Process 2.0

Jumsoft’s Process 2.0.2 is a friendly, intuitive project-management program with a superbly polished interface and an admirably easy learning curve. However, it lacks high-octane features like Gantt charts, which are useful for illustrating how tasks and events occur over time, and parts of the application feel only half-finished.

Process’s single-window interface lets users easily create new projects and show, hide, or create column categories. You can create custom column headings within each project, but you cannot globally add new columns for all the projects you’re working on. Sharing project details with other users via Bonjour is simple, and changes made from a remote location appear promptly on the host computer.

Colorful buttons let you add, delete, or group the tasks necessary to complete each project. As you check off each task, a process bar smoothly expands across the top of the screen to show you how a project is progressing. A pop-out Info Drawer lets you set an item’s priority, due date, and alarm information.

Process also offers limited Spotlight searching and lets you set up smart projects, which track and display tasks from multiple projects based on the criteria you specify—all the tasks due next Wednesday, for example, or all the ones with “budget” in their name. At present, neither feature permits searching or sorting items via user-created custom columns. That will be added in a future version, according to Jumsoft.

Unfortunately, Process can’t add columns of numbers to estimate costs or time required for tasks. In addition, sorting items by column headings left me unable to manually reorder them, until I unearthed a menu command that allowed me to undo my sort.

Process 2’s integration with iCal also needs work. When I tried to send myself an e-mail alert for an impending due date, Process gave iCal the wrong time. In addition, iCal events created by Process stretch confusingly from the date they were created in Process to the user’s specified due date. The result: an iCal window crammed full of overlapping tasks that sprawl across multiple days. Thankfully, an option in Process’s Preferences window let me display items in iCal as a to-do list instead, which was much clearer.

I was impressed by Process’s ability to link files to individual tasks within a project via drag and drop. You can view many multimedia files, Web addresses, PDFs, and RTF and Word files directly within Process (you’ll have to open or reveal other file types in the Finder). URLs can be dragged directly to Process from Safari, Internet Explorer, or Camino, but not from the Finder; Firefox users must copy and paste Web addresses into an “Add Web Source” dialog box to attach them to tasks.

Process can import OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language, an XML format for outlines) files, so it’s interoperable with many other applications. Process can also export to OPML, as well as RTF and text. Process’s documentation promises HTML export, but it’s not actually available; again, a Jumsoft representative says that it’s planned for the future.

Macworld’s buying advice

Process is a friendly tool for tracking and managing projects. People who don’t mind a more difficult learning curve might consider OmniOutliner (   ). However, teachers or creative individuals with simple needs should find Process 2 efficient, effective, and fun to use.

[ Nathan Alderman is a copy editor and writer in Alexandria, Virginia. ]

A pop-out Info Drawer lets you set an item’s priority and due date. Unfortunately, setting up alarms via iCal isn’t always reliable.Process lets you browse linked Web pages and use or view some types of files directly within the program.

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