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Harvest for iPhone 4.0: Faster Time Tracking

The Apps Team at Harvest is very proud of our latest work on Harvest for iPhone. One of our major goals this year has been to make your mobile time tracking experience faster by simplifying and streamlining the interactions required to do basic tasks.

In this release, we’ve focused heavily on how you get around the app. The new tab bar navigation gets you between Time, Expenses, and Invoices with a single tap. And it’s close to your thumbs, which is increasingly important as screen sizes continue to grow.

Harvest for iPhone 4.0

The Weekly Summary Bar allows you to see a full week’s worth of totals, plus it will let you jump between individual days with just one tap. You can quickly go back and forth by swiping: swipe on the bar itself to jump backwards and forwards by a whole week; swipe on the Timesheet to go backwards and forwards a day at a time. And if you need to get back to a specific date several weeks ago, you can now go directly there using the Jump to Date calendar. As part of this improved Timesheet navigation, we’ve also optimized the way we load Timesheet data. In general, we think you’ll notice a much snappier UI with significantly reduced load times.

We’ve also exposed start and stop buttons in timers directly in the Timesheet view. Need to re-start a timer quickly? Open Harvest for iPhone and in one tap that timer is running. Did you forget to stop a timer before you packed up your laptop? No problem, just open the app and tap the stop button.

There are many more updates in this version that we think you’ll enjoy: from miscellaneous bugfixes to a faster receipt chooser to an improved Account & Settings section. Rather than detail all of our updates here, we invite you to update your app today and see these great improvements for yourself. As always, if you have feedback on Harvest for iPhone, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Share a Project’s Budget Progress with Your Team

One of Harvest’s most useful features is the Project Analysis page. Here, you can see reports on your project’s progress–how much time was tracked and how much of your budget remains. In the past, only Administrators and Project Managers could see this page. Over the next few days, we’ll be releasing a change that’ll allow you to open up this report to the rest of the team on a project by project basis.

Why the change? In a nutshell, transparency! You can give non-project managers a read-only view into project progress so that everyone can be more proactive about keeping the project on track. Project Managers will no longer need to update the team on how they’re doing against the budget–the whole team can see it for themselves in Harvest in a few clicks.

All you have to do is select Show project report to everyone on the project in the Permissions section of the project form and the project team will have access to the Project Analysis report.

ProjectPermissionsEdit2

What can your team see with this permission?

  • Total time for the project, broken down by billable and non-billable hours
  • Their own hours, broken down by task
  • Hourly budget progress (for the project as a whole, or their own)

What can’t they see?

  • Breakdown of each team member’s hours
  • Fee-based budget progress
  • Expenses
  • Billable rates and amounts
  • Costs

Here’s an example of what the team will see:
Project Analysis for Regular User

And if you don’t turn this new permission on for a project? Regular users won’t be able to see the Project Analysis page at all. They’ll just see their own timesheets and expenses (same as they do now).

You’ll see this new permission on your projects within the next few days. If you have any thoughts or questions, let us know!

Behind the New Invoices Overview

Ever wonder about the inner-workings that make Harvest tick? There are a lot of continual updates to our codebase that our users never see. In the lull before our next update to Invoices Overview, we thought it a good chance to give you a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes work our developers do to make Harvest run better and faster. In this post, our developer Pez gives you a first-hand glimpse into his work to improve the code for Invoices Overview.


Here at Harvest, we like to ship new features, but also take great care to continually improve existing functionality.

We launched Harvest back in 2005, before Rails had hit version 1.0 and Ruby was still at version 1.8. That means we have our fair share of legacy code. Recently some of the legacy code had started to become a blocker to our aim of continual improvement.

When we decided to update the Invoices Overview screen, we had a choice: develop new functionality on top of the existing code, potentially making the problem worse, or rewrite our code.

We decided to take a step back and re-architect this section of Harvest. This meant we could bring the area up to modern standards with feature parity, and then start implementing a few new features to make the section even more useful.

What’s the Problem with Old Code?

Why is legacy code such a bad thing? If it isn’t broken don’t fix it, right?

While it’s true that features written in legacy code will work, legacy code can eventually become a barrier for improving existing functionality for a few reasons:

  • It often has less test coverage, meaning it’s easy to break things without realizing.
  • It’s usually harder to understand, having drifted from the originally engineered design.
  • The additional complexity makes it harder to debug and more complex to add functionality to.

