I try not to do many application reviews on this site, I would rather post them on iLoveMacApps, however the creators of Daylite have since bought an advert on this site, as a thanks I am going to tell you how wonderful this app is. This isn’t some marketing hype, Daylite is a proper professional application. Its dubbed as an all-in-one productivity suite designed to manage a team of one, to 50 users. It is the sort of tool which you use to make sure every one knows what they are doing in relation to everyone else in your business. It has a lot of features.
At the heart of Daylite is a database, in essence this is a database application which you could build yourself if you were running Filemaker or Access on Windows. Don’t let that scare you off, the only reason it is a database application (with a very nice front end, more on that later) is to enable you to do a lot of referencing and managing of people and tasks and link between them. When your first open this application, after entering a couple of details, you are treated to a choice of databases. You can either pick to start a new database or choose an existing one. The existing ones are designed to show you how the application works and to show you the power of the app, however upon choosing a sample database I immediately found it overwhelming and wondering what I should do. Using a new database straight away is a lot simpler and allows you to have a blank view of the landscape. Its worth pointing out at this point that Daylite is designed as a multi user application, although you can use it on your own, as a result there is a lot of emphasis of adding users and setting up passwords. I only tried it in single user mode however I can easily see how you would use it to interact with other people.
From the blank screen you can now start to create and manage yourself. The interface is essentially split up into three areas. The selector in the top left corner which you can use to select between: Calendars, Contacts, Organisations, Projects, Opportunities, Groups, Tasks, Appointments and Notes. The main area is the “information” area which you use the manage the different sections i’ve just mentioned. The final area which you will end up using a lot is the tool bar, to streamline your working.
Each of the sections (Calendars, Contacts etc) work with each other. At first it is really hard to see how every section works, with a blank database this is even harder. However once as you have read the support manuals and watched the videos the applications becomes clearer and its easy to see how everything interacts with each other. I mentioned that this is a database application, this is where the power of a database comes in. You can link contacts with projects, people with organisations, so on and so forth. After a while you begin to set up a web of details all interacting with each other. This then becomes incredibly useful as re-occurring events and people have a lot of data all ready supplied to them. You can also see who owns what and where they appears in various projects.
Since most businesses are centred around projects you will inevitably have a time line of when things need to be done. This is where the project section comes in. The projects are managed on a time line. You set up a project and then proceed to add people, appointments and calendar events. These events will then appear on your calendar as necessary, people will then be informed of whats happening automatically. Since everything is linked it is clear to see what is happening. You may add a lot of projects and tasks, its worth saying that you can easily organise these in the sidebar by creating whats is essentially smart folders and lists. This is a good way to organise various projects.
Overall this application is massive. There are hundreds of features, the list is about a mile long. I could spend years writing about ever single one. For example it works with Mail, syncs with other contacts using an iPhone or other mobile device. The Preferences Pane (which is huge) allows you to change and adjust ever little detail. There is also the ability to back up the database, make sure everything is secure by working with keychain. As well as this there is also the ability to set up a server so everyone in an office can access the data and work on it. As well as the application itself there is also video and text support, which is very handy to help you get set up. Over all the application is well thought out. You do need to have a large business to get the full power out of this application, however it will probably work in any scenario.
For all of the positives in this application there is a couple of downs sides. At first I was wondering how to work the applications, although things do make sense after you have used them, to begin with I felt a little lost. As mentioned there is support and guides, but I wanted to jump into the application. I would prefer in a future version to have a walk through to tell me what everything did. I would also like to see a way to hide parts of the program and reveal them as you learn them. An analogy of this would be playing a complex computer game, at first you aren’t told or shown everything, but they are slowly shown to you as you develop your skills. If a walk through like this was in the application it would make first opening a lot simpler.
Once as you get the hang of this application (it took me a day, hence why the post is today and not yesterday) there is a lot to offer. Another (sort-of) downside is the amount of investment you have to make in this program. If you are in a business you need to be really serious that you are going to use this application. You can’t just play around with it for a couple of hours, you need to really sit down and see how it works. The reason you need to think about investing in this application is the cost, for 5 users it costs £839 which is quite a bit (this does include premium support, plus a plugin). The single user version is £129. However if it helps you business it may well be worth it.
Over all this application is great. It works well on its own in single user mode, and I imagine it works really well with multiple users. It has plenty of integration methods so you can use it on your phone, sync with other people, and have plugins to extend the application into Mail as well as Billings (to bill people, made by the same developers). If you think this application is for you, download it and try it out. There is a 30 day no limitations free trial.