you can give your team as much or as little control over your account as you wish.
  • Much better integration between timesheets, expenses, and invoicing.  You can now create an invoice from a timesheet or time clock entry with 1 click.  Very cool!

 

Will the 2.0 version remain free?

Yes and no.  CreativePro Office 2.0 will have a free option among several premium, paid options.  We will release the official pricing structure very soon.

I’m an existing CPO user.  Will I be immediately forced to upgrade to a paid plan?

No.  We are allowing a 6 month grace period after launch for existing users to migrate to a free or paid plan on version 2.0.  If you decide that you do not wish to continue using CPO we will provide a data extract feature so that you can get your data out of the system and migrate it to another service.

Will version 1.0 still be available for free?

No. Version 1.0 will not accept any new subscriptions after April 15.  Existing users of version 1.0 will have 6 months from the public release date to migrate over to a CreativePro Office 2.0 subscription.

Will there be an open source version of CPO 2.0 that I can host on my own server?

Yes, but it will be available after the public hosted release.  The reason is that we have to do some tweaking to the self-hosted version to insure a smooth installation experience for the widest variety of users.

Will the price of the open source code stay $150.00?

No, the price point of version 2.0 will be higher.  We will release official prices within a week.

Are there help files or tutorials with this version?

CPO has been developed to be as intuitive as possible to use.  However, we realize that support in many forms is necessary for a satisfied user base. The forum and priority email (for subscribers) will be the primary means of helping our users find their way around CreativePro Office 2.0.  Tutorials and help files will be built out as we see a need.  For example, if we see that many users are having trouble with file uploads; we’ll create some help content around that specific issue. We are definitely going to create some comprehensive help content for the self-hosted, downloadable version though.

What plans are there for foreign language versions?

We have long fielded the request for different language versions of CPO.  Our plans are to include over 10 translations in version 2.0.  We already have the translations more or less sketched out but we will be working as much as we can with native speakers to fine tune the translations. 

Can I add my own currency?

No but we have added over 45 currencies to version 2.0 and will add more at your request.

Our plan for CreativePro Office is to continue to integrate more and more features over time as this application becomes profitable.  While we might not be able to give you a specific date for a specific feature roll out, be confident that we have many improvements in store for the future.

Thanks for reading.  Please let us know if you have any other questions.

What is going on?

Nov 15, 2009

23 comments
Development Progress, News, Other Stuff

Dear trusty, faithful users and new users alike,

Despite periodic silence, work still ticks on here in development of 2.0.  The silence here can be easily explained:  development is to be a process that is, in our case, more often just done and less often talked about.  To put it succinctly, we are working.

On our part there has been a little bit of dismay over watching the date we intended to release come and go.  In reflection on what is causing the delay, Jeff realized a few things:

1.  The scope of work for version 2.0 has increased significantly since it was originally conceived.  Originally, 2.0 was to be a rewrite of the code so that future added features would have a stable code-base.  But what happened was that while in the code, tinkering, it seemed more logical (and more interesting) to start the process of making some of the more major improvements that were slated for the future.

2.  The amount of anticipated collaboration for the task of version 2.0 decreased by about 66%.   A smaller team made more work to be done.

3.  The hosting situation caused a bit of a slowdown for awhile but has since been rectified.

As we saw the date of anticipated release approaching, there were signs that things weren't going to work out as planned.  The release date was too ambitious, based on a "best case scenario" when excitement was high, and the scope of work was smaller. 

Now, a year after beginning, Jeff is just pushing for that next release date.   There had been considerations of releasing with what we had completed, but that would have fallen short on what we had told users to anticipate.  We are setting the date to end of February 2010, which seems entirely reasonable since version 2.0 is 80% complete.

The February release is planned to be beta tested and ready for use.

Thank you for your patience and hope that you will continue to looking forward to this as much as we are!

