Review: Daylite 3.7
At a Glance
Keeping your own schedule and projects organized is one thing. Keeping a group, or even an entire workforce, on track is a little more difficult. Marketcircle's Daylite 3.7.3 is a scheduler, to-do list, notes utility, project manager, and sales tracker all rolled into one that supports up to 50 users on individually licensed Macs. It's large and flexible, with many components that you can use immediately or grow into. Use it by yourself, for a small business, a family, or softball team, at home or on the road. It's like adding more drawers to your desk: you get more space for organizing your life, but need only one tool as a central hub.
Whether this "everything and the kitchen sink" model works for you is a matter of taste. At first, Daylite seems like a jack of all trades and master of none—its all-purpose power becomes apparent only after you use it for a while. The installer is quick and easy, but the very first screen is confusing: it prompts you to choose whether you want to use the program's built-in sample database or create a new database from scratch. The sample data is purely for learning purposes so you can dive in and start playing with mock-up data, but for me it was overkill. I'd rather just start entering real data and go through a separate tutorial with the sample data.
In most cases, you'll want to build a database first. For example, I used Daylite to plan a business trip to San Francisco. I had to know where I was going (the schedule), whom I was meeting with (contacts), and what to do concerning my travel and work assignments (tasks). After entering information about myself—name, address, and phone number—I was prompted to import my existing schedule and contacts from iCal and Address Book. I was hoping Daylite directly supported Web 2.0 tools such as Google Calendar and Plaxo.com, but instead I manually imported vCard data for contacts as a workaround, which is good. However, I was not able to import Google Calendar data.
Then I selected a template. Here, Daylite really shines, because it helps you focus on the kind of work you do: photography, sales, accounting, or what have you. The templates are designed to fit your profession (photographer, for example) or role in a company (sales, for instance). No matter which template you use, you can quickly add notes and new projects, edit contacts, and send meeting requests within the program with just a click or two. I started entering more appointments, assigned tasks to a photographer friend (who was also using Daylite), and linked several contacts to both upcoming meetings and tasks. Pretty slick.
Daylite trumps the power of Microsoft Entourage ( ) when it comes to integrating data between modules: in Daylite you can use a global project view to see all tasks and contacts, drill down into a specific meeting to see who is attending, or assign a task to one of your contacts on a project with just a few clicks. Entourage supports some linked data, but it's not as powerful.
Daylite 3.7.3 adds a ton of small enhancements over previous versions, such as several new templates, speed improvements (especially with Microsoft Word mail merging), interface tweaks, and faster syncing between online and offline databases via Daylite's Delivery 1.1 add-on. However the major draw is support for new add-ons, such as integration with Cognito Software's MoneyWorks, FileMaker 9 ( ) import, and Xsilva Systems' LightSpeed point-of-sale system. Add-ons range in price from $99 to $299 for both individual users and per server.
Performance was exceptional on both an older iBook and a brand new 2.5GHz MacBook Pro. And Daylite 3.7.3 is very stable: it never crashed or paused for a second. The highly detailed help includes about 300 contextual help entries of useful information tied to specific features for those who want to dig deep into the program.
Macworld's buying advice
Confronted with Daylite's comparatively high price tag, you may decide to piece together a bunch of lower-cost or open source programs instead. Don't. As an organizer, Daylite 3.7.3 keeps a set of powerful tools in one convenient application. For those considering the upgrade, the new add-ons are helpful, but since there are only four available right now, it makes sense to consider which add-ons are important to you.
[John Brandon is a veteran Mac user who used to run an all-Mac graphics department.]