Discontinuing Appmonger

Rectangular Software regrets to announce that we are discontinuing Appmonger, our Android app for Android app developers. For the past 6 years Appmonger has provided near real-time app sales updates, statistics, and graphs for app publishers. Over this time we have had to make many updates to keep pace with Google’s ever-changing services (there have been 87 separate versions of Appmonger). The transitions from Android Market to Google Play, from Google Checkout to Google Wallet and then to Google Payments, and the introduction of buyer’s currency support have provided many challenges and required more and more work-arounds.

Since the demise of Google Checkout, Appmonger has relied on an undocumented and unsupported feature in Google Wallet that allowed it to continue extracting order data in the same way that it had before. It was only a matter of time before this seemingly otherwise unused loophole was closed by Google, and it appears that the recent transition to Google Payments has finally done so. While it may be technically possible to rework Appmonger to obtain the order data via some other method, such as web-scraping, this would be a convoluted and fragile process that would be likely to break with each further change to Google’s services.

Appmonger has never been a significant earner for Rectangular Software but it has attracted a small band of loyal followers. I would like to thank everybody who has purchased the app, reported bugs and helped to debug issues and I apologise for any disappointment this decision has caused but, in the absence of an officially supported reporting API for Google Payments, the continued development of Appmonger is unviable.

The current version of Appmonger will continue to display historical order data indefinitely but it is unable to download any new data. If you have purchased the app recently (since 1st May 2016) and feel you have not got your money’s worth, we will be happy to refund the cost of the app (please get in touch with your order details).

Appmonger Update for Google Wallet Authentication Issues

In the last few days several Appmonger users have reported that the app fails to authenticate with Google Wallet and therefore cannot download their latest orders. This is due to changes made by Google on the Google Wallet website.

In order to retrieve the data it retrieved previously, the app now needs to send your Google account’s SID cookie to Google Wallet. Version 2.5.6 of the app, released today, will now do this but it requires you to grant Appmonger permission to access this cookie when prompted to do so (you will receive a system notification giving the option to grant or deny access). Theoretically, being able to access this cookie might allow Appmonger to access more than just the Google Wallet part of your Google account. Unfortunately this is the only way that we have been able to restore the previous functionality. In practice, Appmonger will only use this cookie to retrieve data from Google Wallet. We will continue to investigate alternatives so that hopefully in a future version it is not necessary for you to grant this additional level of trust to Appmonger.

Discontinuing StackAnywere

Last week the Stack Exchange team announced the launch of the new official Stack Exchange app for Android, complete with full write access including the ability to post and answer questions. In light of this StackAnywhere, Rectangular Software’s unofficial Android client for the Stack Exchange network, is now obsolete. As such, after nearly 3 years serving the Android users of Stack Overflow and its related sites, there will be no further updates to StackAnywhere.

We have removed the ad-supported Silver Edition of StackAnywhere from Google Play and made the ad-free Gold Edition free-of-charge to anybody who still wants to use it (it may still be of use to users of older Android versions that are not supported by the new official app). Thank you for using StackAnywhere and, in particular, thank you to those of you who showed your support by purchasing the Gold Edition.

Appmonger & Google Wallet – An Update

Google’s hitherto slow migration of Google Checkout users to Google Wallet appears to have accelerated massively this weekend – at least judging by the number of e-mails we’ve received about Appmonger no longer working. The problems that these users are seeing are the same as those that others have been experiencing since the transition began in April. At that time we took the decision to suspend sales of Appmonger until it was possible to make a version that would work with Wallet.

The good news is that Rectangular Software’s own merchant account has now been migrated, which means we finally have access to Google Wallet for testing. Hopefully we’ll be able to release an Appmonger update this week that works with Wallet.

In the meantime, if you were using Appmonger with a Google Checkout merchant ID and key, you can continue to do so as the Google Checkout API is still functioning (and presumably will until Checkout is shutdown in November). You will though need to have already made note of your ID and key because you can no longer access the Google Checkout website to retrieve them.

UPDATE (8th July 2013): Version 2.4 with Google Wallet support is now available from Google Play.

Appmonger Affected by Google Checkout to Google Wallet Transition

Google is currently in the process of replacing the Google Checkout merchant centre with the new Google Wallet. Some users have already received this update and are reporting that Appmonger is no longer working for them due to the changes.

Unfortunately we do not currently have access to the new Google Wallet merchant centre and are therefore not yet able to investigate what changes are necessary to get Appmonger to work with the new site. At the very least it appears that it will require changes to authentication and support for the new sales report format.