Feature List for CreativePro Office 2.0

Jeff Denton

Aug 10, 2009 by Jeff

23 comments
Development Progress, Features, News

Hi Everyone

Here are some of the features that are going to be included in the new release of CreativePro.  If we haven't said so before, CreativePro Office is working on a new version that will remedy the bugs of the existing version AND include these killer new features:

In the Client area:

  • A new client widget on the dashboard that shows the client list and projects by client. User will be able to click a client name and the view will switch to show projects for that client.
  • Clients will be able to have multiple contacts instead of the 1 contact currently allowed. This will be accomplished by a site-wide contact management module which will provide the contact functionality for clients, projects, and expenses (vendors).
  • Users will be able to import client list in CSV format or a single client vCard.
  • Client dashboard will have total hours displayed for a project (optionally set by account owner) and project status indicator.
  • Client dashboard will have messaging capability for projects, invoices and files that are posted by the account owner (similar to Facebook).
  • Client timezone will be a setting that can be permanently set by the account owner.

In the Tasks area:

  • Tasks can be shared among multiple team members. Team members will receive email notifications of task assignments.
  • Files can be attached to task entries.  Tasks can be reordered within milestones by drag and drop.
  • Version 2.0 will have a much improved Gantt charting system with ability to print Gantt charts.
  • Recurring tasks.
  • Email integration: tasks can be created by sending an email to a CPO email address much like Remember the Milk.
  • Sorting tasks by title, date, assigned to, status will be included.
  • Users will be able to create quick To-Do lists using the task manager - instead of creating a client, then a project, then tasks.
  • The task management system will, over the next year, become more SCRUM focussed so that teams can monitor their time estimates and deliverable dates across many project and come up with more acurate predictions.
  • Tasks will have customizable categories that are color coded for quicker viewing.

In the Calendars area:

  • Shared calendars between project owners, team members and clients.
  • Synch calendar with Google Calendar, allow synch to Outlook through iCal format.
  • Allow multiple calendars with color coding. Allow other customization features like changing the first day of the week and date formats.
  • Upload/Download of calendar entries in iCal format.
  • Show events spanning multiple days.
  • RSS calendar feed specific to each calendar and team member.

In the Projects area:

  • Project auto-archive feature - allow user to set a time span for auto-archive of projects e.g. 3 weeks after project create, or project start.
  • Allow per-project, per-client hourly rates to be set.
  • Show time spent on a project in project detail view.
  • Make project file uploads simpler by using an app-wide file upload system that interfaces with Amazon S3.  Allow for multiple files uploads also.
  • Provide project/task view in a Gantt chart. 

In the Expenses area:

  • Expense and vendor reports.
  • Tie expense items and invoicing together better.  For example, if I guy stock photos for a client it would be nice to list these under expenses but also be available to me when it's time to invoice the client.
  • Hours logged from time sheets can be defined with an hourly rate then automatically set up as an expense and charged to the defined project.  I'm imagining contractor expenses here.  I pay a contractor (vendor) for 12 hours of graphic design - that's technically an expense that then needs to be invoiced. 
  • A recurring option for expenses like web hosting, rent or anything with a fixed and repeating cost.
  • A vendor list that would allow the same contact information and notes seen in clients, but then be tied to a specific project. 

In the Timesheets area:

  • Better time-sheet reports: view by project, client, team member, date range or combination of all variables.
  • Integrated job timer, timesheets and invoices together so you could select a project, start the clock, stop the clock and click a button to have an invoice generated.
  • Export timesheets as PDF, Excel, CSV.
  • Allow embedding the job timer in user websites so that you can have employees log time without giving them CPO user accounts.
  • Allow for multiple timers to be running at once.

In the Invoices area:

  • Individual invoice items can be taxable/non-taxable.
  • Partial payments can be entered for an invoice and CPO will keep track of amount remaining.
  • Invoice payments can be made through PayPal.
  • Recurring invoices for things like hosting accounts that need to be invoiced monthly,weekly,yearly.

This is a limited list of changes that will be going into version 2.0.  These features are in direct response to what users have asked for over the past 2 years that CPO has been active.  It isn't an exhaustive list, but it is definitely an exhausting list.  For those who wonder what the silence is about, this would explain it.

We look forward to our new release and hope you all are enjoying your summer!

Progress and Press

Jun 25, 2009

10 comments
News, Development Progress

Well, the sun has come out, but I am still standing over Jeff cracking the whip, yelling "Code faster, you!"

Okay, well not really.

Folks have been asking about the next version which will remedy remaining bugs and have some often requested features.  It is in steady development and at this stage it is looking like fall for release. 

