Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Show Stopper

Today, when I was working on getting some more screenshots for the website, I found out that a show stopper bug sliped away to the 1.1 release. Such bugs mean that the user won't be able to use a feature or even the program on some circunstance generic enough to affect most users.

In my case, the bug prevented the user from importing transactions of the previous period if there is a transfer transaction among them. I fixed the version and put an updated installation file on the website. Iy you are among the downloaders of Abassis between the 17th and the 19th of november, please download and install the program again, and accept my apologies.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

New Version: 1.1

We finally managed to ship version 1.1, it's now available on the website. Quite a lot of work was done on this version, to add new features and fix bugs. I'm very proud of the result, because Abassis is stable, fast, and now has features that I wanted since the first version.

I plan on focusing now on the ease of use. I want Abassis to be drop dead easy, as easy as a spreadsheet. To accomplish this, we need features like grid edit, where the user changes the transactions and payments without opening a properties window, and undo/redo, so the user is not afraid of making changes. These will be the new features for version 1.2.

I also made some changes to the website, focusing on people that are not sure of the utility of the program. We want to eliminate any doubt they may have of using a finance manager. I also wanted to change the "voice" of the website, making it more personal. There are more references for this blog now, and I clearly identify myself as the author of Abassis. At least now the users now in which direction to throw stones. :-)

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Friday, November 14, 2003

Do's and Don't's of Shareware

Reading a good material about Do's and Don't's of Shareware, I've found this great comment from a Macintosh shareware user:


Thank you for writing the Do's and Don't's of Shareware Part I. As a shareware buyer, may I submit some relevent Do's and Don't's
that I impose upon myself? If so, I'll get straight to them:

I will buy from a developer I can communicate with.
I prefer to buy from a Macintosh-Only or a Macintosh-First developer.
I will "skip upgrade" to avoid too-frequent upgrade fees.
I will buy from a developer who will make it easy for me to pay him.
I will buy from a developer who will describe his product in one sentence.
I will buy software that comes with good documentation.
I will recommend good software to other Mackers.
I will consider properly beta testing a product if I am invited to do so.
I will ask questions about a developer and his products before I buy.

I will not buy from a developer who demands payment only thru a 3rd party payment firm.
I will not endure convoluted steps and requirements to pay a developer.
I will not buy from a developer who has ever abandoned a product.*
I will not buy from a developer whose product does not work.
I will not have demos on my Mac. Give me an adequate product description and I'll buy, give me a demo or crippleware and you'll never hear from me.
I will not buy products that require troubleshooting.
I will not buy a product that requires a dongle.
I will think twice before buying from a developer who puts IBM first (ie. "Windows and Mac")
I will not buy a product with an installer that modifies my system files (ie. the Finder Prefs file)
I will not buy a product with a deceptive installer.
I will not buy a product that has been inadequately beta tested.
I will not knowingly buy from a dishonest or unethical developer.


* Regretably, Apple is the only exception since Apple abandoned Hypercard and Claris Emailer.

Hope this is useful to you.

Thanks,
Jack


Some good lessons for my software strategy. I've been thinking about changes on the website, to make it's voice less corporate and more personal. Abassis is a software made by me, basically. You can contact me anytime. Why make it look like there's some big company behind it? Of course I want to expand, and within time there may be more people working on Abassis, so the trouble is: how to make the site friendlier, and still professional.

But changes will be made, possibly this weekend. Stay tunned!

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Thursday, November 13, 2003

Roadmap

Someone mentioned a product to track bugs in software, Mantis. I was quite impressed about their roadmap, about having such a good vision on what features will be implemented in the product, and at what rate/priority.

This is useful for the developer and the users:
- the developer does not need to rush himself, he has the feeling inside that someday he will get there, and how will the product look like. Such confidence is rewarding by itself. It's like an artist working hard on a big piece of stone meanwhile having the vision of the statue he is sculpting
- the users become more confident of the software, as they know that it has a future designed, and can see if or when the features the software currently lacks will be implemented

I will work on a roadmap for Abassis until version 2.0, which is the version I plan to have a full fledged product for personal finance management and post it online as soon as possible.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Chart

I've finally managed to create two charts for Abassis. They are very crude because the component I used does not support advanced properties (but the price is right).

As Abassis grows and have users, I'm worried about making them lose any data. All basic functionality of Abassis must be always working. There is a method called Unit Testing. The idea is that you need to test Every feature, in an automatable and repeatable way. So when I realease a new version, I know that nothing that was previously working is now broken. It's a tad difficult to implement, but well worth the quality assurance.

I will now work on the basic tests for Abassis before releasing the next version, but Abassis 1.1 with reporting and charting features is coming out soon.

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