Over the past 20 years as a freelance translator, I’ve organised my workload and admin with a pen and paper, done a brief stint with Word tables combined with ProZ invoicing, used Outlook tasks with Excel, and finally settled with AIT’s TO3000 about 6 years ago. Version 11, released in February 2014, met all my needs, so when AIT announced in June last year that a new 3D version was just around the corner, I looked forward to trying it out.
At about the same time, BaccS appeared on the market. The developer behind it, Eugene (Yauhen) Kuchynski, an accountant-cum-programmer-cum-translator, turned it from a cloud to a desktop application in October 2016.
By spring 2017, with no news of TO3000 3D (except a new dedicated TO3000 website with a download link leading nowhere), I thought it was time to investigate BaccS. I also finally installed TO3000 3D when it was released at the beginning of June, so I’ve been running version 11, 3D and BaccS side by side for a few weeks.
This is a summary of my findings. As the table’s rather long and unwieldy, I’ve highlighted certain points:
- Italics in the TO3000 3D column for changes since version 11.
- Text in green for features I particularly like.
- Text in red for negative points.
|220 MB file, has to be installed to root file business folder, e.g. C:\Business||75 MB file (installs in 1 min to any chosen path and folder)|
|Version 11 DB (database) import|
|External data import .exe file needed to convert from .FDB to .MDF and populate new DB. Very quick, once you find the file. Full transfer of all data.||Import tool in program. Some reference data has to be set up first. Import takes a long time for big DBs (20 mins in my case). Customised fields in DB are lost.
Transfer of new 3D DB into BaccS doesn’t work.
|Set-up from scratch|
|Clear instructions under “Quick Start” in help files. I’d like to link to the Help files but they aren’t online.||Rather unhelpful help under “Initial setup”, and no mention of setting up very first job. (Solved in the next blog post!)|
|Appearance and customisation|
|Touch friendly option; Skins (hard to distinguish active tab in most); Font styles; font size up to 11 (up to 10 in v.11)||Many skins (some touch friendly); No font style choice but size up to 22|
|Simple and advanced filtering options. Export/import filter settings||Simple and advanced filtering options|
|Customise work status and due dates (but no longer due times as in v.11) by colour in settings. Easy to set up, but no real-time preview.||Customise work status and due dates by colour under conditional formatting (rt click in column header). Apply button gives real-time preview, but set-up is complex.
Progress bars in cells by size of job/invoice (by words, amount)
|Invoice and quote templates, customisable through variables in rtf files.||Invoice and quote templates, customisable through designer tool (see video I made after discovering it wasn’t so hard after all)|
|Interface in English only.||Interface in 6 languages. Not all complete (localised by users in the program, by segment)|
|Individual job window not customisable||Customisable job creation window|
|Quick access toolbar and ribbon not customisable||Customisable quick access toolbar and ribbon|
|User, business, advanced settings now accessed quickly in “Backstage view” (Home icon)||Settings in cog icon on quick access bar, and in options on ribbon, but reference data is surprisingly in separate tab.|
|Help files: F1, but not under “help” in Backstage view||Help files: F1 and in support tab|
|Dashboard: coloured rectangles that give minimum info (no. of open jobs, jobs with x due date, due invoices, etc.). Basically, default job and invoice filters that can be double clicked to open.||Dashboard: Full information at a glance of jobs’ list (filters can be applied), unpaid invoices, charts, notes box, etc. 10 most recent clients (see ‘create new job’ below)|
|Search box: Search across whole program, rich filter options||Search box: by window (jobs, invoices, clients, etc.)|
|Shortcuts: only a few with underlined letters; not customisable.||Shortcuts: some useful ones and some are customisable.|
|Create new job: several clicks needed (clone button is now in a context menu – rt mouse click)||Create new job: excellent single click in dashboard for 10 most recent clients; otherwise copy row in job list.|
|Create invoice: quickly from inside a single job window; otherwise through main client window||Create invoice: select one or more jobs and click Create Invoice|
|Create new client: Still have to browse to main tab in Client tab. Long wizard gone, now have to click each field.||Create new client: Copy row in client list|
|Clients grouped by flags plus many other filters||Clients grouped by category (text field) plus many other filters|
|Tabs give several views at once. If data is updated in one tab, it isn’t changed in other open tabs. Tab labels are unclear.||Tabs are versatile. Can be pinned, displayed horizontally or vertically. Data is updated in all open tabs.|
|File structure unchanged from v.11. Unnecessary folders created for jobs||File structure: path can be pasted in, and folders opened at a click.|
|New client contact can be added on the fly from job window||New reference data (e.g. client contact, work unit) can be created on the fly from most fields.|
|Exchange rates automatically batch updated every 1, 7 or 30 days. Source unknown.||Exchange rates downloaded manually, one by one, for a specified date, from a choice of 3 sources.|
|Delete client. If client has jobs, contacts etc., warning appears with related data that will also be deleted.||Delete client. If client has jobs, contacts, etc., unhelpful “can’t delete” message appears.|
|No batch delete for jobs, invoices, etc.||Easy to batch delete jobs, invoices, etc. by selecting more than one row (ctrl/shift+click).|
|Changing a client in a job isn’t possible.||Client can be changed in a job.|
|Import CAT tool analyses (xml, xls, txt). (Studio analysis is now correctly imported.||Import CAT tool analyses (memoQ, DVX, Studio) with full data import|
|– AnyCount: an accurate tool for wordcounts in almost all file types.