Jeff has been coding on timesheets and doing some of the last things that he needs to be doing as he prepares for the release of 2.0.  Pricing structures are in development and are in the final stages of soon being released, as well as features lists.  Screencasts are easy and are still underway. 

Jeff has said that pricing structures, features lists and screencasts are ready to come out. Look for that in our next blog post.

CreativePro Office has come a long way from when Jeff was hammering out icons that he was making from scratch.  Talk about time-consuming, CreativePro has been an education, a hobby, a tool and now there is a chance it might start pulling its own weight.  We are on the precipice of Creative Pro actually being able to hold its own, and we are quite excited about it.

If we haven't mentioned it previously, the existing free, hosted version of CreativePro Office is not going to be as well technically supported as it was in the days of development and bug testing.  We are letting it off into the wild.  The forum as well will be transitioned to being a place where users help other users to resolve problems.

We have received some good press here , being cited as the number 11 top small business project management tool.

We look forward to communicating with you as version 2.0 takes shape and prepares to emerge this year!

 

What is going on behind the scenes here at CreativePro Office?

Apr 10, 2009

13 comments
Development Progress, News
Work on CPO is still busily humming along here at a frantic clip.  Jeff is continuing to rebuild the code base so that new features can be added easily and reliably.  This work is the foundation for CPO 2.0 that will include features that are being requested most frequently.  As he recodes, he is working out bugs that need to be dealt with, as well.

A word or two about support: many of you have noticed that support for the free hosted version of CPO has been somewhat reduced.  Our staff here at UpStart Productions is very small and we simply don't have the revenue yet to hire more support personnel.  As such, we are devoting most of our time to those who support our efforts through purchase of the source code.  The launch of CPO 2.0 will include some greatly enhanced help and self-support features for those who wish to use the free version of CPO.  We appreciate your patience and understanding while we make these improvements.

For those wondering about the hosting situation, rest assured we are still working on that as well.  Setting up a reliable hosting environment is proving more complex and challenging than anticipated.  We are trying to move on two fronts simultaneously, rebuilding the code base and moving the site to a faster hosting environment.  All this takes time so please bear with us.  We do realize that the existing host is terribly slow but we don't want to move until we know that the new host can fully support CPO without major downtime.

In closing, look for some exciting pre-launch screen casts of CPO 2.0 features here in the near future.  I'm hoping that by mid-April we can begin introducing you to the cool stuff we're doing in the next version!  Stay tuned and thank you all for your continued support!

Patches for Open Source customers

Jan 7, 2009

17 comments
Bugs, Development Progress, Other Stuff, News

If we haven't said so before, a big THANK YOU to all the buyers of the CPO Source Code.  Your purchases are lighting the fire under our pants to keep improving CreativePro Office daily.

There are source code patches available to amend some of the bugs that our much appreciated bug testers have found.

The link is here:

http://creativeprooffice.com/site/patches

We are currently working on CreativePro Office 2.0 that we hope will be available by the end of March and possibly earlier.  We are excited about this release as it will be the "new improved" version with more features that users have been requesting and numerous bug fixes.

 

 

CPO is Moving to Slicehost!

Jan 1, 2009

5 comments
Development Progress, Hints and Tips, News

Hi! I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season, had a happy and safe New Year and that things are going along well with CPO.Slicehost

We have been busily working on rebuilding CreativePro so that we can add on new features that users have been requesting.  However, we have noticed that CPO is often times creeping along at a slugs pace, which makes development almost impossible.  We know that users are experiencing the same slugishness.  

So, CPO will be moving from its current hosting provider to a much more robust, dedicated server at Slicehost!  This move will not only alleviate the slow user experience but will allow us to implement some exciting new features such as emailing tasks and other information to your CPO account.  

Important Stuff:  We are planning this migration on the weekend of Jan 10 and 11.  We cannot guarantee service for these 2 days.  However, we intend to have CPO up and running again Monday morning, Jan 12.

Thank you again for the continued positive input from our dedicated users.   Your communication is what makes CPO improve.

Update 1/12/09:  While we were able to build a new host server for CPO on Slicehost this past week, we did not have time to move the site files and user data.  We will be moving site files and user data to the new host on the weekend of Jan. 17, 18. CPO will be down for these 2 days. Thanks again for your patience.

