News


Announcing SongTweeter for Mac!

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I am pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of SongTweeter for Mac!  SongTweeter for Mac features the same great song-sharing technology as found in SongTweeter for iOS.  You can add optional prefix and suffix text (such as #NowPlaying) as well as include cover art.  And the app supports sharing to Twitter, Facebook and App.net.  All of the above can be yours for a mere $0.99.  (Since to my knowledge there aren’t any ad networks suitable for displaying ads for desktop apps, I have decided to make SongTweeter for Mac is a paid app.  But, come on, it’s only $0.99.  You probably spent more on that coffee you’re holding. :))

Anyhoo, go grab it today on the Mac App Store!

New Feature: Song Change Detection!

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When I was working on the most recent release of SongTweeter, I came up with a cool (at least I thought so) feature, Show in Notification Center, that would, as its name implies, add a banner to Notification Center to make SongTweeter easier to access from outside the app.  Unfortunately Apple didn't like this feature and rejected the app.  Since that time I've been trying to think up a way for SongTweeter to be easier to use when it's not the frontmost app, and I think I've finally hit upon a way that,  hopefully, Apple will be more willing to accept.  And thus I present to you the new Song Change Detection feature.

With this new feature enabled, SongTweeter will continue to run in the background after you switch away from it, and will detect when the currently playing song changes.  When this happens, it will display a notification, which if tapped, will instantly fire up SongTweeter and let you share what you're listening to!

Unfortunately, due to restrictions imposed by Apple on apps that run in the background, you must relaunch SongTweeter every 10 minutes or so for it to continue to detect song changes while in the background.

However this may change once iOS 7 is released.  Because iOS 7 supports new multitasking modes, it may be possible for SongTweeter to periodically "wake up" and check for song changes, with no restrictions on running time.  (Disclaimer: I am still experimenting with iOS 7, so I am unsure if this will work.  Also iOS 7 is still in beta, and it is possible that its features and APIs may change between now and when it is expected to be released this fall.)

I'm also still working on the Auto-Share feature I spoke of in our last update.  Basically, if enabled, this feature will let you instantly share what you are listening to, without the confirmation dialog.  (Of course this also means you can't edit the text you want to share before sending it)  Work on that is still progressing and it should be included in the next release.

Speaking of which, by now you're probably wondering "when will the next release come out anyway?!"  I'm afraid I haven't the slightest idea.  In case you haven't heard, Apple's developer website was recently hacked.  This left the Apple developer site down for a good chunk of time.  While the site is (finally) fully online once again, this outage has affected App Store approval times.  So even if I could submit the next version of the app right now, it would be delayed for quite a while apparently.  And I'm nowhere near ready to submit the app just yet.  There's still quite a bit of coding (and, more importantly, testing) to do before the app can be submitted to Apple for review.  Hopefully by then Apple's app store approval time will have returned to normal.  Anyway, rest assured that I am moving as fast as I can on this, and I will definitely keep you up to date as to how things are progressing.  So stay tuned!

Working on version 2.1, here's what to expect

I've begun work on Version 2.1 of SongTweeter.  This will be mostly bug fixes but I will try and work one or two new features in if I can manage it.  Here's what to expect:

  • Better App.net sharing: You will now be able to upload album art to App.net's built-in file storage area, rather than Imgur.com.  Also the App.net share box will now include a preview image.  Finally you can choose to share your location on app.net if you so desire.
  • Auto sharing: A way to automatically share what you're listening to without having to show the message editing box.  I'm still working out (A) whether this is possible and (B) how to implement this.  But I hope to have this in the next release.
  • Other misc. bug fixes

I'm hoping to have the next version of the app out within the next few weeks.  I will post updates here as things progress, so stay tuned!

Tip: Having trouble posting to Twitter? Try deleting and re-adding your Twitter account

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This weekend I received an email from a SongTweeter user who was having trouble posting to Twitter. She kept getting an error message saying that it couldn't connect to Twitter; however other Twitter apps on her phone were still working.  After going back and forth with her to diagnose the issue, we determined that her Twitter account details somehow got corrupted.  Simply deleting and re-adding her Twitter account solved the problem.  I've actually seen this happen before.  And the reason her other Twitter apps still worked was probably that they kept cached copies of her authentication data which were still valid.

