Eon 2: Simple, Beautiful and Powerful Time Tracking

Billing on an hourly basis isn’t always a joy. Many times I find myself estimating my time, often not billing for the actual amount of time I spent working for a client. This is why there are countless time tracking apps available for your Mac.

One in particular that I think is good enough to highlight is Eon. I’ve been testing Eon 2, the latest version of the app that I use as my main time tracking utility, for the past few weeks. Let’s dive into detail about this tool and see what makes it stand out from the others around it.

The Basics

Like most time tracking apps available on the market, the primary concern is the clock and how easy it is to start and stop it; getting out of your way as quickly as possible. Eon enables a menu bar clock when launched. This clock displays the current time that you have been working and lights up red when actively counting. Starting and stopping couldn’t be easier, just press the play button.


Eon's main timer window

Built into the app is the ability to organize by projects and calculate the total time you’ve spent on one in particular.

Select a project to count towards

If you’d like to get down into the details of when you personally clocked in and out of the app, you can easily access the log. A neat animation and sound follows the drop down of a receipt like pane with a print out of the times when you enabled and disabled the counting.

Eon's log

Once you have logged the time, you can pull up Eon and get access to the Actions menu (all of this functionality is available in the menu bar as well). This gives you the option to start and stop the timer and reset the clock, as well as the ability to post times, which we’ll discuss in a second.

Eon's menubar applet provides quick access to all aspects of the app

External Services

One of the biggest features of this application is the ability to connect the application with external time tracking services. These web apps allow one to collaborate on time tracking and project management with a team. The services include well known apps, everything from Basecamp (Classic) to Freckle, and Toggl to Harvest.

Each service is available as a Mac App Store In-App Purchase for $4.99, or every service in their book for $14.99. This is the first time that I’ve seen a Mac app from the Mac App Store support in-app purchasing. The process of buying a time tracking service within the app is very similar to the way you would buy an in app upgrade or extra in the iOS world.

After clicking the buy button, the app presents you with a dialog from the App Store app and confirms your purchase, followed by the iTunes/Mac App Store login screen. After your credentials are entered the app unlocks the extra service.

Buy additional web services through the app's in-app purchase preference pane

Should you need to delete or reinstall the application, you can access the Restore In-App Purchases option from the Eon menu to recover previous in-app purchases, just like in iOS.

Eon does a good job of making a clear difference between offline and online projects, where online projects are connected with a web service as well as a project within that web service.

Small Touches

The ability to set up rounding rules for the recorded time is great. You can set it up to round to the nearest, lowest or highest interval of time, be that a quarter of an hour, full hour, or even minute. There is even the ability to set up automatic rounding rules before posting times to web services. These settings are all available via Eon’s preferences.

Also in the preferences is the ability to disable the in-app sounds, set a global hotkey for toggling on the timer or presenting the project switcher search menu. (I did have to perform a reboot before the global hotkeys took effect.) The project switcher worked well for all projects that were linked to web services, but the timers that were associated with local projects did not appear in the search.

Eon's main preference window

Missing Features

The app hails itself as a simple time tracking utility, so as you’d expect there is no built in function for invoicing. There is an option for exporting the log of when you enabled and disabled the timing. Finally, there is a lack of simultaneous timers. You are limited to just one active timer at a time. While this might seem silly to some, it’s a dealbreaker for others.

Wrap Up

Eon has a beautiful interface that makes logging time effortless, and it features desktop level integration with a number of great web services. If you’re using one of these services for your freelance work, or to track time as a team, then I’d really encourage you to give Eon 2 a try.

If you’re looking for a more fully featured timer plus invoicing application, I’d look towards Billings, OnTheJob or Harvest’s new Mac app.

What are your thoughts on Eon 2? Is it an app that you’d want use on a daily basis to track time or do you use something else? Leave a comment and let us know!


Summary

A simple time tracking utility that features integration with a number of third party time tracking services. Eon's strength is in its ease of use, but if you require invoicing and multiple simultaneous timers, you'll need to look elsewhere.

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  • Fernando

    I love Fuel Collective apps but they went crazy for some time with the price and some changes of its applications such as Kousek (formerly Snippet). It seems that they put the long teeth with the Mac App Store.

  • Denis Rojcyk

    I don’t mind spending money on useful Apps. But 20$ for far-from-complete-app? (In-app purchases) No thank you.

  • http://netquity.com Ronald Chan

    I would buy this if it had JIRA integration but unfortunately they do not. JIRA has a marketplace and plenty of plug-ins. I think Fuel Collective would have a market in this area.

  • http://www.desktime.com Julia

    It’s interesting that they offer integration with other time-tracking functions for an additional fee.

    DeskTime, however, does the time tracking and project tracking all in one. A tad easier to manage, and considerably cheaper.

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