I have been watching Cha-Ching closely since its alpha release. Initially, I was quite impressed. The app had a unique, beautiful interface. It performed basic functionality quite well, and it was fun to use. I was a little weirded out that they were charging for an alpha/beta product, but I shrugged it off since it showed such promise and I was sure that this was the kind of application I wanted to support.
Since it was missing a few features I really wanted, I held off on purchasing a license. However, I happily ended up acquiring one anyway during MacHeist.
As the application hit 0.5, I continued to be impressed and was really looking forward to 1.0, hoping it would fill a much-needed niche in the Mac financial software community.
However, as preparations for the 1.0 release came upon us, my excitement turned into huge disappointment.
The developers heralded the release with a "week of new features". Every day they were going to announce something great until Friday, when they were going to release 1.0. The week started off ok with spotlight integration. Tuesday was a little disappointing with Bill Manager. Wednesday did nothing more than announce a newly redesigned interface (the old one was already great). And then Thursday was a joke post with no new feature announcement at all.
I decided to check out the forums to see what was going on, and was horrified by some of the things I read. People were complaining about terrible support, lots of bugs, and similar disappointment at the newly announced features. And to top it all off, the developers announced that come 1.0, they were going to be removing the forums. I couldn't help but feel that the only reason for this was to get rid of the negative posts saturating the board.
To try and quell the masses, the developers laughed about the joke post and promised that everyone would love the actual surprises that would be shown on Friday when the app was released. And guess what? Friday came and went and while the app was released, there were 0 surprises. The app was exactly like it was in 0.5.2 except with spotlight integration, bill manager, and a slightly redesigned interface.
As for the forum, they decided to do something different in the end. Instead of deleting them alltogether, they just wiped them clean, removing all the negative posts in one fell swoop.
Now that the history lesson is over, I do want to comment on the product as it currently stands. Yes, it has a beautiful interface, but it doesn't really have anything else. It the entire 1.0 release had never happened, I would feel a lot better about both the company and the product. But the release hurt. Now we have a product with a $40 price tag which is still beta quality. That, and I no longer trust or respect the developers.
And, to top it all off, while the MacHeist participants were told they would have free upgrades until 2.0, it turns out that their keys no longer work in 1.0.2. The developer apologized and said they are working hard to fix it, but still, it has been over three days and there have been no further updates on the issue.
In the end, I decided to purchase a license for iBank. While Cha-Ching has a vastly superior interface, everything else about iBank is better. There are tons of new features, far fewer bugs, and a company behind them that I can trust a lot more than MidnightApps.