Modern programming tools make it easier to build multiple apps from the same source code, so we are planning to split Goldenseal Pro into a much wider range of small business solutions. Below is a tentative grid of 20 future apps, with different features included. They range from free up to $1295 for The Works (single user). The bigger apps also have multi-user versions. Double-click to expand.
This is still a work in progress, and comments are appreciated. Most likely we will trim the list before the actual release date, to make choices less confusing.
Dennis Kolva, Programming Director
Our contractor reports:
so far we have started integrating the Qt event system into the existing handlers. When you start the app, the file selection window is displayed using Qt and then the file
is loaded using Qt objects for reading and writing.
Meanwhile, we are working on general plans for our next generation of software.
- The bad news is, we probably will stop having printed manuals. They are a lot of work, and hard to keep up to date as the program changes.
- The good news is, we will start making instruction videos instead, for the areas where people need the most help. We can pretty much put our training classes online, so anyone can view them at any time.
- We’ll also keep expanding and improving the Answers button on our website, and we will rewrite the site so it works better on phones and small screens. There are a well over a thousand pages on the site, so it’s going to be a gradual process to rewrite it.
We just selected a programmer from Australia who will do the coding for Goldenseal Pro. Whoo hoo! As it turns out, waiting a few months was a good thing, since we were able to choose among several very qualified candidates.
For the Pro conversion we will use the QT framework, which will update both the Macintosh and Windows versions, at the same time. QT is a popular, open-source framework that should make it easier for us to stay current with future OS improvements. We probably will also use it for future mobile apps, since it supports both iOS and Android.
The best guess at arrival time is 2 to 3 months. The current upgrade options for existing users will be available until shortly before the release.
For some reason, our recent posting of the Goldenseal Pro project is getting tons of qualified programming contractors, and the price quotes are looking much better than what we received last September. So, we are very optimistic that work will start in earnest on Goldenseal Pro, probably in just a week or two.
Based on financial news and the Baltic Dry Index, it looks like there is a bit of a global economic slowdown going on right now. So, along with cheaper gasoline, it also seems to be providing much better availability of programmers.
We just re-posted the Goldenseal Pro programming work on a couple of websites for programming free-lancers. At least we are getting experienced at talking with people about it, and have more detailed specs to give.
Back when we were Turtle Creek Construction, we sometimes had to calculate estimates for the subcontractors doing work for us. We’d say “the computer says you can do it for $4250” and they’d say OK.
Maybe it’s time for us to take our years of job costing data for Turtlesoft, and make an estimator for programmers.
We are currently negotiating with a 6th possible programming contractor for Goldenseal Pro, in a 5th country. So far they have all gone something like this (spread out over a week or 2):
- Contractor: We can do the work for $xxxx.
- Turtlesoft: OK, let’s talk details.
- Contractor: Great! Our hourly rate is $xxx.
- Turtlesoft: Um, what about that $xxxx quote?
- Contractor: If you pay us for 40 hours of work at $xxx, we can give you a fixed price estimate. But, wouldn’t you like to do it hourly instead? It’s really much better to do it hourly. Really.
- Turtlesoft: No, we don’t know you well enough to do hourly, and would like a fixed price quote please. What do you need from us to make that happen?
- Contractor: (disappears)
Back when we were Turtle Creek Carpentry, we started off doing time and materials work, but gradually discovered that bidding was more profitable (on average). I think the basic idea is that any project is risky, and someone has to bear the risk. In theory, it probably ought to be whoever has more experience and knowledge about the work. They’ve done it before, and can calculate the costs better.
On the other hand, every construction contractor probably has horror stories of free estimates gone awry. Bad math, or nice drawings and calculations that are handed over to someone else who does it cheaper. Free-estimating anxiety is why we first wrote estimating spreadsheets back in 1986, and why MacNail, BidMagic and Goldenseal have been popular since then.
Anyhow, we are still looking. If we don’t have a contractor lined up by February, we will start the work in-house.
Well, we had a programming contractor lined up more than a month ago, but it just didn’t work out. Since then, we have posted the project on several websites for programming freelancers, but haven’t found a good match yet. We are still talking with a few folks, and hope to have something lined up soon.
The worst that can happen is that we don’t find anyone, and do it in-house instead.
We are thinking about removing the Chart of Accounts window in Goldenseal Pro, and would like to hear from users who want to keep it (or not).
Way back in early prototypes, the “account finder” window was going to be the main interface, with all money transfers being a drag between accounts. In practice that didn’t work very well, so the window became much less important. The employee who did most of the work on it was also not a very good programmer, and nobody since then has figured out his code. We either need to do a major rewrite, or just abandon it.
We started testing Goldenseal under the new Yosemite OS10.10, which was just released yesterday. So far, no problems with the current Goldenseal version 4.9.2 release. We will also test on some older versions, and will have a more thorough report in a couple of days.
The overall Yosemite interface is “flat”, with most of the 3-D appearance removed. Seems kind of boring.
Turtle Creek Software
We have selected a programmer for the Goldenseal Pro update, and work has begun! Our best guess for completion is 2 or 3 months.