Posts Tagged Story Tracker

Introducing Story Tracker for PC

Track your story submissions on your Windows PC – Now Available!

“Story

Today I’m pleased to announce the release of my new PC app, Story Tracker. If you’re a writer who regularly submits your work to publications, you’ll find this to be a helpful tool to keep track of all your submissions.

Way back in 2013 I announced my plans to bring my iOS and Mac app, Story Tracker, to the Windows platform. Despite expecting a steep learning curve, I hoped to release the app by the end of that year. What I didn’t count on was quite so many development hurdles when starting from scratch on a new platform and learning a new programming language at the same time! I also had to continue updating my iOS and Mac apps throughout the development cycle. After all that hard work, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

The PC version is similar to the Mac version, with printing. enhanced search capabilities, and data transfer to and from the iOS version over WiFi. I’ve also included a host of other tweaks and improvements including duplicating entries, right-click context menus, and user-interface improvements. Story Tracker for PC also has a built-in crash-reporting mechanism and software update notifications.

To run Story Tracker on your PC, you’ll need either Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. The app also requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 with the KB2468871 update patch. While I haven’t tested it with Windows 10 yet, I’ll be making any necessary updates for that once it’s released.

The download version initially runs in an unregistered trial mode, limited to 5 stories, 5 markets, and 5 submissions. It will also only allow a single database to be open at a time, and database import is disabled. The full feature-set can be unlocked via purchase, either within the app or via my Web Store.

You can learn more about all the features of Story Tracker here, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page, or like Story Tracker on Facebook.

I’d like to thank all the Beta testers for helping me polish the app, and my family for their patience while I worked on it all this time. I hope you find Story Tracker for PC as useful as I do for keeping track of story submissions. Enjoy!

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Story Tracker for PC – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Story Tracker

The following should address any questions or concerns you may have about Story Tracker for PC. I’ll be updating this post as new questions arise. Let me know if I’ve missed anything!

1. When will Story Tracker be available for PCs?

Story Tracker for PC is now available for download from my website here. You can learn more about Story Tracker for PC here.

2. What operating system do I need to be able to run Story Tracker for PC?

The app works on Windows XP SP3 / Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1. It requires the .NET Framework 4, which will be installed automatically if your computer does not already have it. It also requires the .NET KB2468871 update patch.

3. I already have Story Tracker on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Do I have to buy it again for the PC?

Yes, if you would like to run Story Tracker on your PC, you’ll need to purchase it direct from my site. The PC version includes some additional features over and above the iOS version, including enhanced search and printing capabilities. I first began work on Story Tracker for PC in 2013. The app had to be substantially re-designed and completely re-written for the PC platform. Unfortunately porting the app to the PC wasn’t as simple as you might think!

4. I’m not sure if Story Tracker for PC will suit my needs. Is there a free trial version available?

Yes, it’s available for download from my website here. The app is initially in an unregistered trial mode, limited to 5 stories, 5 markets, and 5 submissions. It will also only allow a single database window, and database import is disabled. That should be enough to give you some idea of whether the app will work for you. Purchasing a license either within the app or via my website unlocks full functionality.

5. I have a Story Tracker database on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. How do I transfer it to Story Tracker for PC?

You’ll need all devices on the same local WiFi network as your PC. Then follow these steps:

(1) Tap the Backup Database button on the Tools screen within the app on your device.
(2) Create a new database within Story Tracker for PC and save it to your Documents folder.
(3) Click the Import Database button in the document window toolbar within Story Tracker for PC. This is the button next to the printer button. The button has an arrow pointing to the right, away from the device icon. You can also select the Import from -> Story Tracker Mobile App item in the File menu.
(4) The Import Database window will appear. You should see your device shown in the Devices section. If it isn’t there, double-check that you’ve selected Backup Database (or Export Database) on the Tools screen within Story Tracker on your device. Check the Messages box in Story Tracker for PC for helpful information.
(5) Select the device you want to import from, then select Restore Complete Database in the Import Options section. You may also choose to Import Stories and Markets, Import Stories, or Import Markets.
(6) Once you’re satisfied with the selected device and import options, click the Import button.
(7) An alert will appear indicating whether the import was successful. Click Ok.
(8) The database in Story Tracker for PC should now match the database on your device.

