Archive for November, 2012

Syncing update

November 25, 2012 Comments off

Well, after about 4 months of thought and a few prototype implementations, I have FINALLY finished adding support for syncing. I want to spend the next week testing it to make sure it works as expected, but I have to say I am quite pleased with its simplicity. Turn it on, use the app as normal and you are notified if other devices have changed things. Two taps and these changes are merged.

This initial implementation only works with iCloud as the means for passing data between devices (Dropbox will come later). This means you can’t use it to share data between multiple people unless they all use the same iCloud account. Changes to accounts, budgets and transactions are tracked and shared between devices. It supports one primary device and multiple secondary devices.

The only two things it won’t sync are your settings and anything to do with account groups or account order. However these are not things that change often.

It will be available in around 2 weeks as an in-app purchase.

UPDATE (2nd December) – testing has gone well and all is working as expected. Should be submitted to Apple in a few more days.

No more ads!

November 23, 2012 Comments off

I didn’t realise that WordPress occasionally display ads on my site when viewed by users who are not logged in (I never see them of course!). I have therefore paid to have these removed permanently. If you do see any ads, please let me know.

Top search terms

November 22, 2012 Comments off

My website can track the top search terms that are used to reach it (271,432 hits and counting!!).

Other than the obvious top searches such as “account tracker”, “graham haley”, “account tracker app”, “graham haley account tracker” and “account tracker ipad/iphone”, here are the top five questions I can respond to (all related to Account Tracker) …

1. account tracker for mac – I have not managed to do anything on this since the summer, however I hope to get back to it soon.

2. account tracker for pc – now that I have a Windows Phone version, it is possible that I might fund a Windows 8 version that will ultimately sync with the phone version. We’ll see …

3. account tracker sync – this is my top feature request (by far), and while you can currently copy data between devices with the backups feature (see, an auto-sync solution is coming very soon!!

4. account tracker android – despite being regularly contacted by Samsung and more recently Amazon about porting my apps to Android, it would need a huge investment of time and money, and without help I simply can’t do it – sorry!

5. account tracker import csv – this is relatively easy to do as long as you get your data into the right format. Again see for full details.

iCloud tips

November 14, 2012 Comments off

aticon57 mricon57 hlicon57

Most of my apps support iCloud for sharing backup files between devices (and Account Tracker supports syncing too). Here are some tips for setting it up, and making sure it is working.

1. On each device, go to the main Settings app and select the iCloud row. Make sure you are using the same iCloud account, and that you have space available (under Storage).

2a. If you are NOT using iCloud Drive … make sure Documents & Data is ON, and that my app is listed and enabled. If you want iCloud to work over your cellular data network, make sure Use Cellular Data is ON.

2b. If you ARE using iCloud Drive … make sure this is enabled on ALL devices, and that my app is also listed and enabled. Note that iCloud Drive is incompatible with previous implementations.

3. On your first device (e.g. your iPad), go to the Settings screen in my app and enable iCloud (you only have to do this once). Now go to the Backups screen, and make sure the title at the top says iCloud. Make a backup (Backup Now).

If you get an error saying access to iCloud failed, simply go back to the Settings screen, and then back to the Backups screen.

4. On your second device (e.g. your iPhone), go to the settings screen in my app and enable iCloud (you only have to do this once). Now go to the Backups screen, and make sure the title at the top says iCloud. The list of files shown should include the backup you made in step 3, but the file will be shown in grey (meaning it is available in iCloud but not copied to the app yet).

5. If the file is not listed, periodically tap the refresh button at the top left (it might look like nothing is happening, but the refresh is VERY quick). iCloud can be slow, so it can take a while (sometimes a few minutes).

6. Select the greyed out backup file and choose Restore Backup. The file will be copied, verified and restored.

If this isn’t working as expected, there are a few steps you can take to see what is happening.

7. On the sending device, go to the main Settings app, select iCloud, then Storage (& Backup), then Manage Storage. Make sure my app is listed. Select it and make sure the newly created backup file is listed.

8. On the receiving device, do the same.

9. Finally on the receiving device in my app, check the Backups screen to make sure the file is listed there.

If it is still not working, try rebooting your device. This has helped a couple of people, and clearly points to an iOS issue. 😦

You might now be asking why I use iCloud! Well, it usually works very well (albeit slowly) and I like the way files are copied between devices automatically. Far better than fiddling around with bluetooth, WiFi or iTunes file sharing!

My app update process

November 6, 2012 Comments off


You might think doing an app update is primarily about the coding and testing. This post summarises the many steps I have to take between being “finished” and you getting an “update available” message from iTunes.

1. Documentation. Primarily this involves editing the built in User Guide, which is an HTML document. I also need to write the What’s New section for iTunes, which I also include in the User Guide (since many people miss this when updating).

2. Each update requires a new version number, so this needs to be updated in the app itself. Also if it is the first update of the year, I update the copyright notice.

3. Since the version number is shown on the application launch images (the brief image that is displayed when you launch the app), these need to be re-generated. Each app now has 7 launch images: portrait mode on the iPad (retina and non-retina); landscape mode on the iPad (retina and non-retina); the old iPhone/iPod Touch (retina and non-retina); finally the new iPhone/iPod Touch (retina only). I tend to use OmniGraffle to produce these.

4. Build the app for submission to Apple. This takes perhaps 30-60 seconds! 🙂

5. If I have changed something visual, I need to take new screenshots for iTunes. Since you can include up to 5 images, this involves taking 15 screenshots in total: 5 for the iPad (retina only), 5 for the old iPhone/iPod Touch (retina only) and 5 for the new iPhone/iPod Touch (retina only). Screenshots are taken by pressing the Home and Power buttons at the same time, and the resulting images are then trimmed to remove the status bar at the top of the screen.

6. I also take new screenshots for my website, typically in the order of 15-30 of them per app. I tend to use an “old” iPhone 4 for this, however I then have to resize each image down to 50% as the retina images are too big for the web.

7. Apple has a website called iTunes Connect where developers can manage their apps. I add the new app version, paste in the What’s New text and upload the 15 iTunes images (which can take ages). I can then submit the app for approval.

8. Despite some early horror stories, the approval process has always been very fair (IMHO). Typically apps are approved in around 5-10 days.

9. Finally once I get notified it has been approved, I upload all the screenshots to my website, update the text on my website and then officially release the new version. Phew!

10. For apps like Account Tracker, all of the above is repeated for the Free version. I also use separate screenshots for the US ($) vs the rest of the world (where I use £). As you can imagine, there are a LOT of images to upload (60 to iTunes in total, uploaded one at a time).

So next time you update one of my apps, now you know what I went through!

Account Tracker 3.8.5 now available

November 5, 2012 Comments off

This is a quick update to make the UI more explicit around showing and hiding reconciled transactions. The pull down method has now been removed altogether (following user feedback – sorry!), and you now simply use the tick button itself. The same applies to the accounts screen where you should use the left arrow to show or hide hidden accounts.

Added a new advanced settings section with two new options …

1. “Focus on” applies to the iPhone and iPod Touch only, and it lets you choose whether to make the balance or the transaction amount bigger on the account screen. I know some people prefer to see the amount a bit more clearly!

2. “Touch and hold” is an optimisation around using the tick button. If enabled, touching and holding it (i.e. a long press) will switch between showing and hiding reconciled transactions. Also if you are reconciling by transaction, simply tap the tick button to enter reconcile mode.

Fixed a bug to do with foreign splits not being converted to the default currency on the budgets and reports screens.