MUCH better app management

Discussion in 'iTunes App Store Games & Apps' started by ardee, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. ardee

    ardee New Member

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    I'm an iPod touch 2G owner frustrated by the incredible weaknesses and inadequacies of the app-management features in iTunes. So I wrote something better and I've decided to make it available to everyone.

    iApps Helper is a Windows application that greatly assists you in organizing and managing on your PC the applications (I call them iApps) that you’ve downloaded from the iTunes app store for your iPhone or iPod touch (iPot for short). See http://www.iAppsHelper.com!

    First and foremost, it’s a much better way to decide which iApps gets sent to the iPhone/iPot and which don’t. Unlike iTunes, where you can only check or uncheck iApps and cannot see more information or even how many are checked, iApps Helper gives you a resizable table with resizable and sortable columns showing all sorts of useful information about your iApps. Here are just a few of its key features:
    • Each iApp has a checkbox for you to say whether or not it gets sync’d to the iPhone/iPot next time you sync with iTunes.
    • Each iApp has columns for filename, version, size, date, and several fields that you can fill in – which it will remember permanently. The user-fillable fields include the iApp’s Display Name (the name you see in iTunes or on the handheld, which is often different from the filename), a rating that you can assign, a description, and the price you paid for the iApp.
    • I have pre-filled the database with the Display Names of over 600 commonly-used iApps.
    • You’ll always know exactly how many iApps you’ve chosen to download. (Some of us actually exceed the handheld’s maximum of 148 iApps shown!)
    • iApps Helper is a lot faster than iTunes at listing your iApps. Plus, you can use the keyboard to select/deselect checkboxes, unlike in iTunes. And another speed bonus: every iApp you uncheck is one less iApp that iTunes must open and scan (because the iApps are moved to a separate folder, still tracked by iApps Helper but not by iTunes, when unchecked) – so iTunes launches faster too!
    There are other nice features to discover and enjoy. I plan to improve iApps Helper, too. I will listen to all bug reports and suggestions. If the feature makes managing your iApps easier, I want to implement it! For example, I expect to optionally show each iApp’s icon in a release coming soon, and I hope to create a Macintosh version before too long.

    iApps Helper has no viruses or other malware. It does show relevant ads in a small area at the bottom of its window, in order to defray development costs. If this is objectionable to many users, I will consider other means of support instead, including registration.

    Please come read about iApps Helper at http://www.iAppsHelper.com!

    Thanks!

    -ardee.
  2. NeSEncHo

    NeSEncHo Active Member

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    I think this is against the rules? No Advertising allowed?
  3. ardee

    ardee New Member

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    Sorry, didn't mean to sound like advertising. What's the best way to get the word out about a program I wrote (originally just for myself) that is tremendously useful to people who have a lot of iPhone apps and aren't happy with iTunes' way of handling them?
  4. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Looks very useful. I'll give it a whirl and report back.

    Plus this isn't advertising, this is offering information about a free application that could be useful to many people. This is what this forum is all about!

    Apologies ardee for the lack of a warm welcome here. You've probably put many hours into building this prog and deserve some thanks. And jlocalled, please show some respect. We would like people to post positive useful things here and hang around on these forums. Weak negative comments just dissuade the core of good people from wanting to be here.

    So welcome and cheers Ardee.
  5. hy565

    hy565 New Member

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    Looks like it could be useful. I'd wait for someone else here to try it out though.

    This program gets the list of apps (why do you call apps iApps anyway?) from the iTunes library database right?

    So if we want to download new apps we would still have to do it through itunes, and use this program purely for syncing purposes?

    By the way, will it mess up syncing with iTunes?
  6. mikec1985

    mikec1985 Active Member

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    You can advertise your app all you want you just cant advertise something non ipod related. Or advertise your own ipod forum site. Since this is an application related to ipods i think its fine. Everyone advertises their apps here.
  7. ardee

    ardee New Member

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    These are great questions! Here's my best shot:

    1. The program gets its list from the files in your "Mobile Applications" directory (and the "Disabled Applications" directory that it also uses). It then looks up other info in its own database, which keeps stuff like your description of each app, your rating, and how much you paid.

    2. I call them iApps because it's shorter than "iPhone/iPod touch apps" and I thought it might catch on.

    Please Register or Log in to view images

    I also call the iPod touch the iPot for short, but that one I didn't invent.

    3. Yes, this program is only to help you more easily pick which iApps to sync and which not to, and to be a database of information from the disk and from your mind. You still need iTunes to download and update iApps as well as for the actual sync'ing. If I could figure out a way to replace iTunes entirely, believe me I would! But it seems Apple uses some fancy encryption and obfuscation so it would be a much bigger project to go "inside" their proprietary files than just to move the iApps around and provide as many convenience features as I can.

    4. It will not mess up syncing with iTunes except as intended: any iApps you disable with my app will NOT be seen by iTunes any longer. (A side effect: iTunes will launch faster if you have a lot of iApps disabled, since it won't have to open and parse each of their compressed files.) Since iApps Helper looks in both the regular and "disabled" folders, it will always see ALL your iApps, even disabled ones, and it's a trivial matter to re-enable any of those. However, note this: if you disable an iApp after having sync'd it to your device, iTunes will (one time only) offer to re-upload it to your PC from your device. You should say "no" or else you'll end up with two copies, one enabled and one disabled. Also note that since disabled apps are not seen by iTunes, they will not be updated by iTunes until they are re-enabled.

    I'm truly interested in feedback and plan to implement a lot more features as people request them! iApps Helper runs fine on all the PCs in my family (XP & Vista) and also in PCs in several friends' houses, but I need more testers to know if there are issues like running properly in countries other than the USA.

    I should add this:

    I've been thinking about charging a few bucks for iApps Helper, but have never done that before. I'm struggling with how to make that work. Until I do charge, I've made a feeble attempt at getting some compensation: a small window at the bottom shows the top 3 lines of a web page that shows simple text ads related to iPhone and other gadgets. I'd much rather charge a small fee instead, and am VERY open to input on this topic as well! (I'm evaluating eSellerate's tools, to maybe require registration to use one of the key features.) So for now, it can be called "free" and lamely ad-supported, but in the future it will (maybe) be shareware.
    ------------------double post merged------------------
    Thank you so much, studangerous. I'm a 50-year-old nerd/programmer (and a gadget-lover), not a slick marketer or anything like that, and I've never put any code I've written "out there" for the world to use before. Your encouragement is really appreciated!

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