Note that the above steps will completely replace the contents of the Story Tracker database within Story Tracker for PC, unless you’ve chosen not to restore the complete database. In that case, you may see duplicate entries in your database after the import is complete.

6. I have a Story Tracker database in Story Tracker for PC I’d like to transfer to Story Tracker on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. How do I accomplish this?

The steps are similar to question 5 above, except you must select either Restore Database or Import Database on your device, and click the Export Database button in the document window toolbar within Story Tracker for PC. This is the toolbar button with the arrow pointing toward the device icon. When the export is complete, you should consult the pop-up alert on your device for further instructions.

7. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and a PC. How do I keep the databases in sync between all of these devices?

Story Tracker currently doesn’t have a simple means of keeping databases synchronized on separate devices. However, it is still possible to transfer the database between devices manually. You first need to backup the database from the device with the most current copy to your computer (or from your computer to the device). The steps for achieving this are shown above in questions 5 and 6. A good workflow is to use your PC as a hub for the database, updating that after you’ve made changes on your device.

8. I have the Story Tracker trial version and just bought the full version. How do I transfer my data from the trial version?

When you purchase the full version you’ll be provided with license details to unlock the app. The trial version and the full version are the same app – there is nothing further to download. All of your data will be accessible the next time you run the app.

9. I have a whole spreadsheet of submission data I’d like to import into the app. How can I do that?

Provided your spreadsheet program can export to CSV format and allows you to specify comma separators and dates in a particular format, you should be able to import it into the app. Story Tracker expects to receive CSV data according to the CSV template file, available in the Downloads section of the site. This template file can also be found via the File -> Import from -> CSV menu sequence within the app.

10. Can you incorporate some new fields into the app? Can I change the names of any of the data fields?

Incorporating new fields may be possible, but keep in mind that any changes will also need to be made to the iOS app version, where screen real estate is very limited. I’ve tried to select fields that would be useful for most writers using the app, and have tried to minimize clutter as much as possible. The Notes field may be used to log information that isn’t captured by any other field. Sorry, the names of the data fields cannot be changed.

11. What is the X icon in the toolbar used for?

The ‘X’ icon (next to the ‘+’ icon in the toolbar) is used to delete a particular story, market, or submission. It has no effect until you select an item from the list. Clicking on one of the rows in the table will select that row and highlight it. To delete the highlighted story, market, or submission, click the X icon in the toolbar. Alternatively you may select Remove Item from the Edit menu. Note that if a particular story or market is associated with any submissions, an alert will appear asking if you still wish to delete the story or market. If there are no associated submissions, the highlighted item will be deleted immediately.

12. What does trunked mean?

The Trunked? field appears on the Story Info screen, with options of Yes or No. It essentially means you’ve put the story away in the trunk (or drawer, filing-cabinet, or hard-drive) and don’t plan to submit it anywhere again. You’d typically do this when you’ve exhausted the list of markets you planned to send the story to, or if you don’t think it’s good enough to send anywhere. In practical terms, when Trunked? is set to Yes the story will no longer appear in the drop-down list when you create or modify a submission. You can decide to un-trunk the story at any time by setting the state back to No.

13. I have questions, feature requests, or concerns that aren’t listed above. How can I contact you?

You can reach me via email (StoryTracker@andrewnicolle.com), on the Story Tracker Facebook page, or on Twitter (I’m @andrewnicolle). I can usually respond to queries within 24 hours. If you like Story Tracker for PC, please spread the word. Thanks!

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Story Tracker v3.0 update now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Story Tracker v3.0 is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Story Tracker

This update adds support for the PC version of Story Tracker. You can learn more about Story Tracker for PC from the preview post.

