Excellent Software Developmentfor Mac and iOS

Listing CounterThis is the number of all currently running eBay listings, created with GarageSale. This makes it the most popular eBay tool for Mac!
January 9th, 2011:

Mac App Store Q & A

Most of our apps are now available on Apple’s App Store for Mac. This has raised a number of questions, which we are trying to answer here:

Q: I purchased different applications from iwascoding in the past? Why does the App Store show some as “Installed” and others not?
A: That’s Apple’s secret. We have no idea what logic Apple uses to decide whether an application is “Installed” or not. We are hoping that updated version of Apple’s App Store will fix this confusing behavior.

Q: Can I use the App Store to update iwascoding products I purchased directly from you?
A: Right now that’s not possible. Even though the App Store might recognize one of our apps as installed, it won’t let you update it unless it was purchased through the App Store.

Q: Will you continue to sell your apps outside of the App Store?
A: Yes. Apple does not allow some of the features we are offering in the applications we are selling off the App Store, e.g. GarageSale’s built-in store for additional auction designs will only be available in the non-App Store version purchased directly from us.

Q: Will you continue to release updates for your applications on your website and the built-in update mechanism?
A: Yes. Apple needs some days to review updates before they are released through the App Store. We know that the businesses of some of our customers depend on our applications. That’s why it’s crucial for us to releases important updates fixing serious bugs or adapting to last-minute eBay changes as soon as possible.

December 15th, 2010:

GarageSale Dashboard Widget improved

Ever since Apple added Dashboard to Mac OS X in 2005, GarageSale has shipped with a Dashboard widget, that shows eBay sellers how their items are selling quickly.

While our widget worked pretty well in general, a few of its shortcomings that surfaced throughout the years made us start work on a complete rebuilt. Therefore we are introducing today version 5 of the GarageSale dashboard widget:

The GarageSale dashboard widget is now completely self contained and doesn’t require a separate background process anymore. It works for users who authorized their eBay account for use with either GarageSale or GarageSale Basic.

The new widget downloads your current selling status only when the Dashboard is invoked. This reduces your Mac’s CPU and network usage and will certainly make eBay’s API server team happy.

The widget is available for download on this page.

November 19th, 2010:

Free Image Uploads Temporary unavailable

Dear GarageSale Users,

because of a scheduled maintenance downtime, uploading new auction images to GarageSale’s Free Image Server will not be available for you during the following time period:

Australia (Sydney): 23.Nov, 9:00 a.m. – 23.Nov, 9:00 p.m.
Central Europe (Berlin): 22.Nov, 23:00 – 23.Nov, 11.00
USA (New York): 22.Nov, 5:00 p.m. – 23.Nov, 5:00 a.m.
USA (San Francisco): 22.Nov, 2:00 p.m. – 23.Nov, 2:00 a.m.

Auction images uploaded prior to that time period are not affected. These images will be served from a fail-over machine.

Our primary server’s hosting provider is moving its datacenter to a new building in a different city. We are using the opportunity to put additional hard drives into the server.

If you need to start auctions during the maintenance period, we suggest you configure GarageSale to use a different image hosting option or to perform the image upload prior to the downtime by submitting the auction to eBay using eBay’s scheduling option.

This temporary outage will effect GarageSale, GarageSale Basic, GarageSale HD on iPad, and GarageSale Touch on iPhone – but only if they are set to use GarageSale’s Free Image server for image storage.

We are sorry for any inconveniences this causes for you.

November 10th, 2010:

Design of the Month: iPad Theme

If you are selling iPads or iPad accessories with GarageSale, this month’s “Design of the Month” is for you:

The “iPad” theme requires our brand-new GarageSale 6.0.8.

It is available from GarageSale’s built in Design Store for 1.99 (USD/EUR) until next Monday (November, 15th). After that the auction design will be available for 3.99.

