Coming soon – updates

Thanks to those of you who have provided feedback. I’m still working on a couple of issues that I can’t seem to reproduce, but the next release will be available soon.

Fixes include:

  • Improved handling of different currencies, no more adding apples and oranges, or euros and dollars.
  • Improved column formatting
  • Other cleanup and efficiency improvement (internal changes)

New or greatly improved features include:

  • Multi-file selection on import (ie, bulk import)
  • Simpler selection criteria for reports and charts

In development which may or may not make it to this next release:

  • Pop-up calendar for selection by date range
  • Year-over-year, quarter-over-quarter and month-over-month comparisons
  • Manual sales record input (eg for a reprint sale, etc.)
  • User color choice on graphs and charts
  • New input formats, including Google eBooks, Comixology and Graphicly. (The latter two are digital comic distributers, and their report formats offer a bit more challenge than the others so far.)

Additional documentation is in the works. I plan to have a User Manual out soon, and of course it will be available as an ebook. Cheers.

Any glaring omissions or deficiencies in the above feature list? Let me know.

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MagicBakeShop-0.3a now available.

The latest development test version is available for download. The documentation has not yet been updated, but the process is the same as before: download the executable JAR file, click it and go.

Fixed: scrollbar problems, import speed, some file format issues, some file chooser inconsistencies

New: charts (two kinds), restrict view (and charting) by title, named exports, ad hoc queries (for database experts)

See the comments for more detail on the new features, known issues, etc.

Give it a try and let me know if you have any problems. Also please let me know if there are any particular charts or analyses or other functions you’d like added. Thanks.

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MagicBakeshop 0.3 – what’s new?

I’ve spent time this week developing different subsystems of the MagicBakeshop software. The most visually interesting is the data charting capability, here’s an example (don’t get hung up on the color choice, that can change):

chart: sales by vendor

Test chart: Title sales by vendor

The data selection is much improved, and the scrollbar problem on the main window is fixed.

Those of you with many titles or a lot of sales reports will be happy to know that I’ve sped up the data import: on my 1 GHz system it will load 1000 records in about 1/6th of a second. Got a million records? Less than a minute. Of course you can’t actually display a million records in the panel (unless you’ve got a lot more RAM than I do), so the view will limit itself to a couple of thousand records. Queries on the data, though, will work on the full million. Or more; there’s no set upper limit.

My task now is to integrate the disparate pieces back into the main program and package it up for you to play with. That should be done this weekend, stay tuned.

Got any other features you’d like to see or particular data queries you need to run? Let me know.

Edit to add: Another example of the kind of charts the graphing package is capable of.

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CreateSpace report issues

Tester Steve C. ran into a problem loading a CreateSpace report file into MagicBakeshop — something that had worked fine in testing.

It turns out that CreateSpace reports come in (at least) two different formats, a shorter form using 8 data columns, and the detailed report with 17 columns, with the extra columns mixed in. This confused the importer.

This is easily fixed. The next (0.3) test release will be able to figure out the difference and import accordingly. Indeed, I think the detailed format is preferred because of the extra data, but it’ll handle both.

By the way, can anyone explain what “Unit Fees” are and their relationship to List Price and Royalty on the CS detailed report? Thanks.

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Release early, release often?

Just as a general question, how to people feel about frequency of releases of new (test) versions?

One school of thought — popular in both the “agile development” and open source software communities — is “release early and release often”, but I don’t think most people want to be trying it out after every small change. Besides, there’s a bit of work to get it all packaged up in a releasable format. (It’s a little different when the main audience is folks like software developers or other computer geeks who will tolerate more rough edges in the install process. I know most of you are not.)

Initially releases will be more frequent as needed features are added and problems fixed, that should settle down as the product matures. I’m thinking I want version 0.3 out this weekend, fixing any major deficiencies, followed by 0.4 and 0.5 no more frequently than weekly.

I know this seems lightning-fast compared to mature commercial products, but they have large in-house testing staffs. Internally they may do releases to testing daily, at early stages of a project. You guys are my testing staff, but you all have plenty of other things to do, too. (Mind, I’m my own first tester — I have my own indie sales to track.)

I’d like to have a 1.0 “feature complete” version by the end of July or at any rate before Worldcon in August, but that’s me. Any thoughts?

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Welcome to the MagicBakeshop blog

Wow, things are happening quickly with this.  Forgive the appearance of this web site and blog, for now I’m just going with the default setup until I have some spare time when I’m not working on the MagicBakeshop software.  (By the way, for any of you who just wandered in off the streets rather than being directed here, what this software is about is explained best by Dean Wesley Smith here.)

The first early test version of the software is available — most of you will have probably found this blog by a reference to (or in) that version.   At this early stage of development I don’t want too many people trying it; I know it has deficiencies and quite likely bugs, and I’m working on them.  Some feedback is good – and suggestions and sample data for new formats are even better.   (Sample data can be sent to me at the support email address.   Feel free to post suggestions for new or different features in the comments section.)

I aim to have another version up in about a week, with more of the initial features complete.  I’ll announce that here.  (BTW, “I” am Alastair JW Mayer, software engineer and writer . I omit the middle initials in my fiction by-line.)

And since I own this particular microphone, I may spout off on other topics related to writing, software, writing software (in both senses), indie (indy?) sales, sales tracking, or anything else that seems related.

I will try not to bore you.  Cardinal rule of writing, and all that.

Cheers, and welcome.

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