Archive for December 4, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Right Way to Ask Users to Review Your App

Matt Galligan:

Asking for a rating is binary. Users will either rate your app, or they won’t. But the rating itself is not binary — they may still rate your app poorly, such as if they’re annoyed by being asked.

By adding a question into the equation you can actually get valuable feedback from users that aren’t enjoying the app. Tapping “not really” presents our readers with a different question, specifically requesting their feedback. “Yes” will separately lead them to an ask for a rating.

Marco Arment:

Only asking for ratings from people who first claim to like you feels a bit like ratings manipulation.


Overcast barely “asks” for reviews at all — it simply includes this section in the Settings screen, and not even on top.

Thwarting Twitter’s Upcoming Data Collection

Josh Centers:

But with Twitter’s recent announcement of App Graph, another explanation for the company’s desire to dominate the user experience has appeared: Twitter wants to collect personal information from your devices. App Graph will use the official Twitter app to gather the list of apps installed on your iOS devices and send that list back to Twitter. (It seems to do this by scanning a list of x-callback-urls — a method of inter-app communications developed before iOS 8’s Extensibility functions.)

Fortunately, it won’t (yet) gather any information from the apps themselves, and the “feature” will be easy to disable. The Twitter app respects the Limit Ad Tracking setting in Settings > Privacy > Advertising, and will not gather app information if that setting is enabled.

I only have the official Twitter app installed for login verification. I wish I could uninstall it completely because the bug where it always shows notification badges in the icon.

Script Debugger’s 20th Anniversary

Mark Alldritt:

Interestingly, Script Debugger 1 may never have been a product. I was very uncertain about how to market and sell what was really a $129 piece of shareware. BBEdit was the only model of how this could be done by an independent developer. Remember, the Internet was not as it is today. Software was shrink wrapped in boxes containing floppy disks and printed manuals. It took serious cash to produce product. I had 2000 copies made at a cost of CDN$20,000 (1994 $s). The packing boxes filled an entire room in my basement. Software was sold through mail order outlets (MacTech, Apple’s Developer Central, and others) and trade shows like MacWorld and WWDC. The Mac had no presence in computer stores at that time.


After Script Debugger 2 was released, Apple had its near death experience and our business simply stopped (literally went to zero) in the space of 3 weeks.

During the period that followed, we developed an Adobe Illustrator plugin that made Illustrator scriptable from the Mac with AppleScript and from Windows with Visual Basic. Adobe later purchased this code from us and this went on to form the genesis for the scriptability found in Illustrator, PhotoShop and Acrobat.

A great application that I use nearly every day.

Update (2014-12-05): Mark Alldritt:

I see Script Debugger as a tool that makes professional developers money by saving them a lot of time. Those that really need Script Debugger know it and would pay much more because of this simple equation. In fact, if I had more courage I would raise the price even further.

The problem with the make-it-up-on-volume model is that the market for AppleScript tools (development tools in general) is very small and fragmented. I don’t believe that simply lowering the price by 3/4 on its own would generate 4x+ sales volume because I don’t think 4x+ customers ready to buy at $50 exist. I would have to market more to reach those customers that do exist and that costs. I would have to become involved in justifying and marketing AppleScript (as I once was) to create new customers which costs. Then there are the added costs of supporting a 4x+ user community. And finally, it lowers the perceived value of my software. I have developed many spreadsheets trying to model this over the years.


As for maximizing profit, no. I’ve made a living over the years from Script Debugger, but its a base-hit at best. It makes enough money to keep me working on it, but not enough for me to retire or even hire any help. I could have earned more money from consulting but I enjoy being an indie developer and accept the financial consequences.

Apple Continues War on Notification Center Widgets

Juli Clover:

Apple is continuing to sort out its nebulous policies on Notification Center widgets, and has today told Drafts developer Agile Tortoise that the app’s widget is not allowed to be used to create drafts or open the Drafts app.

In a tweet, developer Greg Pierce says that he’s been asked to re-submit Drafts without functionality for opening the app or creating a new note, which essentially removes all of the features of the Notification Center Widget.


Pierce, however, says that he’s been told that the Today view in the Notification Center is “for information presentation only,” a point of view that would rule out nearly all Notification Center apps. As Pierce points out, there are several similar apps that offer the exact same widget function as Drafts, such as Evernote, which also allows users to launch the Evernote app and new notes and other content from within the Notification Center.

Via Nick Heer:

It’s not like Agile Tortoise took a big risk by putting a shortcut button in Notification Centre; there were plenty of apps already in the Store that had similar functionality before Drafts 4 was released. Yet it’s the one that’s being restricted over two months after its release for a rule that doesn’t even exist.

How to Change the Font in Messages in Yosemite

Adam C. Engst:

Some research revealed a trick to bring back some, but not all, of Messages’ previous configurability. It turns out that if you select Reduce Transparency in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display and then relaunch Messages, the Text Size slider is swapped for a pop-up menu that lets you choose from the Default (which I think is the system’s Helvetica 13), Optima 12, Palatino 12, and Other. Optima 12 and Palatino 12 are holdovers; they’re default options in the equivalent My Font/Sender’s Font pop-up menus in Mavericks.

Choose Other and you can use the standard Fonts panel to pick any combination of font family, typeface, and size you want. Your selections apply both to your bubbles and those from your correspondents.