YNAB for iPad

jessejesse Posts: 3,242Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
edited June 2013 in YNAB 4
I can't believe I'm writing this in the wake of the YNAB 4 launch, but people are clamoring for an iPad app even more than they were two weeks ago.

What I'm going to write below is subject to change. I share a lot of my thought processes at times, with the information I have, and the information I have changes. Please don't hold me to this as some kind of tablet I've carved into with a chisel. (Did you see what I did there? Referenced a tablet?).

Please re-read the above paragraph before you proceed :)

Here are my current thoughts and the state of things re: YNAB for iPad:

- As of June 30, 2012 absolutely no work has been done. We were all hands on deck for YNAB 4. I've been budgeting funds to eventually use for iPad development, but no actual work has been done. We didn't want to talk about YNAB 4 prior to its release, so we've been vague re: the iPad (we couldn't say, "Well, we're not working on it because we're working on YNAB 4". Here is me no longer being vague.

- At this moment, we hope to make YNAB for iPad stand completely on its own. It will not require the desktop version in any way.

- The iPad app will use Cloud Sync (that one's pretty obvious).

- The iPad app will cost money. I'm thinking somewhere in the range of $30-$40. In order to reward loyal YNAB fans, we'll probably do some kind of limited time slash in that cost. Probably cut it by 50-60%. Remember, I'm shooting from the hip here at the moment. You are not allowed to hold me to this.

- The iPad app will not be the iPhone app, but bigger. There's much more to it than just bigger touch targets. We'll want to take advantage of the screen size on the iPad and also give it a lot of fine touches that make the experience superb.

- We are starting from scratch. Not a single line of code has been written. Not a single design sketch has been made. We are now a startup, in this regard.

- Hopefully we'll be able to re-use some of the code from the iPhone, mainly the back-end business logic.

- We are starting from scratch with paradigms as well. The grid you see on YNAB 4 may not be appropriate for the iPad app. It may also do just fine. We are making no assumptions there. The key question in designing the app is not, "What does YNAB 4 do?" It's "How does one implement the YNAB Method easily, quickly, and correctly with their iPad?"

- I can't wait for it. I've wanted it I think for two years now. I'm glad we can afford to invest in it, while still continuing development of the three other major platforms (YNAB 4, iPhone, and Android).

- It's going to take a long time. I will never given an estimate. I'd be wrong. When I tell you the date that the iPad app will be ready, the subject line will be something like: "Get YNAB for iPad tomorrow. It Was Approved by Apple a Month Ago."

- I'm considering maintaining a separate email list where I let you guys know how it's going. I want to be transparent about our progress with it. I'm hesitant to show too much prelim stuff though because users will think, "They'll be done in a month!" Or they'll think, "Oh my gosh that's awful!" (when they see a sketch that's purposefully rough). So I'm not really sure exactly what to disclose, and what to keep to ourselves. I do know we wont' disclose a date. See the point above.

A brief history of my experience with three four major software releases. I still don't claim to be an expert. Many on here or the blog would likely do it better. I'm the captain, so I get to sink the ship:

YNAB Pro - it had two betatesters. Me and Taylor. We sold it before opening it up to more betatesters. How funny is that? I don't remember there being much todo about it, mainly because we were so teeny tiny small back then re: YNAB fans/users.

YNAB 3 - we promised it would be done by the end of 2009. We launched it as a paid beta on December 16, 2009 I believe. We would have liked to have had another month with it but we had promised everyone that it would be done before the end of the year. Taylor worked himself almost to a coma, and I spent money which almost put me in a coma. First and last time I carried credit card debt. It was awful. The launch should have been more enjoyable than it was. We were fried. We vowed that we would never, ever give an estimated launch date publicly again. We've held to that. There is no upside to it.

YNAB 4 - We swung the pendulum a bit too far. We should have said we were working on YNAB 4 and it would be a paid upgrade, and simply not given an estimate. We would have had people ask, timing their purchase to be in our grace period, and we would have had to tell them that we didn't know, and that maybe they should either wait, take the risk, or perhaps jump to a competitor. It would have let people know that Cloud Sync was coming as part of a major paid upgrade. There were fans that have been thinking Cloud Sync was "just around the corner" for months (a year) now, based on us vaguely saying, "We're working on it. It's going to be great." We still couldn't have given a date, but we could have told them it would definitely be paid, and let them make their own decision. We have to be brutally honest in our communications. I'll likely write a whole blog post on this. It's tough to tell someone, "That feature will never make it into the software." It's much easier to say, "Thanks! We'll look into that" because you don't want to come across as dismissive. If someone can craft a "No" to feature requests that doesn't come across as dismissive, I'll send you a I <3 YNAB shirt.

