Archive 7

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Archive 7

Postby Mike » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:05 am

Archive 7 is now available. The SuperCard-created upgrade includes a new progress bar during catalog, improved speed when browsing and searching, a new advanced search window, improved list navigation with mouse, trackpad and arrow key support, and more!  But this is no ordinary release for YENCO.COM.

This release marks the start of a new way for me to sell software. Archive 7 is my first product available exclusively on the Mac App Store. While this means that the new software can no longer be downloaded for free and tried before purchase, it does free users from having to worry about registration codes for my apps.  Due to the greater visibility the Mac App Store affords my products, I am able to introduce Archive 7 at a new low price that is less than the price registered users would have paid for the upgrade in the past.

Archive 7 catalogs the content of your removable media and devices such as CDs, DVDs, Flash Memory Drives, HDs, etc. so you can quickly find the information you are looking for even when those devices are no longer connected to your Mac

For more information please visit:
http://www.yenco.com/archive
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Re: Archive 7

Postby sctell » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:23 am

Hi Mike,

I thought I'd read recently a post from Scott saying that at the moment SC apps would not be allowed on the app store?

Does that mean you have made modifications to the standard application built by SC?

In the same thread it was Lisa I think who noted the Solutions app already on the app store.

Scott did not reply to her question?

Is there another version of SC or modifications that have allowed your app and Solutions app to make it onto the app store?

All the best and good luck (hope you make lots of $$)

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Re: Archive 7

Postby Mike » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:11 pm

Hi Terry,

You are correct that, at the moment, SuperCard-based apps built with Standalone Maker would not be allowed on the Mac App Store as they do break some of the rules and would be rejected. Scott helped me get around that though I can not comment more at this time. I'm sure Scott will elucidate further when he is ready.

For my part I will say there are certain modifications I needed to make in my projects which anyone can make at this moment with SuperCard:

If you are doing anything with shareware registration codes, trial times, checking for software updates... make a copy of your project and get rid of all that... Apple won't allow it. (But you might hold on to the original project file just in case you are not able to get it on the Mac App Store).

Make sure you are not creating or writing to the application bundle path when you create an app in Standalone Maker. If you need to store some data, use the findFolder external to get the path to the application support folder or documents and put it there or grab Alec's Preferences external and write the data there if applicable.

Select your SuperCard project in the Finder and Get Info. Lock the file. Now try running it with SuperCard. If something is not working right in your scripts when you do so, make a note of what seems to be going wrong and quit, unlock your project and open it up in SuperCard or SuperEdit and make the appropriate changes in your scripts. Repeat as necessary until everything is working the way you intend.

By itself, the above will not get you to a Mac App Store-ready app as things stand right now BUT, it will make things go a LOT easier. So I hope this helps as it is the best information I can provide at this moment.

And... thanks for the well wishes for Archive 7.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby vinnie-bob » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:29 am

Well, congrats, Mike. This is a very interesting development, especially since Rev has had something like this goin' for a while. I know you are not at liberty to speak, but this post does entice me to speculate. But since nobody will be able to comment reliably on this speculation, I will keep it to myself...until some future date, when we all can speak freely. ;-)
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Scott » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:31 pm

vinnie-bob wrote:this post does entice me to speculate. But since nobody will be able to comment reliably on this speculation, I will keep it to myself...until some future date, when we all can speak freely. ;-)


Well, let's see… where to start. I have to be careful here as it has been almost a year since I've read Apple's non-disclosure terms, so I will tread lightly.

Shortly after the MAS debut, I went to work on a product that would allow SuperCard developers to get their apps into the app store. With some truly magical code from Mark, I was able to build a "proof of concept" app that was accepted to the MAS (Approach Stats). I then went on to design a "point and click" tool that would make this a no-brainer for SuperCarders. In fact, there are now three apps in the MAS built using SuperCard.

So why isn't this tool available for sale? Because, at the time it was ready to ship, we came across information about sandboxing soon to be a requirement for the MAS and frankly, we are not exactly sure how this will impact SuperCard authored apps in the not too distant future.

It is, and will probably continue to be (much like many of Apple's restrictions), a moving target. In fact, I had to go back to the drawing board between the time Approach Stats and Make A Face were approved, to when Mike was ready to submit Archive 7, due to additional security concerns in the review process.

SuperCard is clearly capable of playing outside the sandbox, and it is not clear at this point whether the review process will be based strictly on what the submitted app does, or rather what the underlying engine is capable of. I was simply not comfortable taking your money with that unknown.

I hinted at the MAS in another thread here:
Currently SuperCard apps would not be allowed in the MAS, but we are looking to change that if there is enough interest.