October 21st, 2010:

The Mac App Store – Apple vs. Developers

Since Apple announced the Mac App Store yesterday, there’s already been a lot of controversy. Here is how the announcement looks from our perspective of a small software vendor, who has shipped software for the Mac for more than a decade:

Round 1: It’s a monopoly

Since this will be the only portal for purchasing apps that comes pre-installed with your Mac, Apple has a def-facto monopoly over the distribution channel. It will be the place where the majority of users will look for an app first. As developer you cannot afford to ignore it. Otherwise your competitor will eat your lunch. If you want to stay in the business you have no other realistic option as to play by Apple’s rules.

Apple wins. (Apple: 1, Developer: 0)

Round 2: Apple’s fees

Apple takes a 30% cut from an app’s sales price. That’s a much higher than the 6-8% usually charged by software payment providers as Kagi, eSellerate, or FastSpring. And much, much higher than the ~3% you are paying when dealing with credit card companies directly, as some software vendors do.
What do you get for the premium Apple charges, except the exposure in their App Store, that you won’t get from the established payment providers? Almost nothing, as digital downloads or licensing mechanisms are offered by the established providers for free or a tiny surcharge.

Apple wins. Developer receives even score. (Apple: 2, Developer: +1 for exposure, -1 for fees)

Round 3: Loss of Customer Relationship

Apple does not disclose the customer information to the software vendor, making it difficult to identify existing customers. When the developer wants to release paid upgrade for its software, he is facing a dilemma: Apple does not offer a way for distributing paid upgrades and there’s no way to contact customers directly. How to resolve this? There seems to be no other way than releasing a new version of your application as separated product in the AppStore at the same price for everyone. Existing customers will be reluctant to purchase the new version, as they already paid in full. And I can’t blame them for that.

Developer loses. (Apple: 2, Developer: -1)

Round 4: Piracy

Since all apps are secured by the same copy-protection theme, I’m certain generic cracks will be available shortly after the release of the App Store. These cracks will unlock any app purchased from the App Store, so it can be distributed freely. And since the Mac is still an open platform, there is no jail-breaking required. The initial barrier of installing such a cracking toolkit will therefore be a lot lower than on iOS. And because prices in the Mac App Store will be a lot higher than on iOS, the temptation is a lot higher, too.

Developer loses. (Apple: 2, Developer: -2)

Round 5: Additional development and support cost

Most developers will offer two versions of their products: The one offered on the developer’s website including a built-in demo mode, which can be bought outside the AppStore for a reasonable processing fee, and the one in the App Store. Since Apple’s approval guidelines prevents developers from using anything else than the App Store itself for updating products purchased trough it, you have to implement two separate update mechanisms. You also have to explain to customers, why they can’t use the latest version from your website until Apple has approved the new version in the AppStore, too – if they approve at all.

Developer loses. (Apple: 2, Developer: -3)

Round 6: Approval process

In our experience, getting a new release of an iPhone app approved by Apple takes about a week. I doubt that this time span will shorten for Mac apps, since most Mac applications tend to be more complex than iOS applications.
If you do ship software, which companies run their businesses on, like us, you cannot afford a single day of downtime because of a broken feature. Software updates need to be in the hands of customers quickly, especially if you need to keep up with changes beyond your control, as we have to do with eBay’s constantly changing system. In the end, the customer doesn’t care why he is not receiving a critical update in time – he will cast the blame on you.

Developer loses. (Apple: 2, Developer: -4)

Wrapping up

The App Store might pay off for new developers, who don’t have an established business yet and develope a general purpose app or game selling for around USD 10.00. They are freed from building the infrastructure for distributing and selling their apps. I’m sure there will be a few early instant hits in that area – so it might be worth accelerating your development if you fall into it.
If you have an well-established app targeted at a small niche, live will become harder. You probably won’t see an increase in sales that compensates for Apple’s premium fees, as people in your niche are already well aware of your product.

After all our outlook is not very positive. If you see things differently, please let us know in the comments.