How it all started…
Almost an year ago we released the first version of MoneyWiz for iPad. It immediately attracted people’s attention, as a really different kind of personal finance software. We originally didn’t plan to make an iPhone and a Mac versions so fast, but the success of the iPad version convinced us otherwise. So, in another 4 months we’ve managed to create MoneyWiz for iPhone that works beautifully with its iPad brother. It was time to start the Mac version.
When we started planning the Mac version, we knew it would be a different kind of animal. Porting between iPhone and iPad is easy, as they are both mobile devices that share the same principles of usage. Porting on the Mac though is a totally different animal, not only from technical perspective, but also from user experience point of view.
And so, we’ve decided to check out the competition, and analyse what the Mac market might need. After a few days of research we made list of major problems shared among all Mac apps for personal finance:
1. Many didn’t have an iPhone and/or an iPad version.
2. If they had an iOS version, then the iOS version would be very limited in features and basically useless compared to the Mac version. It would be used mostly as a browsing tool.
3. All Mac apps for personal finance looked poorly designed.
4. Nobody had a good syncing solution between Mac and iOS… and believe me, Dropbox is not a good syncing solution.
So we immediately knew that we had to solve all these problems. That’s how MoneyWiz for Mac was conceived, some 7 months ago.
Today, we’re ready to show you something different. The kind of Mac app for personal finance, that you haven’t seen before, but you always wished you had.
Meet MoneyWiz for Mac!
One of the great things about the entire MoneyWiz family of apps is that once you learn to use one of them, you know how to use the others as well. They are all consistent, and we wanted to keep that with MoneyWiz for Mac as well. We kept the same principles and design concepts from iOS, and made them feel native on the Mac.
Feature-wise MoneyWiz for Mac has all the features of MoneyWiz for iPhone and iPad, but it also adds a few that make sense on the Mac, but didn’t make sense on iOS…
Fancy View vs Expert View
The Mac is a powerful platform and people often use it for powerful tasks. Knowing that people using MoneyWiz spend most of the time in the Accounts area, working with transactions, we wanted to give a more advanced view of the list of transactions without sacrificing the simplicity for those who didn’t want it. Eventually we came up with this brilliant solution to have two ways of visualising your transactions and allow you to quickly change between them. We call them a Fancy View and an Expert View. Fancy view is what you’ve already seen on the iPhone and iPad. The expert view is in spreadsheet style, giving you greater detail, faster. The expert view is also the place to reconcile transactions.
Take a look…
It only made perfect sense that when we have an expert view of the transactions, we’d also allow you to bulk/mass edit or delete them. Such a feature has been requested for the iOS versions, but we feel that it’s too advanced for the iOS and will sacrifice the simplicity of MoneyWiz if we did it there. On the Mac though, it makes perfect sense and it feels natural.
We came up with a very simple and elegant solution – we’d show the transactions entry form in the middle of the screen. No brainer here, right? Well, the brilliance comes from Part 2. And this is something that nobody else has done before us. We figured that just a centred view would not give you the focus you need, because the distractions on the background would still exist. But in some rare cases you might actually want to check something in the background. To solve this, we made it so that when the entry screen appears, the background would quickly darken, but the dark layer would remain semi-transparent, just enough to allow you to focus but in the same time to allow you to peek at background. You can also move the transaction entry screen all over the screen, for your convenience. All this happens in smooth and beautiful animations!
Drag & Drop
- Re-arrange your Accounts & Budgets with drag & drop
- Re-arrange your Categories and Payees with drag&drop
- Drag & drop an image to add it to a transaction
- Drag & drop a QIF, QFX or OFX file into MoneyWiz, and the import process will start immediately
We can’t show you this right now, because we’re still working on it, but I can at least tell you about the Summary View.
The Summary View would give you a summary of your net worth, upcoming bills, budgets and so on. The summary view will reside at the bottom of the sidebar, just underneath Reports. You can show and hide it with a single tap.
Full screen support
MoneyWiz for Mac comes with amazing full screen support. We’ve spent a lot of time to make sure that when you resize MoneyWiz everything will look smooth, enjoying and beautiful. Take Scheduled transactions for example… when you resize MoneyWiz, the scheduled events will re-arrange in real time, during resizing, with awesome animations. In the same time, the calendar area on the top, will get more and more months of calendars. That too comes with great animations!
But the most exceptional thing of all is the full screen support and Reports. I really can’t describe how stunning it is to see the graph of your report in full screen on the big display… It’s absolutely beautiful.