Anyway, if you ever have trouble posting to Twitter, try these simple steps.  From the program launcher screen (grid of icons), tap Settings, then scroll down and tap Twitter.  Tap the Twitter account you're having trouble with, then tap the big red "Delete" button.  Finally tap "Add Account" and re-add the account you just deleted.

This advice also applies to other account types too, e.g. Facebook and App.net; so if you ever have trouble posting to those services, you might want to try this too.  Facebook account data is stored in the iOS system, so to get to it, tap the Settings icon and scroll down until you see Facebook.  App.net account data is actually stored in SongTweeter's app data storage area; to reset your App.net account, start a post to App.net, and at the bottom left of the post window you will see a "Log Out" link.  Tap it, then the next time you try and submit a post to App.net, you will be asked to log in again.

By the way, please contact me if you have any trouble with the app, or if you have any comments or suggestions on how to make it better.  Doing so is simple; just tap the Options button (gear icon in the upper left of the screen), choose About, and tap the "Send Feedback/Suggestions" button.  Note that if you are having trouble, stating the problem as clearly and with as much detail as possible will definitely help.  Also it would help if I know what kind of device you're using (iPhone 5?  iPad mini?  iPod touch?) and what version of iOS you are running.  To check the version of iOS, tap the Settings icon, then tap General, then tap About, and scroll down to where it says "Version" - this is the version of iOS you are currently running.

Download SongTweeter and you could win a $10,000 iTunes gift card!

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Psst!  Have you downloaded SongTweeter yet?  No?  Well, if you go and do so now, you have a shot at winning a $10,000 iTunes gift card!

The App Store is about to hit 50 billion downloads, and, just like they did last year at the 25 billion mark, Apple is celebrating by putting on a contest.  If you download an app (free or paid) and are the lucky 50 billionth app downloader, you could win a $10,000 iTunes gift card.  But, even better, the next 50 downloads (50 billion and 1th to 50 billion and 50th) will get a $500 gift card too!

Full disclosure: You can enter the contest without purchasing or downloading an app.  But I would of course be very happy if you downloaded SongTweeter anyway :)  And if you do, I'd really appreciate it if you would be so kind as to rate and/or review the app, or even help out a poor app developer in this down economy by purchasing the in-app ad removal feature.

Anyway, head on over to the contest page and check out the rapidly increasing download counter, and find out how to enter.  And good luck!

Oh, and please download SongTweeter as well. :)

Available on the App Store

We are now on App.net!

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If you've downloaded our latest update (and if you haven't by now, what are you waiting for?!) you'll know that one of the new features is the ability to share to the up-and-coming social network/app platform App.net.  Well we are pleased to announce that we've set up a presence on App.net as well.  Follow us today at alpha.app.net/SongTweeterApp for the latest news and updates.

Is anyone having trouble with prefix and/or suffix text not showing up?

Hi everyone.  First of all, I see a lot of people have downloaded the recent app update, and that makes me really happy.  Thank you!  :)  I also see a few people have started taking advantage of the "Remove ads" feature.  Again, I say, thank you!  :)  In case it wasn't obvious, I'm a small time/amateur developer who writes apps mostly for fun.  It is not my main line of work.  And, since I haven't been getting very many jobs lately, every little bit of income helps.  So if you'd like to show your support, tapping that big shiny "Remove Ads" button would help me out a lot, and is very much appreciated.  :)

Also helpful is if you could rate the app and/or write a review.  Reviews really help people discover the app, especially now that the app store in effect "throws out" (doesn't count) reviews for an earlier version of an app whenever an update is posted.  Rating and/or reviewing the app is easy; from within the app, tap the Share button, then tap the "Rate/Review App button."  :)

Now, on to the purpose of today's post.  I saw that someone posted the following review for the app:

prefix not working...please fix 
by eXist

worked great. updated to new version, but prefix doesn't post. just the song name. please fix.

First of all, sorry that you are having trouble with the app, "eXist."  I try and test app updates as thoroughly as possible before releasing them, but unfortunately things slip through every now and then.  Still, that's a weird problem, and one that I have not run into; not to mention that prefix/suffix seems to be working for many other people as well.