First Source Code Patch Available, Data Import Feature

Dec 14, 2008

2 comments
Development Progress, Features, News

Thank you to all the folks who have braved the wilds of our first CreativePro Office source code release!  Because of your bug reports and feature requests we are able to release this first patch to the download. 

http://creativeprooffice.com/site/patches

This patch will bring your installation current with the 1.0.3 release of the CPO source code and addresses the following items:

  • No pop-up calendar on date fields.
  • MySQL error in view project area.
  • Missing icons and button images.
  • Link to Add new Client goes to dashboard.
  • Logo upload in Settings gives an error message.
  • Wrong Timesheet link on the Job Timer.
  • Data import from hosted CreativePro Office account.

Instructions for installing the patch are included in the zip file that you will download.  Look for more patches in the future at the link mentioned above.

One of the big new features that this patch provides is data transfer from your hosted CPO account to your installed CPO software.  Once the patch is installed, go to your Settings area and look for the data download link.  You will need to have your online CPO login information handy in order to download your data.

Much thanks to those who have contributed on forums, in emails and by posting bugs.  Very soon there will be a  development roadmap here on the blog outlining our path to a rebuilt hosted version of CPO that includes all those features that people have been asking for.  Keep your eyes open for it!

CPO Source Code Release!

Jeff Denton

Nov 14, 2008 by Jeff

8 comments
News, Development Progress

At long last.

While the blog has been silent, the behind the scenes of Creative Pro have been busy. Those of you interested in installing CPO on your own server finally have that option.

First, a big thank you to all the commenters and emails that have nothing but good things to say about CPO. It is encouraging to see the application meeting the needs of so many people. Those encouraging emails are not falling into the abyss, but are inspiring further time investment to work out the little issues of getting CPO all packaged up to sell.

And things are so close to being ready I can taste it. But I want to wheel and deal with some of the existing users to help roll out CPO as a downloadable product.

For those of you who are interested in installing CPO on your own server, beta testing the CPO download and reporting any bugs with installation or use, you can buy the source code through December 31 for the reduced price of $75.  The beta testing should be done by New Year 2009 after which, the cost of the source code will increase to $150. 

Click here to buy the CreativePro Office source code now!

Of course, the hosted version of CPO is still free.

Once I see that things are running smoothly for folks who buy the CPO souce code, I will then turn my attention to updating the online version of CPO, fixing some bugs and adding new features.

Smashing Magazine gives a nod to CPO!

In other exciting news, Smashing Magazine featured CPO on November 13 and had this to say about it:

"CreativePro Office is very robust for a completely free application and is definitely worth checking out before shelling out for an expensive paid solution."

Since Smashing Magazine is one that I read regularly, it was pretty cool to have them recognize the work I have cobbled together quietly over the past 6 years.

Welcome baby Sylvie!

And, if you are still perplexed by my silence for the past 6 months or so,  I would like to assure you there has been good reason for it most recently.  Her name is Sylvie Roberta Denton and she was born September 30.  We couldn't be more happy to have her.

 

CPO Announces New Team Members

Jeff Denton

Nov 14, 2008 by Jeff

6 comments
News, Development Progress

I'm am thrilled to announce two new members to the CreativePro Office development and customer support team.

First up, Matt O'Connor of Stump Town Slingers has agreed to join the CreativePro Office development team.

Matt has spent the better part of his career building large special education data systems for Oregon, Iowa and most recently, Nevada. I am confident that he will bring both the skill and passion required to push the CreativePro Office project to the next level of usability and, hopefully, profitability.   

Better still, Matt now works right down the hall from me over at Western Oregon University so we collaborate quite frequently on other projects already.  As some of you know, I have been struggling for some time over whether to bring outside help from distant places into the CPO project.  I think we've found the perfect solution in Matt.

Heather Denton of Chez What? will bring some much needed customer support to CPO.  Heather will be responsible for keeping the blog up to date, responding to questions in the CPO forum, answering email, and providing triage for bug notifications and feature requests.  

Heather is tri-lingual, fluent in Spanish and Russian so she will also be helping extensively with the first non-English release of CPO in 2009.

So head over to Stump Town Slingers and Chez What? and give our new team members a warm welcome.  I'm excited about the future of this project.  Be looking for a CPO development roadmap in the near future.

Thanks for reading.