If you like what you see, please spare a moment to rate or review the app on the App Store!

You can learn more about Story Tracker at my website or on the Story Tracker Facebook group.

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Story Tracker for PC Preview

Track your story submissions on your Windows PC – Coming Soon!

Quite awhile back I announced my plans to bring my iOS and Mac submission tracking app, Story Tracker, to the Windows platform. After a prolonged development struggle, today I can finally present an early look at the interface.

While it looks very similar to the Mac version, the PC version was actually a total rewrite. I’ve had to learn a new programming language, and come up to speed with development on an unfamiliar platform.

The PC version will include much the same features as the Mac, including printing. enhanced search capabilities, and data transfer to and from the iOS version over WiFi. It will support Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1. I also plan to support Windows 10 after that’s released.

I’m planning to release Story Tracker for PC for direct sale via my website. It’ll be available for download as a free trial version, with similar limitations to the Lite iOS version. The full feature-set can be unlocked via purchase.

Development is proceeding swiftly, so I’m hoping to release the app sometime within the next 2-3 months.

If a PC version of Story Tracker sounds interesting to you, and you’d like to Beta test or just be notified when the app is closer to launch, sign-up here. I’ll also be posting the occasional update on the Story Tracker Facebook page.

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Story Tracker v2.8 update now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Story Tracker v2.8 is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Story Tracker

This update contains the following changes:

Note: This update requires iOS 5.0 or higher!

  • Added iOS 7 support
  • New iOS 7-style minimalist interface
  • Updated app icon for iOS 7
  • Bug fixes

If you like what you see, please spare a moment to rate or review the app on the App Store!

You can learn more about Story Tracker at my website or on the Story Tracker Facebook group.

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Story Tracker for Mac v1.3 update now available

Story Tracker for Mac

Story Tracker makes keeping track of your submitted stories, novels, poems, scripts, and articles easy. Never wonder again where or when you submitted your work. The information is all right there on your Mac!

The Story Tracker v1.3 update is now available on the Mac App Store.

For direct purchase customers, click ‘Check for Updates…’ in the Story Tracker menu within the app and follow the prompts to update.

This update contains the following changes:

  • Reduced font size on printed output.
  • User interface tweaks.
  • Bug fixes.

If you’re enjoying the app, please take a moment to rate or review it on the Mac App Store!

You can learn more about Story Tracker at my website or on the Story Tracker Facebook group.

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Story Tracker v2.6 update now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Story Tracker v2.6 is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Story Tracker

This update contains the following changes:

  • Added search bar feature on the Stories, Markets, and Submissions lists
  • Improved Bluetooth keyboard support
  • Added “character” pay rate unit for Markets

If you like what you see, please spare a moment to rate or review the app on the App Store!

You can learn more about Story Tracker at my website or on the Story Tracker Facebook group.

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Announcing Story Tracker for PC

Story Tracker for PC

Since the launch of the iOS version of Story Tracker in 2009, I’ve had requests for bringing the app to other platforms. Last year I released Story Tracker for Mac after a prolonged development cycle. The release on a desktop platform naturally led to questions about when a PC version might be coming along.

Wonder, no more! Today I’m announcing my plans for a Windows PC version of Story Tracker.

I’ve considered and discarded the idea in the past. I moved away from PC development over the last decade as I focused on my fiction writing and iOS app development efforts. As a result, my knowledge in this area is quite out of date. However, I consider my iOS and Mac development skills to be quite good, having launched and maintained several apps for sale since 2009. The existence of viable platforms for sale (the App Store, and later, the Mac App Store) meant all the messy details had been taken care of: license management, payment processing, handling updates, and most important of all, an audience.

Microsoft has recently launched their own online store for Windows 8 apps, but at this stage my impression is that it’s a bit of a mess, and Windows 8 itself isn’t doing as well as expected. For now, that means all the aforementioned messy details still exist on the PC platform. There’s also the matter of costly development tools and multiple operating systems to support. Until recently I believed development of a PC version of Story Tracker would be a costly and frustrating exercise. I no longer believe that to be the case.