YNAB for iPad - With what I've learned from the three prior launches, my plan is to 1) still not give a date but 2) let people know we're working on it and maybe even shed some light on some early stuff with it. Basically, it's this thread. A thread that is subject to change at any moment ;) Adam, our awesome designer, is pretty afraid to show you guys say, an early comp, because 30% of the people will think that's a screenshot from the iPad and "Hey! It'll be here any day now!" Taylor's pretty afraid to show you guys some early prototype of an interaction with a transaction because you'd say, "oh my gosh! That has bugs in it! The app is worthless!" We're all afraid of touting some feature we're going to put in it, and even design and code for, and then we rip it out six weeks later. We do that. It bothers us, but it would really rile some percentage of the forum :)

All that being said, this is a tough thing to balance, transparency while also make sure the transparency is being interpreted correctly. I have no idea if what we'll attempt with iPad development will be any better...we'll just live and learn.

Wow. This thread is so long I feel like I should have at least dedicated it to someone. I dedicate it to Apple, for teaching me patience, and to never take things for granted. Like review estimates (See what I did there? Estimates aren't worth a thing! We don't give 'em either! :))
Post edited by Unknown User on
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Comments

  • Budget_NinjaBudget_Ninja Posts: 4,555Member, Beta Tester
    Thanks Jesse, I appreciate the transparency.
  • kmorgan221kmorgan221 Posts: 523Member, Beta Tester
    Great Info! I must ask, however...

    What about an Android Tablet app? :twisted:

    In all seriousness, I do appreciate the work that goes into any program development, but as an Android user with phones and tablets, I felt compelled to ask if a standalone Android tablet app is even on the table.

    Thanks for not shooting me for asking. :)
  • halfmoonboyhalfmoonboy Posts: 149Member, Beta Tester
    Good post, Jesse. One piece of advice, though: Delete the section about the price and possible discount and pretend you never wrote that publicly.
    invertsugar
  • TrevorTrevor Posts: 717Member, Beta Tester
    Looking forward to seeing how big this thread gets.

    I was secretly hoping that development had already begun in parallel with YNAB 4.
  • TProTPro Posts: 271Member
    If someone can craft a "No" to feature requests that doesn't come across as dismissive, I'll send you a I <3 YNAB shirt.

    How about:

    Thanks so much for your suggestion, we really appreciate it. In this case, unfortunately, the [feature you'd like to see] is not planned for development in YNAB. We are sorry if this presents an inconvenience to you and hope you will continue to benefit from what YNAB has to offer.

    Sincerely,
    YNAB


    As a user who has offered a few suggestions here and there, I would much rather know if it's "no" right off the bat (if that's the case) from the dev team than to be strung along hoping my pet feature(s) will appear in a future release.
    certixus
  • LarryFLarryF Posts: 38Member
    That's fantastic! Great news that it will be a standalone app that will do the accounts, budgeting and reporting all on the iPad!

    Since it will do cloud sync, it would be great it if we could still enter transactions on the iPhone, cloud sync them, and have them on the iPad as well (or vice versa).

    Thanks for all the hard work and I think an iPad mailing list would be great.
    invertsugarHollyPASR
  • Budget_NinjaBudget_Ninja Posts: 4,555Member, Beta Tester
    jesse wrote:
    If someone can craft a "No" to feature requests that doesn't come across as dismissive, I'll send you a I <3 YNAB shirt.


    1. "Thank-you for your suggestion. At this time we are only looking for good ideas."

    2. "Thank-you for your suggestion. We hadn't thought of that - and now I know why."

    3. "It just feels / seems cheesy to me and makes it feel like a child's fisher-price software instead of a serious tool." - Mike_Terror's end to the fill in the gap competition thread. :)



    PM me and I'll send you my address for the T-Shirt. :lol:
    RollinMama
  • LunaLuna Posts: 2,152Member, Beta Tester
    In Yoda style, I'll expect it when I see it. In the meantime, I'm happy.
  • cdubcdub Posts: 160Member
    I vote for a web based app that's compatible with ANY computer. It would work on an iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS app all in one. :)
    ljrain
  • PatzerPatzer Posts: 3,793Member, Beta Tester
    jesse wrote:
    If someone can craft a "No" to feature requests that doesn't come across as dismissive, I'll send you a I <3 YNAB shirt.

    "That's an interesting idea for a feature. Unfortunately, our available programming resources have already been budgeted to other projects."

    Yeah, I know. Not good enough for the shirt. Fortunately, I have enough in the clothing budget to buy my own shirts.

