Posts Tagged Windows

Bonsai Album for PC Preview

Track your Bonsai tree collection on your Windows PC – Coming Soon!

Some time ago I announced my plans to bring my popular iOS and Mac app, Bonsai Album, to the Windows platform. After months of false-starts and development struggles, I’m finally able to provide an early peek at the interface.

You’ll note that it looks very similar to the Mac version. Under the surface though, the PC version is a total rewrite. I’ve had to learn a new programming language, and come to grips with the intricacies of development on an unfamiliar platform. In recent months I’ve made rapid progress, so I’m hoping this pace continues!

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. The app will be localized into multiple languages, including English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. I’m hoping to provide support for all these languages in the first version, but it may take longer than planned.

Early on I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to support Windows XP, but now it’s looking like XP support should be doable. The app will also support Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1.

I’m planning to release Bonsai Album 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.

I can’t promise an exact release date just yet, but I’m shooting for the first Beta version to be available by the end of 2014.

If a PC version of Bonsai Album 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 Bonsai Album Facebook page.

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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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