The free Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop product should meet most of my development needs, and as far as I can determine, it seems to have no limitations on commercial distribution of applications developed with it. This set of tools also covers targets from Windows XP through to Windows 8 desktop. If it turns out this edition of Visual Studio is a little too limited, there’s always the Pro version which isn’t prohibitively expensive.

Is there a market for a PC version of Story Tracker? That remains to be seen. However, I believe there is, if you consider the size of the PC market in comparison to that for Macs. While Mac sales seem to be on the rise in recent years, the Mac user base is still dwarfed by the huge numbers of PCs out there. While Macs are popular amongst writers and other creative folk, they still make up a comparatively small slice of the overall market.

How about the other thorny issues mentioned above? In my investigations in recent months, I’ve identified several services and packages that should address those concerns. The biggest one, payment processing, is well covered these days. I’m already using FastSpring to handle payment processing and license generation for direct sales of Story Tracker for Mac via my website. I’ve been very impressed with their service, and I think they’d make a great fit for direct sales of the PC version, too.

When can you expect to see Story Tracker for PC available for sale? I’m currently working on Bonsai Album for Mac, which I’m targeting for a spring 2013 release. Once that’s done, I’ll be diving into development on the PC version of Story Tracker in a big way. I’m hopeful it’ll be available for sale sometime later this year. I can’t pin down a more exact release date, since I expect there to be a steep learning curve, and I still have updates to work on for my other apps.

If you’re interested in learning more about Story Tracker for PC as development progresses, visit the Story Tracker Facebook page or sign up here to be notified via email when the app launches.

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Story Tracker v2.4 update now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Story Tracker v2.4 is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Story Tracker

This update contains the following changes:

  • Fixed truncation bug affecting decimal number fields
  • Localized decimal numbers on info and statistics screens, and in CSV output
  • Improved data saving behavior
  • Prevent automatic screen-locking during database transfer over WiFi
  • Added iTunes File Sharing support
  • Bug fixes

Note: This update requires iOS 4.3 or higher! The original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and 1st or 2nd-gen iPod touch devices are no longer supported.

If you like what you see, please spare a moment to rate or review the app on the App Store!

You can learn more about Story Tracker at my website or on the Story Tracker Facebook group.

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The Road to Story Tracker for Mac

Story Tracker for Mac is now available for direct download from my site. If you’d like some background on the development process, read on. If not, skip to the end of the post!

Story Tracker for Mac

After an epic development cycle spanning many months, today I’m pleased to present my first Mac app, Story Tracker – a submission tracking tool for writers. Story Tracker for Mac brings all of the features of the iOS app to the Mac platform, with some nice additions including enhanced search, and printing capabilities. If you’ve got one of those fancy new MacBook Pros with the Retina display, you’ll enjoy how Story Tracker looks in high-resolution, too.

Shortly after the Mac App Store launched in January 2011, I posted some thoughts, including an announcement I’d decided to work on a Mac version of Story Tracker. Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped!

You’d think writing a Mac app would be a fairly trivial exercise for someone used to developing iOS apps, since the development environment is very similar, and a decent amount of code can be re-used between the platforms. That certainly seems to be the case where you’ve got something like a game where you’re blasting pixels to a fixed viewing area and don’t have to deal so much with the native Mac user interface. Apologies in advance for the gross over-simplification! It gets a little more complicated when you’re writing productivity apps taking advantage of the Mac user interface and all the exotic paradigms and attention to detail that entails.

So I spent a few months of nights and weekends working my way through the Aaron Hillegass book, Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X (3rd Edition). Having a background in Objective-C and iOS programming definitely helped with understanding the basics.

