Smart App Banner review

As part of a wider discussion about “How to Monetize Your WordPress Web App,” mention — and seem quite happy with — my Smart App Banner WordPress plugin. Follow the link to read more about it.

While I’m talking about it, it’s worth noting that it looks as though it’s the most downloaded Smart App Banner plugin in the WordPress Plugin Directory. This, and the generous donations from some users, makes me very happy.


Rootn Tootn – a baby timer app without the cliched pinks and blues

A press release announcing the launch of Rootn Tootn went out today via PrMac:

London, United Kingdom – Wandle Software Limited is pleased to announce the birth of its latest app, Rootn Tootn, a quick and effective way to remind you when your baby needs feeding or changing – or as we like to say, your baby is rooting and tooting.

Especially in the first few weeks when you’re feeding around the clock, it’s easy to lose track of what needs to happen and when. The last thing you want is an app that insists on endless details just to get started. Rootn Tootn just has a single button to start or stop a timer. It automatically records all the details for your reference and sets a reminder for the next time. You can add notes if you like.

You can add as many reminders as you want and there are three different types. One records the duration of an event (feeding for example), one is a point in time (changing a diaper/nappy) and one is a left/right side reminder. Check out the blog for stories of how other people use them.

In addition to customising the timers and reminders, you can personalise how it looks by adding your own picture to the background. We think that Rootn Tootn offers a great balance between simplicity and features that you’ll use. Created using feedback from nursing mothers, we are confident that you’ll love it too.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, 3/4G iPod touch and iPad
* Requires iOS 5.0 or later
* 1.4 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Rootn Tootn 1.0 is $1.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Health & Fitness category. Promo codes are available on request.

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I don’t often draw attention to specific reviews either in iTunes or elsewhere on the Internet but recently I found a couple that are interesting for different reasons that I thought might be interesting to post.

First, from Fumi2008 in the UK App Store:

“Been a long time user of this. Many other clients seemed to have fallen by the way side. Nice update. Most of all, thanks for keeping this application moving.”

It’s always nice to have happy users but that’s not what I want to draw to your attention here. It’s the fact that Yummy has been actively updated since it’s initial release in 2008, with an average of just over a hundred days between major releases. Some releases have been bigger than others but they’ve all, I think, had useful new features. I can’t promise to keep up that schedule for ever (indeed some of the remaining feature requests are pretty hard!) but I can say that Yummy is an application that I use myself every day, so I have every incentive to keep it both working and functional.

Second, from frinkle in the UK App Store:

“Yummy keeps interrupting my reading with dialogues about downloading. Then it either exits the page or reloads. Both annoying. Instapaper is much easier to use.”

The “dialogue about downloading” is, I assume, the Memory Warning that I wrote about in February 2009. I’ll be honest here. I have never like the memory warning; I didn’t really want to include it. As I said:

This is one of those rare cases where I’ve had to let some of the underlying technical details show through. It’s not ideal but I thought it better that you know what’s going on rather than just allow it to exit without warning.

However, February 2009 was when the iPhone 3G was the latest and greatest. Since then there have been two phones (and one iPad), both of which have more memory, and I’ve made optimisations and bug fixes in Yummy such that I am no longer convinced that Yummy quitting because of a lack of memory is going to happen regularly.

Therefore I have removed the warning from the version of Yummy (2.5.1) that I have just submitted to Apple for review. I’ll be monitoring the crash logs, though, just in case I’m wrong.

As to the second point about Instapaper, well, I don’t think that Yummy performs the same tasks as Instapaper. I think both apps follow the same design philosophy to a certain extent — wait for the next paragraph — but I certainly think that there’s room on your iPhone for both apps.

The final review I want to mention is by i-5-m in the UK App Store:

“It’s not beautiful, but it is functional.”

I want to mention this because… it’s true. Many people associate “polish” with flash animations and custom graphics. I don’t. These visuals do appear to be neat when you first launch it but they quickly get in the way. I want to put your bookmarks front and centre. I think by being functional and using Apple’s standard UI components (almost) exclusively I am advancing that aim.