    Patzer
    RollinMama
  • axnonthebaldaxnonthebald Posts: 2Member
    +1 for Patzer
    RollinMama
  • JeapaJeapa Posts: 22Member
    Great post. Count me in on the iPad mailing list. :D
    HollyPASR
  • blackdiamondblackdiamond Posts: 2,306Member, Beta Tester
    Jesse,

    After reading your post I was thinking that you'll never be able to please everyone and the larger the YNAB user group is the more people there will be to be negative. I think the release of YNAB 4 has gone fairly well with the exception of the Apple hold up and sometimes things that are unexpected just happen.

    Also, if the iPad application is 100% stand alone then it should be the same prices as the desktop software. They are equals. I would only consider a discount for existing users that want to transition to the iPad or use it in addition to their other devices.
    HollyPASR
  • PiRhoPiRho Posts: 14Member
    Sounds great, Jesse.

    You make me wish I had the bandwidth to join your development team!
  • jam40jeffjam40jeff Posts: 147Member
    cdub wrote:
    I vote for a web based app that's compatible with ANY computer. It would work on an iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS app all in one. :)

    Native apps are always better. But if it's written using MonoDroid and MonoTouch, it should be possible to share the everything but the UI code between Android, iOS, and Windows 8 (WinRT).
  • cdubcdub Posts: 160Member
    Well HTML5 allows for native apps - via Native Client on Chrome.
  • DeguelloTexDeguelloTex Posts: 2,496Member, Beta Tester
    cdub wrote:
    I vote for a web based app that's compatible with ANY computer. It would work on an iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS app all in one. :)
    I guess you've missed all the complaints about the web-only help files.
  • RBernierRBernier Posts: 1Member
    Really looking forward to a stand alone iPad app whenever it is available. Maybe you could adopt the motto "We will release no app until it is time". :D Although the iPad app would be a separate stand alone app, would it also be able to sync with the desktop version via cloud sync if the user so desired?

    Ron Bernier
  • SoulSoul Posts: 51Member
    RBernier wrote:
    would it also be able to sync with the desktop version via cloud sync if the user so desired?

    I think that's a given :D
  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,528Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    Amazing to see the owner of the company being so transparent. You rock Jesse!
  • GirlpowerGirlpower Posts: 10Member
    Hi Jesse,

    Thanks so much for being upfront about the iPad app. I am one of those who has asked a few times if/when it will become available.....guess I somehow assumed it was already in the pipeline so do feel rather disappointed to now know that's not the case but very thankful for your honesty and integrity.

    I really feel at a cross roads right now and honestly don't know what to do because;
    1. I currently have YNAB3 for Mac
    2. Also have the iPhone version loaded on my iPad (not iPhone) as my preference.

    Until I read your post regarding the iPad, the following was going to be my course of action
    1. Patiently waiting for Apple to get their act together and give the green light for the iPhone app upgrade
    2. Then upgrade to YNAB4 so I can sync both systems as I currently do

    Next was to patiently await the iPad version with the realization that I would need to purchase that seperately but that it would still sync with the YNAB4 desktop version like the iPhone app will do when released but the iPad version would have more the same features as the desktop version.

    I live on my iPad but haven't even set up cloud as I think here in Australia we only get x amount of free cloud space before we have to pay for extra space (not techno minded, so apologies in advance) so I was still considering carrying on with wifi synching as I currently do plus I back up my data on a seperate hard drive should anything crash on my Mac.

    My predicament is that I probably won't want to upgrade to YNAB4 if the iPad isn't compatible with it but I was very keen to get the upgrade for bank reconciliation and more advanced budget report etc.

    Will you consider still having the IPad version compatible with the desktop version?
    I understand why you don't want to give a timeframe for the iPad release, Im just unclear as to which decision to
    make now?
    Any advice would be appreciated thanks
  • jesse_ohiojesse_ohio Posts: 91Member
    Girlpower wrote:
    Will you consider still having the IPad version compatible with the desktop version?

    I think he was saying that the iPad version will be desktop-independent in the sense that you can manage your entire budget from the iPad if you like, but it can still sync with the desktop, iPhone, etc if you want it to. In other words, you can use the desktop app AND the iPad app, or you can use just the desktop app OR just the iPad app. Your choice.
    HollyPASR
  • Turf_HackerTurf_Hacker Posts: 5,260Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    jesse_ohio wrote:
    Girlpower wrote:
    Will you consider still having the IPad version compatible with the desktop version?