There wasn't exactly a crowd beating a path to my door. (c;

With that said, if there are those of you interested in getting your app into the MAS now, and are willing to roll the dice with us on seeing what complications future sandbox restrictions may bring come this Spring, speak up.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby vinnie-bob » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:24 pm

well, the whole sandboxing thing sounds somewhat twitchy. There will be many apps which might be fairly drastically impacted by this. And if sandboxing is for the protection of users, how effective will that be if you are forced to get apps outside the app store which do certain things? And as far as innovative cutting edge stuff, like Siri -- looks like Apple is reserving that kind of system-wide access for itself. I'm not really liking the sound of this.

As far as beating a path to your door, Scott, mostly I use SC for small projects which are "personal use" limited scope things. I really don't have the time to do a lot of development work, never mind adding all the extra scripting needed to keep general users from doing stupid stuff. But, if I were to come up with a nice little utility which was fairly easy to make bullet proof, I'd consider selling it on MAS for a few bucks.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby drpitcairn » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:32 pm

FWIW, speaking as an amateur that has not sold software but is working on an endless project that may one day be ready for sale, it just seems too difficult and intimidating to consider trying to meet these shifting guidelines. Maybe if it somehow settles out to rules that can be met without too much trouble it would be worth it.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Scott » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:33 pm

vinnie-bob wrote:well, the whole sandboxing thing sounds somewhat twitchy. There will be many apps which might be fairly drastically impacted by this. And if sandboxing is for the protection of users, how effective will that be if you are forced to get apps outside the app store which do certain things? And as far as innovative cutting edge stuff, like Siri -- looks like Apple is reserving that kind of system-wide access for itself. I'm not really liking the sound of this.

Neither do I. I have already lost one of my favorite utilities due to Lion; WireTap. And due to future apps being sandboxed, they currently do not have an answer for this. The coolest thing about Mac has always been the OS wide, inter-application communication that is AppleScript/Events. A serious shame if that goes away. But hell, it ain't in iOS, and Apple is making billions from the sale of those heavily sandboxed devices. The big question is, will the Mac eventually succumb to the same, totally closed, ecosystem?
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Dave_Higgins » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:51 pm

Scott wrote:The big question is, will the Mac eventually succumb to the same, totally closed, ecosystem?

Jeez... I really, really hope not.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Mike » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:15 am

drpitcairn wrote:seems too difficult and intimidating to consider trying to meet these shifting guidelines. Maybe if it somehow settles out to rules that can be met without too much trouble it would be worth it.


It honestly has not been THAT bad. I had the misfortune to be right in the middle of working on major upgrades to my Framework project and all my apps when Scott first asked me if I had anything ready to try submitting to the Mac App Store. The delay in getting my apps submitted has had far more to do with that upgrade workload than anything related to the Mac App Store has. That isn't to say I didn't have some frustration with the process after I finally got Archive 7 finished up:

1. My Framework project (and by extension all my projects built on top of it) uses a shell script to enable the users of my apps to optionally encrypt & decrypt their data with a password. Apple lawyers are insistent that this requires going to a U.S. government agency online and getting an ERN (Export Reg Number -- or something like that) even though the government didn't seem to think it was necessary given how I'm only accessing encryption within Mac OS X. The process took a week or two and was filled with a LOT of legal documentation to go through that had my head spinning, but I finally managed to get the ERN. But the good news is: if your project doesn't do anything with encryption/decryption you don't have to worry about that at all.

2. I was doing a few things that caused problems during the Archive 7 review that caused some rejections. As with anything new there is something of a learning curve and while I had a general notion of "not writing/modifying files in certain locations" in the App Store rules... I missed some spots. Once Scott (and to some degree Apple) pointed out to me where I was going wrong and Scott shared the same tips I suggested in my previous message... it was pretty simple to go through my projects and correct the issues. And now that I have that knowledge it makes it all the easier going forward with future app submissions.

3. Yes, Apple does shift around... But what is new with this? We deal with it all the time. Apple breaks something in SuperCard that requires an update to correct (the recent "Lion" compatibility upgrades) and perhaps a few minor script changes. Before that it was other versions of the OS that broke things or the switch from PowerPC to Intel chips, or go back far enough and it was a switch from Motorola 680x0 chips to PowerPC. Things are ALWAYS going to be in flux to some degree or another. It isn't worth waiting for things to "settle", because if you do that you'll never get to release anything.