It could be that the problem is that the song title and/or artist you're attempting to share is really long.  Because most sharing services have a limit as to the number of characters you can share, the app has to make certain decisions as to what information to add to what's being shared.  Since song title and artist are the most important (it is the whole reason you are sharing after all), they get top priority: Song title gets top priority, followed by artist.  Next comes the album art image; if you choose to share an album artwork image, the image link for that takes up some characters too, so the app has to allow for that.  After that, if there are any characters remaining, comes the prefix text, and finally the suffix text.  So, if the song title and/or artist you are trying to share is especially long, it's possible that the app only shares the title and artist.  So if you are having trouble with prefix and/or suffix text not showing up, try disabling the "include album artwork" feature; that will give you a little bit more breathing room.

In the future, I plan on making the sharing text much more user-configurable.  (For example, instead of "<artist> - <song title>" some people might prefer to use "<song title> by <artist>."  Or perhaps you just want to share the song title and leave the artist out.  And so on.  That may help in cases like this.

It's times like this when I really wish there was a way to respond to people who've written a review.  Apparently this is something that (at least some) Android app developers can do.  Until then, the best I can do is blog posts like this.  Is prefix and/or suffix text not showing up?  Or is the app working fine for you?  Please let me know by filling out the poll below.

Finally, thank you once again for downloading the app, purchasing add removal, and/or rating/reviewing the app.  You rock!


Version 2.0.209 is now out on the App Store!

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I'm pleased to announce that SongTweeter 2.0.209 is now available on the App Store!

What's New in Version 2.0 Build 209:

• All-new interface!
• Control music playback and select songs/playlists from within the app
• You can now share with Facebook and App.net
• Option to set a default share destination (long-pressing the Share button will always let you choose from all available destinations
• New ad-removal option removes all ads for a small one-time fee.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

• This app is no longer compatible with iOS 4 & 5. Due to various reasons I am no longer able to continue to support these older versions of iOS.
• Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, Apple did not approve the "Show in Notification Center" feature.  I may be able to get this feature in at some point in the future, but don't hold your breath…

Anyway, go forth and download!

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Bad news: the "Show in Notification Center" feature has been rejected

This morning I received the following email from Apple:

We found that your app uses public APIs with Notification Center in a manner not prescribed by Apple, which is not in compliance with the iOS Developer Program License Agreement, as required by the App Store Review Guidelines.

In particular, section 3.3.1 of the iOS Developer Program License Agreement specifies:

"Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs"

While your application may use public APIs such as Local Notifications to display content in Notification Center, the content displayed is not consistent with the purpose of Notification Center.

Specifically, your app creates a persistent 'link' notification when the app enters the background.

We appreciate that you may have made precautions in your code for using APIs in a manner not prescribed by Apple. However, it is not possible to accurately or completely predict how an API may be modified and what effects those modifications may have. For this reason, we do not permit non-prescribed uses of APIs in App Store apps.

If there are no alternatives for providing the functionality your app requires, we encourage you to file an enhancement request or work with the Apple Developer Technical Support team to explore alternative solutions.

So unfortunately it looks like they are unhappy with the "Show in Notification Center" feature.  While it does not violate any technical rules (I am only using public APIs) it apparently violates the "spirit" of how Apple wants Notification Center to be used.

Sigh.

I suppose I could submit an appeal or a enhancement request, but (A) that would probably take over 9000 years to go through the system, and (B) probably has about a snowball's chance in HE-double-hockey-sticks of success.  In either case, SongTweeter 2.0 is so much mo' better than 1.0, that I don't want to deprive you, the user, of these improvements while I go through a lengthy appeal process that probably won't work anyway.

So today I will be removing that feature (but not throwing away the code - I hope that one day Apple will come to its senses and let this useful feature through) and will resubmit the app.  Of course it'll probably take yet another 9000 years to reach the review process again…

Sigh.

Version 2.0 Build 194 submitted to the App Store!

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And so it begins, the infamous app approval waiting game.  Yes, it's true, I have uploaded Version 2.0 Build 194 to the App Store this morning.  So with any luck, it will be in your hot little hands sometime soon, I hope.

There is one major change from what I've been telling you about this version:  the iPad UI is back!  As it turns out, Apple doesn't let you take away features when updating your app.  So I had to hustle and pull an all-nighter, but the iPad interface is back, and looking fairly decent (basically about the same as the iPhone UI, only bigger).

Anyway, keep an eye on our website and Twitter; as soon as the app has gone through the review process I will let everyone know.


App and website are ©2011 by Donald Burr.  All Rights Reserved.