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November 19 2012

Mmmmm, Fresh Pancakes!

Since Pancake was a wee single file built to collect on an extremely overdue account, its focus has always been to get things done. Over the years you've provided some wonderful feedback, yelled at us a time or two, and told your friends how much you adore the product. As a result Pancake has grown into a fantastic tool for getting things done.

Well, we're growing again, and this time it's a huge growth spurt. Without further ado, we present to you: Version 4.0!

V4 is almost a complete ground up-rewrite that brings in a solid set of improvements and tools to make your life easier. We'll touch on five of them today, and because the list of new features and improvements is so huge, we'll share some more of them throughout the week.

Project Templates

We're creatures of habit, so why not make our routines more efficient? With this release we've made it easy to save a project and all its tasks as a template you can use when creating a new project. These templates carry over user assignments, notes and other data, greatly simplifying the process of getting a new project up and running!

Improved Project Management

We've improved the project view so you can see critical project information at a glance. You can now create and sort tasks by custom task statuses so you know exactly where your project stands—no more guessing. You can also create sub-tasks under tasks, and even assign them to different users if desired. And by popular request, you can now archive completed projects to remove clutter from your Pancake dashboard.

Improved User Rights Management

We know that many of you sometimes work with contractors or other developers whom you don't want to have access to your sensitive project and business information. In V4 you can assign users to individual items, rather than just item types, so users only see exactly what you want them to.

The Sous Chef

The Sous Chef is a new feature that's essentially a personal assistant for your business. Like a real Sous Chef, it's there to prepare things for you and to help you stay on top of details such as what your employees are working on and which clients have overdue invoices (along with how to contact them about it). It also offers real-time notifications when clients view invoices and a few other goodies to help you better manage your business.

Pancake Update Channels

One of the biggest updates to happen to Pancake is the improved updater and the introduction of Pancake update channels. Until now we've had only one channel for pushing updates, which meant all fixes and updates we pushed, no matter how specialized, could potentially affect every Pancake user. Now we can make a custom update channel for a subset of users—or even a single user!—to resolve issues, verify the results and then merge those changes into the main update branch for everyone. It also means that we can now have beta channels, which we're extremely excited about and will be taking advantage of for this release.

So what does this mean for you?

Since Pancake launched in 2010 we've grown incrementally with each release from a simple invoice payment system to the full-blown suite of tools you see today. However, this will be Pancake's largest release to date by far. Make sure you are on the latest version of Pancake (3.6.8 at the time of writing) so that when V4 is released you'll be able to take advantage of the upgrade if you like.

How much will the upgrade cost?

Our goal with Pancake has always been to provide a solid set of features at a reasonable price to save you money and help you feed your family, and that has not changed. We released V3 in July 2011 as a free upgrade to V2 license holders. Due to the massive size of this upgrade, however, we'll be offering V4 for a small fee for current license holders. This fee is lower than the cost of a new license, though, because we want to look after those who have supported us. We truly appreciate all your support, and now it's our pleasure to reward you.

We're very excited about how far Pancake has come and where this update allows us to go. Again, the features described above are just a tiny sample of all V4 has to offer, so stay tuned for more details about the features in this amazing release!