Meanwhile, I continued to maintain all three of my iOS apps (Story Tracker, Bonsai Album, and Artwork Tracker) with regular updates. Updating all three with interface updates for the new iPad Retina display and adding new features was more work than anticipated. Keep in mind my development time is limited to nights and weekends! Development of the Mac app went slowly as a result, and the arrival of OS X 10.7 Lion threw a spanner into the works, since I only had one development machine and couldn’t afford a second until later in the year. I could’ve upgraded to Lion on my old Mac Mini, but then I wouldn’t have had a test machine for Snow Leopard.

It wasn’t until Spring 2012 that I was finally able to devote a significant amount of time to working on Story Tracker for Mac. The looming mandatory sandboxing requirement for Mac App Store apps was a source of much stress and frustration. More than once I wondered if I’d have to abandon the app entirely. As it turned out, I found a solution for making SQLite databases play nice with sandboxing (hint: you’ll have to use bundles) and didn’t have too many other difficulties with sandboxes. That was until the app was rejected last week for a misunderstanding of the sandbox entitlements!

A complete and total disaster, you might think. Well, it felt like it at the time, but I was able to re-submit a new build that evening after some quick testing and unchecking two checkboxes in the sandbox configuration. I got back to work on the Lite / trial version of Story Tracker, resigned to being sent to the back of the review queue and having to wait another few weeks.

For those of you who follow a rather witty and clever chap on Twitter by the name of Matt Gemmell, you would’ve seen his quite-possibly mind-blowing post about releasing your Mac apps outside the Mac App Store. Gemmell walks through the process he went through in releasing his new Mac app, Sticky Notifications. In his post he talks about the pros and cons of releasing apps on the Mac App Store and outside it, in the process demystifying many of the scary things like payment processing, handling licenses, updates, and so forth.

I’d read Gemmell’s post the week before my app rejection. At the time I thought he made an excellent case for simultaneous release of apps outside the Mac App Store, but I didn’t think much more on it. It wasn’t until last week’s unpleasantness that the true value of that post sank in. Not only did I now have all the tools necessary to release an app outside the Mac App Store, but it would also make for an elegant solution to the problem of having only a feature or time-limited Lite version of the app available via my website.

Over the Labor Day long weekend I began the process of augmenting the Lite version of the app, turning it into an unlockable trial version incorporating license validation and payment processing. By Monday night I had a fully-functional version of the app, and I spent the past few days on some final polishing before today’s release.

Before winding up this post, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the wonderful Beta testers who helped refine the app into its final form. The feedback I received was excellent, and having a bunch of other people supplement my own testing helped me identify some problem areas I would otherwise have missed. So, thanks.

I’d also like to thank Craig Hockenberry for his great Mac App Store guide, Andy Matuschak for the immensely helpful Sparkle updating system, Andy Kim and Matt Gallagher for LetsMove, Bit Stadium GmbH for HockeyApp, Gleb Dolgich for the fantastic CocoaFob, and FastSpring for their customer service and handy FastSpring Embedded Store. All of the above are great assets for the Mac development community.

And now for some administrivia…

You’ll need either Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.6), Lion (OS X 10.7.x), or Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.x) to run Story Tracker. The free trial version starts off in an unregistered trial mode, limited to 5 stories, 5 markets, and 5 submissions. In this mode you can only have a single database window open at a time, and database import is disabled. You may purchase a license either within the app or via the Web Store to unlock the app’s full functionality.

You can find more details including screenshots and the full list of features on the Story Tracker for Mac page of my site. I’m running a launch sale on the app, so be sure to take advantage of the provided coupon code anytime during the month of September, 2012.

What about the Mac App Store, you may ask? Well, Story Tracker is still in the queue at Apple, but I’m hoping for an approval sometime in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, feel free to download the trial version here and take the app for a spin while you wait. Note that the version available on my site includes an updating mechanism, so you’ll get early access to new features and bug fixes.

I hope you find Story Tracker a useful addition to your Mac writing toolbox, and I welcome any feature suggestions or comments you may have. Likewise, I hope you Mac developers out there found this to be a decent read.

Enjoy!

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