But why does “legacy code” exist in the first place?  Continue reading…

Two Improvements to the New Invoices Overview

The new Invoices Overview has been out in the wild for about a month. Since its release, we’ve gotten great feedback that the new filters and search are pretty darn useful! We’re not the type to be easily satisfied, though, and we’ve been hard at work on some improvements.

First, we’ve added a Paid On column to your All Invoices tab. And, it’s sortable. Just head to your All Invoices tab, click the Paid On column, and you’ll be able to see invoices sorted by payment date. This’ll make catching up on your recently paid invoices much easier, and you’ll be able to work more smoothly when recording payments or sending thank-yous.

paid_on_column

Second, we made two updates to the way retainer invoices are displayed in Overview. The problem was that retainer deposits aren’t usually considered revenue, so we needed a way to separate these retainer invoices from your overall total. That way, you’d have more accurate numbers to understand your income.

If you have retainers in your account today, we now show you two separate totals: one that includes standard invoices and invoices that draw from retainers (this is usually revenue), and a second total for retainer deposits (this is usually not revenue).

retainer_totals

Also, we now visually distinguish retainer invoices in your table, so you can easily track them down. Check it out:

retainer_label

We’re continuing work on this section, so stay tuned for more improvements coming your way!

Drill into Tasks and People on your Project

Our Project Analysis pages offer a great way to quickly check the status of a project, but sometimes you may want more detailed information on the time tracked to a project. As of today, we’ve made digging into your project information even simpler, with the ability to drill into tasks and people. Let’s go through an example of how these data points can be useful:

You’re one month into a three month project, and you’ve noticed you’re already close to the end of your budget. When you check things out on your Project Analysis page, time logged to Design has eaten away at most of the budget. What gives?

Now, with one click, you can see all of the people who tracked time to Design. You realize that the person you assigned as backup for design has logged more hours than the primary person – time to have a chat with the team to see what’s going on!

Mid-level Drill-down Blog Post Image

And if seeing the breakdown of people who tracked time to a specific task (or tasks to a specific person) isn’t enough detail for you, you can also click on the Total Hours to see the individual time entries on the Detailed Time Report.

Detailed Reports Image for Blog Post

These changes should help you understand the numbers, and where they’re coming from with just a click (or two)! If you have any questions or feedback, just give us a shout.

Introducing the New Invoices Overview

Two weeks ago we gave you the heads up about a new Invoices Overview. Today, we’ll start releasing that Overview—you’ll see it in your account soon!

For this first phase of our update, we had one primary goal: offer ways to more easily access the invoices you need, all in one place. You’ll notice an improved the design, but more importantly, we’ve added ways to search by ID, filter by client and timeframe, and manage your invoices without ever having to leave Overview. Get acquainted with the new view with this quick and handy intro:

First, you’ll notice that Overview’s design has been refreshed. In addition to being easier to scan, the new design is now home to two tabs: Open and All Invoices. We think of the Open tab as your invoice inbox. It’s a quick stop to view all your most important invoices, the ones that need action to get paid.

invoices_open_tab

What if you want to see all invoices, or invoices for a specific client or timeframe? Hop over to the new All Invoices tab. This is where you’ll find the new client filter, so you can see just the invoices for a specific client.

client_filter

Interested in how much a client owes or paid you? Use the status filter in the top left of the All tab to view just open, closed, late, sent, or draft invoices. And if you need to see invoices issued during a certain timeframe—like this fiscal year—just use the new timeframe filter to get just what you need.

status_and_timeframe_filters

Finally, we also added the ability to search by invoice ID. Let’s say a client’s emailing you about a specific invoice, or you just received a payment you need to record. Head over to search, type in the ID, click, and you’ll be brought straight to the invoice page for fast access.

invoice_search

We hope these improvements make it easier and faster for you to track down the invoices you need! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a few other features as well, like handy visualizations so you can better understand your income at a glance. Stay tuned!

If you have any feedback, let us know in the comments. Or, write to us at support@harvestapp.com—you’ll be in touch directly with the team working on this change, so questions or feedback are always welcome there!

A New Invoices Overview Is Headed Your Way

invoices_overview

Some invoice improvements are coming your way! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing a new Invoices Overview.

