A long time ago I used to use a couple apps called Now Contact and Now Calendar on Mac OS 7/8/9. They were fantastic: fast, reliable, and their UI was great. When OS X came out they spent years working on a new OS X compatible version called “Nighthawk”. This was years in the making and I remember wondering what in the world took them so long! I had written calendar apps on Windows Mobile and later was working on the iOS version and still just shook my head as to what took so long.

After over a year of working on our Mac Desktop version, I now know why 🙂 In our case it won’t take as long as the failed Nighthawk because our foundation comes from the successful iOS side of PI, but still it has taken and continues to take a lot longer than we expected.

My original hope and desire was to have Mac Desktop ready by fall of last year and then as things kept going, Christmas 2014. The vast majority of our time has been spent on the task and event editors – which kind of surprised us at first, but then when we looked at it – it made more sense. The editors have to deal with a tremendous amount of edge cases, logic, behaviors, and different kinds of data for PI and iOS events/reminders. Not only that, but the UI expectations are far different with mouse/keyboard. We knew this, but as we had to re-learn all of our Cocoa (desktop code) there was a lot of learning time going on as well.

There is a lot of really great stuff in Desktop Pocket Informant – and there is still a ton missing. Most of the really important things that are missing can each be done in a day or two once what we consider the core is done – but even at that its still a lot of time.

Every time Chris and I look at where we are at it feels like we are just a week or two away from getting to beta or “early access”, and then we hit some design issue that takes a week just to play around and get right. Right now, there is the chance that we can get beta next week and early access by the end of the month. However its more realistic for beta next week and early access will be in February. Please note that beta is private and we aren’t asking for volunteers as we do have enough. As a reminder, Early Access is our public beta that is a bit like our own KickStarter – it will have a charge associated with it. There will also be a trial. Of course, we will have product pages that spell everything out in as complete terms as possible so that everyone knows exactly what they are getting.

So here is what we have finished right now:

  • Month View in general
  • Week View
  • Task View
  • Calendar Editing
  • Google Calendar/Task sync
  • Toodledo Sync
  • Informant Sync
  • Quick Entry
  • Drag and Drop

Here is what we are in progress with and would like to have finished for beta:

  • Focus View (almost done)
  • Filtering
  • Year View

Here is what we’d like to have finished for early access:

  • Search
  • Templates
  • ETA/some map

Here are some things that you won’t see in Early Access but we do plan to have by the final:

  • Printing
  • Sharing events/tasks
  • Full Map/Location support
  • A lot more task sorting and grouping options
  • Notes View
  • Rich Text Editing
  • Saved Filters

So that’s where we are at. I’d love to say that Desktop was coming tomorrow, but instead its coming along. In the past month we’ve seen the app nearly double in the finished areas. The good news is that Desktop Informant is based on the iOS version which means that its got a solid tested foundation and once we’re done with the features, we will be very very close to shipping.

Desktop Informant should be ready for you to use daily no later than a month from now, and possibly sooner. As always, this is a forward looking statement… but we are getting close and ready!