Finally I do have to say when Scott describes the "point and click" tool using some truly magical code from Mark... he isn't kidding. When he says "make this a no-brainer for SuperCarders" he is not exaggerating in the least. And that gives me a lot of confidence. On my own, submitting something to the Mac App Store might have seemed more difficult or intimidating... but between this tool and knowing that Scott and Mark were there to help if anything went wrong made this a challenge that I felt confident I could overcome. This is much the same way I feel about SuperCard. On my own, creating an app would be difficult or intimidating... but then there is SuperCard and Scott and Mark's continued commitment to supporting and enhancing it and here I am writing several apps.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby LorenzT » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:40 am

Select your SuperCard project in the Finder and Get Info. Lock the file. Now try running it with SuperCard. If something is not working right in your scripts when you do so, make a note of what seems to be going wrong and quit, unlock your project and open it up in SuperCard or SuperEdit and make the appropriate changes in your scripts. Repeat as necessary until everything is working the way you intend.


By locking the file no data entered in the project file or any other changes will we saved. Does this mean that we have to find other ways to save changes. How? What would be the best approach? Build a startup project and write an unlocked project to be used by the user as data file? Or did I miss something here?
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Scott » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:12 am

You can't store ANY data in the bundle you expect will be changed. The bundle is code signed and changing one byte will be detected and no MAS for you.

However there are a number of ways to comply:

1.) Store your data elsewhere and only load it into the project for display.

2.) Have the data project in your bundle's resources, and copy it to the users folder on launch.

Actually, Approach Stats uses both of these methods. The interface is a project that is copied to the users /Library/Application Support/ folder, and the scorecard data is saved to a SQLite database at the same location. I chose SQLite as it made it simpler to sort, filter, and crunch the data. It also made it a no brainer to update the project in subsequent versions without having to export data out of the existing project.

The app looks for these files at launch and if they are not their, template files from the bundle resources are copied to this location.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Mike » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:03 am

LorenzT wrote:
By locking the file no data entered in the project file or any other changes will we saved. Does this mean that we have to find other ways to save changes. How? What would be the best approach? Build a startup project and write an unlocked project to be used by the user as data file? Or did I miss something here?


See Scott's answer. I just thought I would chime in here with what I'm doing in Archive 7.

All the catalog data is saved to a SQLite database file (using Alec's SQLite external) which I put (by default) into the user's library Application Support folder in a folder named after my app. (The default path to the App Support folder is acquired using the FindFolder external in Xtend).

All user preference changes are written out to the com.yenco.Archive.plist file (using Alec's Preferences external).

I'm also creating a log of various checkpoints and error messages in my scripts in case the user ever has a problem with my app they can send that with the bug report and it might help me to determine where exactly things are going wrong or at least the general vicinity. This was something I had been storing in the App Bundle, but now I'm using FindFolder to grab the temp folder directory and stick it there (making sure to delete it when the app is quit so the user doesn't see it showing up as "Recovered Items" in the trash when they restart).

Also have to point out that I had to move some user properties that are "written to" around in my project for things to work right. For example, if you have a user property on a card and you leave that card... with the project in lockdown when you return to that card the data is no longer there... but, if that user property is moved to the window and you move from one card to another and back... that data is still held on to for as long as that window is open. This was a relatively minor adjustment to make once I understood how this works (and using the awesome project search utility in SuperCard to quickly locate all areas where I was calling particular user properties to change the location in the scripts).

I also want to note that (apart from the user properties) I've been doing this for a while now in all my apps so this wasn't a big deal for me. When I started using SuperCard I rather quickly figured out that if I wanted to "update" or "upgrade" anything in my interface without dealing with migrating data for other users I would have to store data remotely and flow it into my interface vs. directly storing the data. At first I used remote project files, but then there were times that project files had to be "updated" to support new OS or hardware changes along the way (or even major changes in SuperCard) so I opted for the stable text file instead with delimiter ASCII characters the user couldn't type. That worked rather well and I was using that up until Archive 5.8 or so... but the searching of that wasn't the best so I moved to SQLite (thanks to Alec's external) starting in Archive 6 and also started putting preferences in the .plist file instead of a text file within the preferences folder.

I personally think the combo of using SQLite and Preferences is the best approach... but it really comes down to your own preference and what sort of data you need to store and what you need to do with that data.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby HairyHighlandCow » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:06 am

Hi,
I am potentially interested in getting PreMinder in the Mac App store at some future point. However, it is a large and complex app and from reading some of Mike's points it looks like I would have to do quite a lot of work to get it obeying all of Apple's rules. I have spent a few months adding syncing features but have not had much increased interest in my app. I am not currently ready to devote more time to getting it MAS ready only to find the increased exposure doesn't actually cause a decent increase in sales.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Mike » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:25 pm

HairyHighlandCow wrote:I am not currently ready to devote more time to getting it MAS ready only to find the increased exposure doesn't actually cause a decent increase in sales.


