Both of these applications [Plotbot and PearBudget] do something fairly remarkable: they take big-picture tasks (screenwriting and budgeting, respectively) that would quickly sprawl out into feature-creeping nightmares if they were developed on the desktop, apply the Unix Philosophy, and end up with very sleek, highly targeted applications. I like to think of them as the command line toolset of the web. They operate in very tight boxes, but they chain together well.
This opens these applications up to criticism of not being robust enough, but also recognizes a staunch reality of the web as a platform–namely users tend to be nomadic and judgmental. You have to hook them fast and hook them deep. They have zero patience for nested menus. The best way to accomplish this is to aim for 80-90% of the use cases and absolutely nail them, to the exclusion of the rest.
PearBudget does the same thing for household budgeting. Any desktop tool attempting to tackle this problem would quickly get bogged down in a mess of features and preferences covering everything from infrequent pay checks to annual billing. PearBudget completely ignores that 10% of cases and instead provides a truly elegant experience for planning a single-family, regular income, normalized bill cycle budget. It wouldn’t work for Bill Gates, but it works awfully well for me.
Thanks for the review! Our usual description of what we do is “the 1% of Quicken that everybody needs.” We’re glad you appreciate it!