– User-customised fields for jobs, invoices and clients (as free text, pick-lists, multiple choice lists, numbers/dates)
– Prospects: potential clients are now a separate module. Easy to switch an individual client to/from prospects.
|– CV creation
– One-way interaction with ProZ profile (availability, WIWO and feedback can be updated in BaccS)
– Import memoQ and Studio projects and Studio packages as a job in BaccS.
– Outsource jobs (I haven’t tested this yet).
– Rest reminder app
|AIT support is unpredictable.||BaccS support is very, very fast.|
|No TO3000 users’ forum||BaccS has a newly-created users’ forum.|
|Requests for new features are implemented very slowly, if at all.||At the moment, new features are implemented in 24 hours. Is this sustainable?|
|Performance, stability and reliability|
|Start program: 40 seconds (Version 11: only 3 seconds)||Start program: 20 seconds|
|After initial crashes and bugs, the latest build seems to be stable.||Good automatic bug reporting system. After initial crashes and bugs, the latest build seems to be stable.|
|AIT was founded in 1998. Better the devil you know?||Long-term development and on-going support depends on a one-person start-up.|
|€115-399 (version comparison). Often available at a discount through ProZ group buy.||$120 (includes 3 yrs of free upgrades) or completely free through ProZ plus package|
Shared features that I haven’t explored in either program include:
- Send emails from the program, with predefined templates
- Reports and charts
- Expenses and balance sheets
Problems in both
Some drawbacks are shared by both tools: the ribbon can be minimised and restored with a right mouse click in the quick access toolbar, but there’s no standard Ctrl+F1 shortcut.* Both have a job delivery time but it can’t be set to a default time (this feature was available in vers. 11). Both have a backup feature but it’s manual, not automatic (every day, every x hours when the program is active, when closing program, etc.)
* The Ctrl+F1 shortcut was added to BaccS 24 hours after this article was published!
Of course, there are scores of features that I haven’t discovered in either program yet, and others that seem hardly worthy of mention, but make the programs just that little bit better. For example, in TO3000 (version 11 and 3D), you can refresh a grid by clicking F5; in BaccS you can add a min, max or sum total for any column in jobs or invoices by right clicking the grey bar.
Which is best?
I feel at home with both programs. First impressions don’t count in my case, because 3D is quite similar to version 11, so I didn’t experience the disorientation of opening any new program for the first time.
BaccS is slower, except for start-up time, but compensates to some extent by needing fewer clicks in general to perform actions.* I love that the BaccS folder can be simply copied to a pendrive and used on any machine; you can even install it in a DropBox folder. Switching computers couldn’t be easier.
* Times for opening and closing windows are much improved after an update in August 2017.
TO3000 3D is dependable and stable, and isn’t cluttered with ProZ buttons. AnyCount is an important embedded feature for many users. I actually have a standalone version of AnyCount because it’s immediately accessible and gives a breakdown by file and document structure (header, text box, etc.). My main gripe with AIT is that it hasn’t been responsive to users’ needs over the last few years and I’m not convinced that recent improvements in this field will be long-lasting.
In a similar vein, my main concern with BaccS is its long-term future and whether I can rely on what is essentially a one-man show. Eugene, the developer, has proved to be totally dependable and responsive to my many questions and feature requests. Imagine asking for a ‘last job date’ column in the clients’ view and seeing it implemented in a new build the very next day! So, despite the fact that the program depends on just one person, or maybe because of it, I’ve decided to stay with BaccS. Other people may prefer TO3000 3D, but it’s BaccS for me.
AIT sent me a complimentary license for TO3000 3D, with no mention or commitment to review it on my blog. I purchased a BaccS license after testing it for a week.
I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and experience with TO3000 3D and BaccS, especially about the reports modules, which I haven’t explored in either program. Corrections welcome too! Please add your comments below.