Macintosh software developer Juan Alvarez set out on a mission a couple of months ago to develop a software application that would take the headache out of personal finance. The result is
Cha-Ching, a distinctly Mac OS X application Alvarez said is designed to make things simple.
“I made Cha-Ching because I looked at the other apps in the market and they just didn’t seem right,” Alvarez told Macworld. “I wanted to make an app for the rest of us — one that wasn’t so complicated.”
Using his own personal experience Alvarez wanted an application that would simply allow him to input data for money coming in and bills going out. While Cha-Ching includes a lot of functionality, Alvarez remained focused on his goal and kept things simple throughout the development process.
“We worked very hard to make Cha-Ching beautiful and very simple to use,” said Alvarez. “When you look at it, you know right away what button to push to do something. Having a focus allowed us to create an app that everyone can use.”
Cha-Ching takes the Internet trend of “tagging” into account too, allowing users to tag each transaction with keywords such as bill, food, impulse buy or whatever else you want. The application will then show you a tag cloud so you can easily see where you are spending your money.
In addition to bills, Cha-Ching also allows you to keep track of pending transactions such as IOUs — reminders for transactions can also be set so you don’t forget to collect. With it’s integration with iCal and Address Book, reminders, payments and income can be sent to iCal and then synced to mobile devices, so you always know what’s happening with your finances.
“It took a lot of time, but the integration is very important,” said Alvarez. “Apple has some great apps and they made it easy for us to do.”
Cha-Ching’s integration also extends to iSight so you can take pictures of your purchases for insurance and tax purposes.
While Cha-Ching is still in beta, Alvarez said he is keeping to his philosophy of making a beautiful application that is easy for anyone to use. Instead of blindly adding features he is figuring out what people want to accomplish and trying to make that task as easy as possible.
“When you make an application you need to focus on each strength of what you’re trying to do,” said Alvarez. “From there, you can build something that people will want to use.”