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Bookmark Sync and Yummy

After a hard couple of days it was nice to stumble across this discussion of synchronising bookmarks between computers, which includes a discussion of Yummy:

“Instead, I chose Yummy. There are free and pro versions of Yummy, but even the free version (called Yummy Browser) has more features and a better user interface than most paid alternatives. I was so impressed by the free version that I purchased the $1.99 pro version, which costs less (in some cases, much less) than most of its competitors. Both versions allow you to access your bookmarks and open them in Mobile Safari. The pro version adds a built-in browser, editing features, and support for InstaPaper and Read It Later, and comes with a handy Mobile Safari bookmarklet.”

 I couldn’t have put it better myself!

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Shiny iPhone Review

It’s always nice to get a good review, even more so when it’s unsolicited and unexpected! Thanks to Justin at Shiny iPhone.

reviews trivia

Another review

Congratulations to the guys at Apps Addicts for launching their new iPhone application site. A review of Yummy was some of the content available. It’s mainly positive but I’m not sure they entirely got the point of!

It seems to be ideally designed for bookmark pack rats: those who bookmark a ton of links and then sort through them later. If this describes you, then this app might help you stay organized while you’re on the go.

That’s exactly what Yummy, and itself, is for.

It seems that they didn’t let Yummy download all their bookmarks, as it kept asking for their password. I wrote about this back in June. (The next version of Yummy will download all your bookmarks before letting you into the rest of the application to prevent this kind of confusion.)

reviews support

App Store Reviews — Help!

Reviews are an important part of the iPhone App Store. Since there is no way to download trial versions of software (other than with ‘lite’ versions), reviews are the only way to see what other people think without Googling or asking knowledgeable friends.

What they are not, however, is a good way to complain about bugs or mis-features. This, for example, is a review for Yummy Browser found in the New Zealand store:

Don’t like having to add password everytime app is open. Frustrating. Otherwise app is good but password thing is a bit of a deal breaker

Let me be clear here: I have no problem with people giving an honest review. If the author didn’t like it, that’s fine.

No, the problem is twofold. First, developers have no official way of reading reviews in all the various App Stores without actually going and visiting them. With dozens of stores where applications are for sale, this quickly becomes a very painful process and therefore one I do infrequently. The practical result of this is that the above review was posted nearly a month ago and I only noticed it yesterday. I prefer to provide much better support than this.

Secondly, this is not how Yummy (or Yummy Browser) is supposed to behave. What should happen is that it should ask once for your password and then again only if the saved password is invalid (i.e., you changed it). You may also get the login screen if it didn’t finish synchronising.

So it could be a bug or a misunderstanding of how Yummy is supposed to work. But the review system in the App Store gives me no way to correspond with the reviewer or reply to him. I can’t ask exactly what the problem is and without that I can’t fix it or document it better.

So, I have two requests for users of both Yummy and Yummy Browser.

First, if you have a problem with (or suggestion for) it, please use either the “Web feedback” or “Mail feedback” buttons in the About screen. (In general, the former is best for feature requests, the latter for bug reports.) This will enable us to have a direct dialogue if necessary. By all means post a review, but please don’t only post a review.

Secondly, if you see the same behaviour as described above please let me know. This is something that I would like to get to the bottom of if it is a real problem.

And finally, at the risk of appearing as if I can’t count, if you like Yummy please add a review to the App Store!

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Apple App Review

Apple App Review have posted a pretty thorough run-through of Yummy on YouTube:

They cover pretty much all the important functionality. In fact about the only thing that they didn’t cover is the web preview, the tag view and the search functionality.

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Review from AppVee

AppVee today published a nice review of Yummy. I confess that I’ve been on tenterhooks all weekend since Bryan Barletta let me know that the review was forthcoming!

It’s worth clicking through to the full post, but if you’re inpatient you’ll want to know that Yummy gets four stars and the following conclusion:

If you’re looking for a way to get your bookmarks all in one place, this is definitely an app you should check out.

And the neat YouTube clip make me wish that I had a video camera! I thought my little screen capture was pretty good, but it’s better to see it running on a real iPhone.