Alec it is too early for me to say with Archive 7 since it has only been available for 3.5 days. I am getting sales (and the list of countries is growing... Belgium, USA, Canada, Portugal, Australia, UK, Spain & France) but I don't have enough data yet and what I do have isn't standing out as "Wow, this is so much better than when I was selling my apps as shareware". I am seeing some positive signs as sales have been consistently growing day over day since the release, but again, it is too early in the process to rely on just projecting that trend out. And of course, another factor is that Archive is not as general purpose as my other products.

Now when I get Finance 7 released (currently waiting for Review) it will be interesting to see how that does in comparison with the early days of Archive 7 on the Mac App Store (and also next year when I hope to get iKeeper and Agenda finished up).

With shareware releases I typically saw a rush of downloads of my apps on the very first days -- in a couple cases even pushing my bandwidth limits at YENCO.COM and necessitating me to make special arrangements with MacConnect. But downloads for free evaluation did not equal sales... and how long it took sales to come in after those downloads and how many sales it resulted in eventually was a bit more variable. It might very well be that a gradual build-up of consistent sales day over day is what to expect with a Mac App Store release. The real test will be when I finally have at least a month worth of sales data to compare unless the current building trend actually does continue as it is now or there is a sudden spike in sales, in which case an advantage might become apparent sooner.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby 1nperson0z » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:19 pm

Hi Scott,

I hinted at the MAS in another thread here:
Currently SuperCard apps would not be allowed in the MAS, but we are looking to change that if there is enough interest.

There wasn't exactly a crowd beating a path to my door. (c;

Looks like you missed this one too... ;)

Scott wrote:
Currently SuperCard apps would not be allowed in the MAS, but we are looking to change that if there is enough interest.

Up until now I'd assumed the technical issues excluded that possibility, but now you've opened the door just a little, I'm interested. What is required to get SC apps on the MAS?

Ian B


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Re: Archive 7

Postby Scott » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:14 pm

So I guess three really is a crowd. :D
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Re: Archive 7

Postby LorenzT » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:56 pm

Thanks Scott and Mike for the clarifications. So I guess we have to spawn data or satellite projects that can be altered from an unchangeable main project. This seems to be essential for graphics oriented projects since it isn't a simple task to store graphics in a data file, although it can be done.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby johnjohnston1 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:51 am

Scott wrote:So I guess three really is a crowd. :D


hi Scott,
I've noticed a few really simple apps in the App store. I've probably got something equivalent I could knock about a bit and try to submit as freeware just to see how the process works. Would be in the new year.

cheers

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Re: Archive 7

Postby Scott » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:55 am

johnjohnston1 wrote:I've probably got something equivalent I could knock about a bit and try to submit as freeware just to see how the process works.

Thanks John, but to be clear, this is not something we are looking to give away. We have put a lot of work into it and that will most likely increase exponentially when the sandboxing issues get here.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby johnjohnston1 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:52 am

Scott wrote:
johnjohnston1 wrote:I've probably got something equivalent I could knock about a bit and try to submit as freeware just to see how the process works.

Thanks John, but to be clear, this is not something we are looking to give away. We have put a lot of work into it and that will most likely increase exponentially when the sandboxing issues get here.


Hi Scott,
sorry, from:
With that said, if there are those of you interested in getting your app into the MAS now, and are willing to roll the dice with us on seeing what complications future sandbox restrictions may bring come this Spring, speak up.

I though you were looking for testers. I've got nothing I'd be able to sell.

cheers

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Re: Archive 7

Postby sctell » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:11 pm

Scott wrote:Thanks John, but to be clear, this is not something we are looking to give away.


So I can understand correctly will this be a programme that just makes it easier to convert an app for the app store or something that will be essential and without it you could not upload to the app store?

All the best

Terry
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Dan_Kelleher » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:02 pm

Congratulations Mike!
I'm an early customer and you are a pioneer!
A SuperCard Pioneer!
Pioneers take their licks in stride.
As Streisand says (to the contrary of the consensus), "I say Do!"
Thank you Mike,
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I'll provide feedback as time avails.

Like Ian, and I'm sure many others (@Scott and Mark) I'm very interested.
The use of one platform can surely be utilized to enhance the use of others we need to protect.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby Dan_Kelleher » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:04 pm

I believe all our ideas are evolving and this has influenced the path of that evolution.
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Re: Archive 7

Postby vinnie-bob » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:32 am

Well, just for future "pricing consideration", there's this:

http://www.bluecolin.com/rbpms/index.html

If it isn't going to be wrapped into the functionality of the developer edition of SC, at least make it cheap. Or reasonable. One or the other. ;-)
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