Alright, who are we kidding — we went into stealth mode months ago and there is a very good reason for that. The Giggle blog posts, newsletters, etc have slowed to a crawl (our last one was in November … I believe) and I’m betting many of you are chomping at the bit to know what we’ve been up to. The good news is that you won’t have to wait too much longer!
The GigBooks development team has been working tirelessly to bring you the new version of GigBooks called “Refreshed”. We won’t lie … it has been a challenge every step of the way. First, we had to decide how best to proceed in developing GigBooks and there were many difficult decisions to be made. At the beginning of 2009, we were no longer happy with our development partner and therefore brought everything in house in order to have complete control over how GigBooks was being developed.
The next major initiative related to the existing code base which was not where we wanted it to be. We had to decide whether to begin gradually rewriting GigBooks one module at a time in order to finally have an application that was as nimble and maintainable as it should have been in the first place OR scrap the entire thing (including all the time and money we spent over a year and half) in favor of starting over. As with any important decision, both options had significant pros and cons that were weighed carefully.
At this point we had established an internal development team at our headquarters in Erie, PA and ultimately decided to begin the process of rewriting from the ground up. This decision afforded us several awesome advantages:
- We free ourselves entirely from the limitations of a code base that wasn’t properly designed in the first place so that we can be as innovative and creative as those of you that use GigBooks on a day to day basis.
- The focus of the rewrite would be placed on usability and user experience — the things our members were telling us they wanted to see changed the most. We could do anything we want in order to make GigBooks the most intuitive business management tool for creative and service based businesses.
- Once released, we can continue to quickly and regularly release new features and functionality aimed squarely at streamlining the things you do on a day to day basis.
- Peace of mind that GigBooks can continue growing and enhancing the application that many have come to rely on to run their businesses.
And so we set out on a mission to begin anew and I am happy to say development is moving along superbly! We will gradually begin releasing GigBooks Refreshed in the next couple months. We are currently working on a plan for launching the new application that includes a transition period where current members will be migrated over to the new platform. More information will be shared as we finalize the details.
Here is what you can expect at the launch of GigBooks Refreshed:
- A greatly improved user interface/experience based on direct feedback from all of you over the last year and a half. We have brought on a talented group of web application designers and I am certain you will be pleased with the results!
- The #1 request by members and prospective members alike has been related to the GigBooks calendar. We heard you loud and clear. For photographers, GigBooks Refreshed will launch as the only studio management application to provide native support for true bidirectional, web based synchronization with your external calendars such as iCal, iPhone, Google Calendar, Outlook, etc. Lots of other great Calendar related functionality will be available as well!
- Restructured modules that are designed to be simpler and more intuitive. For example, Leads, Contacts and Clients from the original system have been merged into a single module tentatively called Relationships and the functionality has been expanded to allow for management of Vendors, Employees, Subcontractors, Partners and any other type of relationship you might establish with a person or organization in the course of running your business.
- The Pricelists area of GigBooks is being completely reworked and rethought so as to allow for quick and easy setup of products/services/credits, packages and the pricing of each of those items.
- Invoicing is being augmented with a brand new Estimates feature that will tie into Agreement generation and brings the entire process of quoting, contracting and billing clients full circle.
- Favorite features such as electronic signatures through EchoSign still exist and are also being enhanced with new functionality.
- Ultimately, Jobs/Projects (whatever you want to call them) will utilize a new workflow engine.
- Mass emails will become a reality.
- New integrations with other innovative software companies will be possible.
We are extremely excited about the future of GigBooks and are in a better position to serve your business management needs than ever before. Continue watching your email and the Giggle blog for more details!