Almost two years ago I began working on a legal practice management system for Office 365 based on the sandbox architecture. I was almost done with that solution when I found out about the new app model.
After much soul searching I decided not to release the original but instead to attempt a rewrite. My reasoning was simple, if I released I’d have to spend time in the future rewriting anyway and I’d still have to rebuild as an app. This required a leap of faith on my part because I wasn’t very happy with the limitations of the sandbox but I was also pretty skeptical about the new model. I liked the architectural direction and it was in line with what I had done in my first version, but I had doubts about the API’s and the execution. I wrote several articles about my thoughts that are in this site’s archive but I eventually became very happy with what I was able to accomplish as an app.
Over the same period of time I read (and sometimes debated) other articles on the blogosphere about apps. Most were about the merits of the model and how to go about building them. Eventually I stopped because I didn’t have time and also because the whole concept is pretty squishy and tough to discuss in the abstract. Instead I thought, ‘In a few weeks I’ll launch and then people will see what I’m talking about!’
I’ve been saying that for many months now.
I’m happy to say that the trial versions of the apps are now in the Office 365 marketplace approval process and that the full versions will be available in the next couple of weeks.
The apps are: Instant Legal Practice and Instant Consulting Practice.
The apps are designed for small practices and they make it easy to track clients, matters and projects, meetings and tasks. Best of all they include powerful time tracking and billing features including automatic invoice generation. Going forward there will content both about how they work under the covers and how to get the most out of the features. That is why this site is divided into two sections.
Before I close this post let me say that my technical and usability goals for these apps are audacious. I want to set the bar for what a SharePoint app can be and I am very happy with the result. Barring any unforeseen circumstances they’ll be available sometime this week. I hope you’ll check them out.
P.S. I’d like to thank my wife and children for putting up with my insane schedule and my friend, and fellow SharePoint MVP, Dan Attis for letting me use his house as a place of solitude.