Until we are transitioned to the new service, which could take several days or more, this work cannot start. In the meantime we have temporarily removed Appmonger from the Google Play store to avoid selling to users for whom it will not work.

For further updates, please follow @RectangularHQ on Twitter or subscribe to this blog.

StackAnywhere 1.1 Released

StackAnywhere 1.1Today sees the release of a long-awaited update to StackAnywhere, the Android app for the Stack Exchange network (which includes sites such as Stack Overflow and Super User). This version brings the UI up-to-date for Android 4.x users and also moves the app onto the latest version of the StackExchange API. As well as dozens of minor fixes and refinements included in version 1.1, the move to the latest API opens up opportunities for new functionality in future version versions.

As prevously, StackAnywhere is available in two editions. The ad-supported Silver Edition is free to download and use. If you don’t want to see any adverts in the app, you can upgrade to the Gold Edition.

Improved Order Reconciliation in Appmonger 2.3.1

Following on from last week’s 2.3.0 release of Appmonger, the Google Play app seller’s app, today we’ve got some more improvements. As well as some refinements to the previous Android 4.x support there is also a new option to override your device’s default time zone and display reports using the time zone of your choice. However, the change that will probably of interest to most users is the improved order reconciliation.

Order reconciliation in Appmonger is the process by which previously downloaded orders are updated when more accurate financial information becomes available. It is necessary because the near-real-time data from Google Checkout that Appmonger uses only contains amounts in the buyer’s currency. Appmonger therefore uses third-party exchange rates to estimate the amounts in the seller’s currency. The small inaccuracies introduced by this process accumulate over time and make the overall reports less accurate. Fortunately Google Play’s monthly payout reports provide a second source of data that we can use to correct these figures. The Appmonger reconciliation process checks for new payout reports and uses the data to update its local order records.

Unfortunately, before today the reconciliation process was not a complete solution since the orders in the Google Play payout reports do not map neatly to the data in the Google Checkout reports. Those orders in the payout report that reference the Google Checkout order ID could be matched, but there were many others that could not be reconciled. Version 2.3.1 of Appmonger fixes this by making sense of the various different types of ID used in the payout reports. Some of these refer to a merchant ID that is present for some but not all orders in the Google Checkout data. In order to make the necessary connections Appmonger now stores this merchant ID when it is present. This means that if you want the new version to reconcile your previously downloaded orders, you will need to delete the app’s data and download them again so that this extra information is obtained.

Appmonger 2.3.0 – Updated for Android 4.x

Appmonger 2.3.0Version 2.3.0 of Appmonger is now available  from Google Play.

This version updates the user interface for Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich and JellyBean). It also includes fixes for a couple of issues. The reconciliation process, which had stopped functioning following changes to Google’s publisher console, should now work again. This release also fixes a problem with a missing pie chart legend when sharing PNG chart images on some devices.

One final point to note, if you are still using the old version of the Google Play publisher console, the reconciliation process will switch you to using version 2 the first time you run it (this is a side effect of retrieving your developer ID). Your ID will be cached after this and you can switch back to the old version of the publisher console the next time you login to it.

Appmonger Update to Handle Exchange Rate Problems

Several users of Appmonger have reported problems downloading exchange rates in the last day or so. This is because the site that Appmonger uses for exchange rates has been offline (whether this is due to the ongoing weather problems in the US that have taken several sites down or some other problem is unclear).

This is not the first time that the exchange rate provider has been unavailable so, to prevent such outages causing problems again in future, I’ve just published a small update to Appmonger (version 2.2.13) that will fall-back to downloading cached exchange rates from rectangularsoftware.com if the primary source is unavailable. Please install this update from Google Play and hopefully you will not encounter these problems any more.

On the subject of further updates to Appmonger, several users have asked about when the app will be updated for Android 4.x so that it does not appear out-dated on newer phones. This update is imminent but has not been tested so was not included in today’s new build. It will be with you shortly.

Appmonger Updated with Support for New Google Play Countries

Google today announced that Google Play now supports four additional countries from which developers can publish paid Android apps. These countries are the Czech Republic, Israel, Mexico and Poland. With these four new countries come four new currencies in which apps can be sold.

Appmonger, Rectangular Software’s app for tracking Android app sales on Google Play, already had support for three of these new currencies but we failed to anticipate Google’s support for Czech crowns so today we’ve published version 2.2.9 that fixes this.

This new version also includes a few other minor enhancements including fixes to the reconciliation functionality to address Google’s recent changes to Google Play sales reports. There are also some changes underneath the covers that may not be particularly visible at the moment but will become more obvious with the upcoming release of Appmonger 2.3.

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