Studio Manager 9.1 New Features
More than a Maintenance Release
Released 12/23/09, bumped up a notch in early January
It was almost called 9.5. Studio Manager 9.1 was created by a year's worth of incremental development without radical new features, so we settled for 9.1.
FileMaker Pro 10 Came Out. After announcing Studio Manager 9.1 in late December, FileMaker Inc. released FileMaker Pro 10 on January 5th. We were thrilled, and felt the need to quickly make Studio Manager 9.1 FileMaker 10 compatible. We also added one feature we've been wanting for a long time for the tabbed interface in Contacts. See Script Triggers below for the one FileMaker 10 feature added. We are not anywhere near closing off Studio Manager to FileMaker Pro 9 users, so this addition does not in any way compromise Studio Manager for FileMaker 9 users.
We Still Support FileMaker Pro 9 Whole-heartedly. We are not anywhere near closing off Studio Manager to FileMaker Pro 9 users. The single use of Script Triggers in Studio Manager 9.1 is transparent to FileMaker 9 users.
Studio Manager 9.1 Highlights
Google Maps. Allows you to see a map, even get directions, via Google Maps in a window in Contacts. Requires entry of their full address. Requires internet access. For any contact, simply click on the tab.
FileMaker Pro 10 Compatibility. Now that FileMaker Pro is at version 10, we are scurrying about to make Studio Manager completely compatible.
Script Triggers in Contacts. New in FMP 10. We have added these in Contacts so that a single click on a tab will produce a found set of those records. If you run SM 9.1 with FMP 9, you will still need to double click the tab.
Back-end Improvements. Whenever we are working on an update, we also clean up extraneous scripting, rewrite scripts as needed and generally improve SM by streamlining whatever we can.
Four New Time and Expense Reports. We've added Employee time summary and detail reports and summary and detail reports that combine time and expenses in one report. The employee reports give you a better idea of who your biggest contributors are and may prove useful in performance reviews. The combo time and expense reports help those of you who want to print out all the details for every job before you bill. It's easier to print one combo report than one for time and one for expenses.
Taxable Estimates. Some countries really need to show taxes on estimates. Some firms prefer to show taxes. We added an optional preference to tax estimates. This is a simple taxation scheme. You get a tax rate applied to all line items or none. If you need line by line taxation options, you'll need to look over our techniques in invoices and add a bit more taxation logic. We, of course, are available to help you extend this if necessary.
Beefed up Summary and Flat Fee Estimating functions. You now not only print summary and flat fee estimates, you can transfer them to Job Costs and bill them. We found a way to generate the itemized data needed in Job Costs and Invoicing automatically when you click a button.
New Privilege Sets Reports. Some firms need to get pretty detailed in their security settings based on employee responsibility levels. We now have two reports that summarize Studio Manager's privilege set settings so you can more easily change those to fit your needs.
The newest tab in Contacts is called Google Maps. Clicking on this tab brings up a map that shows you the location of the current contact. You can get directions as well as choosing a satellite aerial photo view allowing you to zoom in to the street and building. In order for this feature to work correctly, the contact record must contain their full address and of course, you must have internet access. For any contact, simply click on the tab. Great for the first time you make a call on a prospect or for the curious. Is that office downtown, in the suburbs or out in the countryside?
When you click on the Google Maps tab you see the map view within the window in Studio Manager. If the window here is too small for you, then click on the Google Maps button to open your internet browser to the same address in Google Maps.
Google Maps window in Studio Manager
FileMaker Pro 10 Integration
Studio Manager is now designed to work using FileMaker Pro 9 or 10. The user interface of FileMaker 10 is now more friendly and flexible with a customizable status toolbar on top. Because the Status Area moved (from the left side to the top of the window) we resized all the screens in Studio Manager to fully fit on a typical 13" monitor. Check out what FileMaker, Inc has to say about FileMaker Pro 10 new features.
If you are accustomed to using FileMaker Pro 9 or earlier, you will have to get used to having the status bar appear horizontal at the top of the window. It only takes a few days and then you will be thrilled with the change.
Script Triggers in Contacts
One of the new features in FileMaker Pro 10 is called Script Triggers. If you are using FMP 10 with Studio Manager, you will discover that you no longer need to double click on a tab in Contacts in order to create a found set for a particular category like Employees; a single click does it for you. We can't really show you this in a screenshot so here's a cartoon to lighten up your day instead.
New Time and Expense Reports
Studio Manager 9.1 marks the addition of new reports including: Employee time summary and detail reports and Combo time and expense summary and detail reports. The employee reports may prove useful in performance reviews. The combo time and expense reports are useful when you want to print out all the details for a job before you bill. Access these reports from the Reports tab in Job Costs.
In response to our clients who want to show taxes on estimates, we added an optional preference that allows you to specify this. The taxation scheme is simple: a single tax rate applied to all line items and all estimates or none. The following screen grab shows the preference setting in Billing Codes.
If you want taxation by line item or the ability to show tax sometimes but not always, customization is required, either by us or by someone who understands how taxation works in Studio Manager.
Here's a summary estimate that shows sales tax.
Summary and Flat Fee Estimating Improved
You now have the ability to transfer summary estimates and flat fee estimates to Job Costs. We found a way to generate the itemized data needed to be able to do this. If you enter overrides for either services or expenses that force the estimate total to be different the calculated total, you will see a warning on the Estimates tab in Jobs. Adjust line items as needed until the itemized total matches the actual estimate. The estimate remains unchanged but now you have itemized items in Job Costs that allow you to compare estimates to actuals.
New Privilege Sets Reports
For those of you with complex security, we have added two reports that summarize Studio Manager's privilege set settings. These mean that you can more easily change the Privilege Sets to fit your needs. To get to the screen with buttons for these reports choose System Maintenance Screen from the Scripts menu. On that screen click to view Privilege Sets.