Help & Shortcuts
Searchable Help book is an essential part of any Mac app. MoneyWiz for Mac will of course have that. What’s even nicer though is that for those of you who don’t feel like reading a lot, there will be inline help texts that guide you through the process of getting started with MoneyWiz for Mac, just like it is on the iPad version.
We’re also adding shortcuts support, to allow you to do things faster. All shortcuts will be well documented in the Help.
MoneyWiz for Mac will automatically sync with its iOS versions, via our free cloud syncing service – Sync Everything!
What took us so long…
Many people ask us why is this taking so long (7 months now), so let me explain some of the struggles we had porting from iOS to Mac OS:
Finding the right people
It’s been very difficult to find great Mac developers actually. Most people seem focused on iOS these days, and the Mac feels like a little left behind in this regard. For simple Mac apps, it’s easy for an iOS developer to make it on the Mac, but MoneyWiz is a huge and complex project and it really needs great expertise and professionalism to port it from iOS to Mac… we had 2 of our Mac developers quit during the process, because they ended up somewhere and couldn’t continue…
iOS native vs Mac native
We’re long time Mac users, but it turns out there are a lot of things you don’t realise and you do automatically on the Mac. You just assume they are there. Same goes for iOS of course. The thing is that what goes on the Mac doesn’t go on iOS and vice-versa. We had to re-design major parts of the app several times, just because we didn’t quite make it great for the Mac. It was difficult to port the MoneyWiz functionality for a Mac experience and usage behaviour.
We’re crazy about design… I guess you’ve figured that out by now. When we started the Mac port, we originally hired two designers to give us completely different ideas for the Mac app. We ended up using one of them. Then in the middle of the process, we’ve decided to re-design the iPad app and it just felt wrong to have the Mac app look so different, so we had to start over and re-do all of the design, all of the controls, all of the fonts – all from scratch. We hired one more designer to help us with ideas there (that would go for both the iPad and the Mac project), but we didn’t really like the ideas, so we ended up doing the design in-house, which actually took 2 months to perfect.
At the end of it, we’re really amazed by the design as it looks awesome. But unfortunately the “art” side of things brought another problem with it… the design we had couldn’t be build with the default Mac components. While it works with the default iOS components, the Mac turned out to be a bit more limiting. So we had to program our own buttons, tables, sidebar… basically almost everything is custom coded only because we want this and exactly this design!
Unlike the iOS devices where your screen size is always the same, Mac apps need to support all sorts of screen sizes. You also need to be able to resize the app, so basically MoneyWiz for Mac had to work on any screen size. This sounds easy, but in reality it’s not. It makes for a totally different way of organising the artwork and adds a lot of code to handle any size + the resizing process properly.
One of the things that took us the most time was animations. We didn’t want to just resize…we wanted the resize process to be with style, and that meant smooth animations.
Another problematic area for the resize was the Scheduled section. If we just made the calendar there bigger, it would look ugly. If we just centred it, it would look ugly. So we came up with the solution to actually add more calendars as the size goes up, and do this with sleek animations. This took us almost 2 weeks of development, because doing such animations on the Mac is not as easy as it sounds.
Drag & Drop
Drag & Drop by itself is something easy to do… but in our case, we had to do a lot of custom controls, like buttons, the sidebar, the tables etc… When you end up with custom controls, then you have to do your own custom drag & drop implementations as well. You can’t just use them out of the box. One thing that took a lot of time (about 2 weeks) was to just build the sidebar, and do proper animations, resizing and drag & drop in it. It took additional 1 week to make this work on Snow Leopard, which is quite different than Lion.
This is probably the biggest challenge when you are in our situation. In one hand, we had the iPad and iPhone versions ready and released so we could start the porting to Mac. In the other hand, though, we didn’t want to wait for the Mac version to be ready, before we could add more features to the iOS versions. So we’ve decided to work on the iOS and Mac versions in parallel.
This brought huge management challenges as to how the people working on Mac and iOS collaborate, so that any bug fixed on iOS would also be fixed before release on the Mac, and any new feature added to the iOS would also be added to the Mac app as well. Basically the Mac app had to constantly catch up with the iOS apps, because we wanted them to have the same functionality.
Availability & Price
MoneyWiz for Mac will be available for purchase in May 2012, exclusively on the Mac AppStore.
It will cost $24.99, and it will require Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or Mac OS 10.7 (Lion).
We’ll also make full integration with Mac OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion), by the time Apple releases it.