What’s that mean? Soon, when you head to Invoices > Overview, you’ll see a new design, as well as a few new handy features. Other sections in the Invoices tab—like Report, Recurring, and Retainers—will stay the same. And never fear: all of your existing data will remain safe and sound.

Why the change? Simply put, Invoices Overview was old. We wanted its design to match newer parts of Harvest, like Projects. And more importantly, we needed to clean up this section so we could improve existing features as well as add new ones.

Speaking of new features, we’re adding search! When we release the new Overview, you’ll be able to search by invoice ID, so you can track down any invoice in seconds. Check it out:

invoice_search

You should see these updates in your account soon! We’ll also have another blog post closer to release to introduce you to all the sparkly new features. And in the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, just let us know in the comments or send us a note!

Update: We’ve gotten a lot of comments requesting ways to find invoices by client, and we wanted to let you know that feature is already included in this update! You’ll find filtering by client under a new All Invoices tab when the new Overview is released.

Update, August 31, 2015: The new Invoices Overview that this blog post announced is now live! You can see more here.

Better Insight into Fee-Based Projects

Screenshot of Project Progress graph in USD

The Projects section hasn’t done a great job at showing how quickly fee-based projects are being completed — until now. We’ve just released an update to Harvest that brings all the features of the time-based Project Graph over to fee-based projects:

  • Budget Spent vs. Budget: Fee-based budget lines are now graphed, and Budget Spent (in your project’s currency) is graphed below it. You can quickly see how much of your budget you’ve used, and if you’ll exceed it.
  • Forecasted Budget Spent: If your project is linked to Forecast, we’ll use your billing rate to convert future scheduled hours in Forecast to a projection of budget spent. It’s even easier to see if you’ll exceed your budget with Forecast.

You don’t need to do anything to see this change in your account — just pop over to the Projects section and take a look at a fee-based project (budgeted by Total Project Fees or Fees Per Task) to see the changes. Take it for a spin!

We hope this makes keeping your fee-based projects on budget just a little bit easier – and as always, don’t hesitate to let us know what you think in the comments below or by sending us an email at support@harvestapp.com.

Forecasted Project Health now supports Fee-based Budgets

Earlier this year we announced a tighter integration between Harvest + Forecast, combining your tracked hours with your scheduled hours. This update allows you to compare your team’s estimates vs actuals, and also reveals real-time project health, so you know ahead of time if you’ll go over your hours budget.

We’re happy to announce that we recently added two nice updates to this project health portion of our integration.

  1. We’ll now show if you’ll be over or under budget in the Forecast summary for all budget types, including fee-based budgets.
  2. If we are able to calculate the projected fees, we’ll also show that in the summary, even if you’ve selected an hours-based budget.

This means you’ll be able to know ahead of time if you will go over or come under your fee budget right in the summary!

project-health

Note: To calculate projected fees, you will need to select an invoice method of Project Hourly Rate or Person Hourly Rate.

We know that, at the end of the day, knowing where you stand against your projected fees is critical to your business. We think this update will help you run your projects more smoothly and efficiently.

Bonus! We’ve also just rolled out the “money graph”, which means we will show you a graph of your project’s progress against the monetary budget you have set for any projects budgeted by fees. This graph will also includes projected budget data from Forecast.

Introducing Harvest for GitHub: Track Time on Issues and Pull Requests

Our developers at Harvest spend a majority of their time in GitHub. As someone who organizes our projects, I tend to live in Basecamp or Trello, so the fact that I can start a Harvest timer from those apps is great. But for developers who actually do their work in GitHub, it’s been a bummer that they haven’t been able to start a timer from there. Today, we’re excited to add GitHub to the list of apps you can track time from with the Harvest Chrome extension!

If you already have our Chrome extension installed today, you’ll now see a Track Time button at the top of every GitHub issue and pull request. If not, just install it here. The highlights of the integration:

  • Quickly start and stop a timer from GitHub issues and pull requests. There’s a button at the top of the page, but also down near the comments.
  • The ID and title of the issue or pull request will populate into your Harvest notes.
  • Your Harvest timesheet will have a link back to the GitHub issue or pull request associated with that entry.

harvest-for-github@2x

The Harvest for GitHub integration will make developers and project managers happy. It’ll be easier for developers to get a timer going, meaning they’ll be more likely to track time. For project managers, that translates to not having to remind your team to track time and having more accurate reports. Win, win!

If you have any questions or feedback, just get in touch with us.