A review of Mac OS X timesheeting/tracking applications: Billings vs iBiz (and now Studiometry)

STOP PRESS: am now (partially) including Studiometry in this comparison.

Since I (Dr Darren) work primarily as a consultant for Webel IT Australia, and primarily (these days) with Mac OS X, I've been on the lookout for a really good timesheeting application. Unfortunately, neither of the timesheeting applications reviewed here (iBiz and Billings) is even close to really good, even if, for some reason I can't possibly fathom, Billings is "award winning". I certainly did not vote for it (although I do offer some discerning five-star votes here). This story is about the lesser of two evils Evil, and currently Billings is less evil, but only just, and it is missing many features that are successfully implemented in iBiz. I hope this dynamic, living, evolving review helps to change that, because I have now given up on iBiz, and I want Billings to come up to speed. I hope that this sometimes scathing review helps you save some of the time that I wasted already !

Neither iBiz nor Billings offer solid time data integrity, and since TIME=MONEY Cash, they do not offer financial integrity. I've found I have to watch the invoices generated by these applications like a hawk, and I in fact use the far more robust and highly recommended Wink Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) for the final invoicing and for the financials.

WARNING: Do NOT trust either iBiz (at all) or Billings (yet) to manage your financials !

The developers of iBiz and Billings do not seem to have understood Model-View-Controller properly (if at all), nor the importance of persistence of report generation parameter/variable state Puzzled, being of course the 2 things I need most as a consultant using time-tracking software, all day, every day.

And sadly, neither iBiz nor Billings at the time of writing comes even close to successfully integrating with iCal on Mac OS X, which renders them near useless in some important respects. Angry

So both applications earn from me a big fat yet partly rotten Golden Raspberry for Poor Software (which means not ripe yet, and yes, the concept is completely stolen from the award of the same name for bad movies), and I offer a humble sticking-out-of-my -tongue Tongue and a perpetual farting sound with a bad miasma, one each for each application for these shocking behaviors:

  • iBiz: for hogging consistently up to 90% of the CPU of my Mac Book Pro, most irritating, because the developers do not understand threads, priorities, processes and processors, quite sad really for people dealing with time keeping.
  • Billings: for offering a global setting for only letting one timer at a time run, which DOES NOT WORK, so that the entire integrity of time data management, and therefore of generated invoices, is corrupt.

These raspberries dated 17th Jun 2010 can't be undone; Billings and iBiz have earnt them permanently forever, for releasing software with such awful unripe stuff in them.

So far, I've found the support for iBiz pitiful (especially considering that I am helping them for no money), and the support for Billings far more helpful, even if some of the suggestions made in replies are clankers (such as suggesting that, since they only write full day events to iCal, I can adjust those by hand in iCal, which is probably the silliest, most time wasting idea I have heard in over 30 years working with computers).

To developers of software applications everywhere. Dr Darren says:

Your customers are NOT your happily unpaid beta testers ! Test the !@#!@# things yourselves, first, properly, before wasting our time (and your own, too).

Enough freestyling already. The rest of this Webel review is database-driven thanks to Drupal™ CCK custom types and Views. My aim is single: shock the software houses that develop time-sheeting applications for Mac OS X into finally getting their act together, so they will stop WASTING MY TIME !

The table below compares many Features of iBiz and Billings (and some features of Studiometry); to view a single table for app please visit:

Sorry, the application column below is not sort-clickable, most other columns are.