Let's Talk About Our Future Together

Jeff Denton

Apr 24, 2008 by Jeff

33 comments
News

It's probably not a secret - I love 37signals . Not only do they build great products, but they have a way of cutting through the clutter and bringing refreshing clarity to often complex issues. They never fail to inspire me and their recent blog post titled The Secret of Making Money Online was no exception. This is a video of a talk that David Heinemeier (of 37signals) gave at Statup School.

David tackled one of the more pressing dilemmas in modern software development...something like:

  1. Build great application

  2. ???

  3. Profit

What miracle happens at #2??? Good question. Some of David's more salient points:

  • Having a price helps create profit (it's almost too simple to work).

  • This notion has been lost in the web world.

  • There are many ways to have a price - not just one.

  • If people like your product, they pay you for it and if they continue to like it, they continue to pay.

  • This has been a successful business model for thousands of years.

  • Building the next Facebook and selling it for 3 billion dollars is an extremely remote possibility. The chance that you might build a decent niche product that a few thousand people like and will make you a decent living - much better odds.

So, David's talk got me to thinking about my original intent for CPO and it's future. My intent from the beginning was for CPO to become profitable somehow - the question was always the HOW. In my perfect world, CPO would always be a free product and earn revenue in other ways.

As you might have noticed, we have been trying some of these options out for the past month. Since early March, we've solicited paid contributions, paid ads and non-financial contributions like monitoring the forum, translating or writing documentation. So far this experiment has had limited...ok, NO success. Now, I'm not expecting miracles here but I genuinely believed that CPO had enough active and loyal users to spin this plan up a bit by now. I'm a little skeptical - looking around I find that others are in the same boat with contribution/ad supported business models. But it's ok - I've decided to give this plan a total of three months to prove itself one way or the other and then I'll move to Plan B.

So I'll level with you and try to be brief. CPO needs to begin earning its own living - pure and simple. I see 2 possible scenarios playing out over the next 6 months:

  1. CPO begins generating enough revenue to justify better support, a more robust hosting infrastructure, regular bug fixes and more features. This doesn't have to be a lot of money at this stage - just enough to entice a little help and to keep motivation up enough to get things to the next level.

  2. Or, CPO generates no revenue and things stay as they are indefinitely. I can always afford the hosting account but there will be limited support, few if any new features and bug fixes when I get around to it.

I'm not satisfied with scenario #2 mostly because I know it doesn't have to occur. I know that there are some problems with CPO - I know that support has been virtually non-existent for the past several months. I also know that I'm still passionate about turning CPO into a truly great product - but not for free. The key word here is sustainable - we don't need a $5,000,000 infusion of cash but we do need something that will generate revenue next month, and the month after that and on and so on and so forth. Otherwise, everything will stop.

So, how can we remedy this? I'm coming to you, the CPO user community, before making any firm decisions because I feel it's fair that you have a say in how this all goes down. I'll throw out the first pitch...here are some ideas I have for generating revenue:

  1. Created a tiered hosted account model. A free version with no support, no file uploads and limits on projects, clients and invoices. A paid ($5-$10 per month) premium account that would include responsive support, file uploads and unlimited number of clients, projects, etc.

  2. Offer the source code for download and installation on any server for $149. This would include 3 months of support and free upgrades forever.

  3. Offer a combination of 1 and 2.

  4. Charge only for the source code and keep the hosted accounts free.

That's about all I can think of at the moment but I'm open to suggestions. I just got done reading some blog posts over at ActiveCollab and it looks like the community really hit them hard for springing a pay only revenue model on a previously free product without any warning. I'm trying to avoid making their mistake so let's all be constructive and try to find a win-win. I trust my users.

One request though...let's stay away from comments like 'Yeah but Joomla/WordPress/Drupal/eGroupWare [insert favorite open source poster child here] give their stuff away for free and still make money.' unless you can provide explicit ways in which they bring in revenue. Otherwise it's just not very helpful. I know there are a number of quality open source initiatives that make money in ways other than selling software - but I think in the grand scheme of things, they tend to be the exception and not the rule. There are, however, numerous examples of shitty OSS that is completely free and worth every penny...I don't want CPO to fall into that camp if I can avoid it.

Thanks for reading and for your thoughts.

Jeff

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