On the eve of announcing their new update to a stalwart software program in the project management world–FastTrack Schedule–I had the pleasure of a Web meeting with Ryan Kish, Vice President of Marketing and Abigail Thornhill, Training & Support Specialist, both of AEC Software, who showed me the new features in the just released FastTrack Schedule 10.
Taking Advantage of the Mac OS
In the past, AEC Software always designed FastTrack Schedule using common user-interface (UI) elements from both Windows and Mac. This enabled users in mixed Mac/Win environments to share a common user-interface between their colleagues, but it also meant that the program couldn’t take advantage of “advances” in each respective operating systems’ GUIs (graphical user interfaces). Now with version 10 FastTrack Schedule has separated the UIs for each platform to take advantage of operating system-specific user-interface design.
This means that for Windows users FastTrack Schedule 10 has adopted Microsoft’s Ribbon Interface approach and on the Mac the program has adopted the use of Apple’s iWork suite interface elements, including the use of the innovative media browser. The Mac version has adopted Apple’s brushed aluminum interface look and the new Toolbar options allow you to create truly stunning calendars. (see image 01)
Lastly, in a nod to our world of opinion here at Architosh–you know how we feel about video instruction–AEC Software has added a new start-up Launch screen that orients the user (or new user) and includes both template and non-template ways to start the program as well as new instructional video options.
Before we delve into the many new features in FastTrack Schedule 10 it would be helpful to remind the reader of some of the virtues of this program. For starters FastTrack Schedule is the king of cross-platform scheduling apps for Mac and Windows. Files work across platform with ease. While many organizations use Microsoft Project this program was killed on the Mac platform eons ago. And despite the fact that organizations everywhere have asked for it back, and included in the MS Office for Mac suite, it simply isn’t going to happen. That’s okay because, as we said before in other articles, FastTrack Schedule has always been a better choice for Mac or Windows users.
The reason that is so is because no other scheduling software this powerful can produce Gantt charts that look so good. The graphics support in FastTrack Schedule have always been ahead of the competition, enabling its users to produce stunning presentations and win contracts and jobs. FastTrack Schedule continues to shine in these categories–offering organizations across a truly vast array of industries and sectors to do sophisticated or simple project scheduling easily and quickly on whatever platform they prefer.
The first feature we may want to talk about then is the new Image Columns support. This is a really hot feature in our opinion. With Image Columns support you can add pictures directly to task items, staff, and resources (like conference room photos) directly in the schedule view. They automatically scale to fit the column width and height and when you mouse over them they automatically enlarge. (see image below)
Combined with the feature above the new bar styles and gradient fills continue to keep FastTrack Schedule 10 out ahead of the pack on the graphics and presentation quality front.