    I think he was saying that the iPad version will be desktop-independent in the sense that you can manage your entire budget from the iPad if you like, but it can still sync with the desktop, iPhone, etc if you want it to. In other words, you can use the desktop app AND the iPad app, or you can use just the desktop app OR just the iPad app. Your choice.

    Correct. The vision is that any device that we develop for will be able to access the same budget file via cloud sync. Whether it's a PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, iPad, or any other device with a YNAB app the budget file will work with that device.
    ReikoChan
  • earlieqearlieq Posts: 4Member
    Jesse,

    As others have already said, I appreciate your honesty, and I urge you to just keep doing what you believe is best. I hear some frustration, fatigue and general overwhelmed-ness in your post, and I just want to urge you to remember to take the long view once in a while. You have a GREAT concept, you have crafted it into a product that just gets better with every release; you have good developers and a supportive, engaged user base. For many of us, discovering YNAB has been life-changing in a very positive way -- you provided that. Not many people can say that about their day to day work.

    Some folks want everything right now. Personally, I'm very happy with what YNAB does for my family. If it gets a little bit better, I'll be a little bit happier with it. If that takes six months or a year, so what? I'm not going anywhere.

    Just sayin' -- thanks, and hang in there.

    Earl
    DarraghBradyFrangipaniRollinMama
  • mozzie61mozzie61 Posts: 2,035Member, Beta Tester
    Girlpower wrote:
    I live on my iPad but haven't even set up cloud as I think here in Australia we only get x amount of free cloud space before we have to pay for extra space...
    I'm not sure which 'cloud' you're talking about, but YNAB uses Dropbox and the offer is the same worldwide i.e. 2 GB Free, which is more than enough for YNAB Cloud Sync.

    If you're talking about iCloud then it's 5 GB Free, and again no difference in Australia than the rest of the world (which is a nice change compared to Apple's pricing of hardware down under).
  • LunaLuna Posts: 2,152Member, Beta Tester
    earlieq wrote:
    Jesse,

    As others have already said, I appreciate your honesty, and I urge you to just keep doing what you believe is best. I hear some frustration, fatigue and general overwhelmed-ness in your post, and I just want to urge you to remember to take the long view once in a while. You have a GREAT concept, you have crafted it into a product that just gets better with every release; you have good developers and a supportive, engaged user base. For many of us, discovering YNAB has been life-changing in a very positive way -- you provided that. Not many people can say that about their day to day work.

    Some folks want everything right now. Personally, I'm very happy with what YNAB does for my family. If it gets a little bit better, I'll be a little bit happier with it. If that takes six months or a year, so what? I'm not going anywhere.

    Just sayin' -- thanks, and hang in there.

    Earl

    My sentiments, exactly. Well said, earlieq!
  • YishaiYishai Posts: 3Member
    A few points if I may.

    The improved transparency is much better. The best way to build credibility/reputation is to be transparent, so keep it up.

    Please allow some way to sync the iPad app back without cloud sync (that is, support the old wifi sync, something less than that (e.g. full replace), whatever). I know at least one customer more you will have because of that. (I realize that isn't tempting on its own, but think about how many more you will have who aren't posting here).

    Regarding the balance of free upgrade vs. launch date, when it becomes obvious (with the new transparency) that the launch is close enough that people hesitate to buy now (and a general 6 month promise is not enough because they may be 7 months out), you can commit to, not a launch date, but rather a date that if you buy it now you will get the upgrade for free, whenever it launches. You definitely don't want an announced new version out there causing people to hesitate and wait - companies have gone out of business doing that.

    Anyway, the upgrade is looking good. As a software developer I can definitely say this an impressive piece of work. You should be proud.
  • dmdunca44dmdunca44 Posts: 197Member
    Happy to know it is in the pipeline...
  • katokato Posts: 26Member
    Thanks Jesse. Really appreciate the communication. I'll wait for a good thing. Heck, I've been waiting for my iPad for way too long, but I'm almost there with my budget! So what's a while longer. Let me know when it's ready!
  • GirlpowerGirlpower Posts: 10Member
    jesse_ohio wrote:
    Girlpower wrote:
    Will you consider still having the IPad version compatible with the desktop version?

    I think he was saying that the iPad version will be desktop-independent in the sense that you can manage your entire budget from the iPad if you like, but it can still sync with the desktop, iPhone, etc if you want it to. In other words, you can use the desktop app AND the iPad app, or you can use just the desktop app OR just the iPad app. Your choice.

    Correct. The vision is that any device that we develop for will be able to access the same budget file via cloud sync. Whether it's a PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, iPad, or any other device with a YNAB app the budget file will work with that device.

    Thanks guys....I misunderstood and am now a very happy camper :D
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