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The state of paid Sailfish apps, and app Ecosystem.

asked 2017-10-31 01:12:42 +0300

Desmo gravatar image

updated 2017-11-03 02:28:37 +0300

XFish gravatar image

[update: title to make more objective] While I'm glad that Jolla and SF exist and that they've released the OS to their small community of beta testers (us) it doesn't address the glaring empty hole that is the SF ecosystem.

First I want to say a huge thank you to all the devs who have released apps and to OpenRepos. Without OpenRepos we would be stuck with the pitiful offering that is the Jolla Store.

For 4 years SF users have been asking for paid apps and Jolla's reluctance to even address the topic since their last response 2 years ago speaks volumes. Somewhere along the line Jolla's business plan of what they wanted to do changed and that change doesn't involve us. Actions speak louder than words...it always has and always will. It seems that these days Jolla is only interested in licensing Sailfish to BRICS nations and those on the BRICS periphery while leading the charge in creating a vibrant ecosystem has been tossed out the window. They won't say it flat out as they would lose a large chunk of their free beta testers...us.

There's no excuse that after 4 yrs the store is what it is. I was an N9 user and the N9 had a nice collection of good, AAA apps and even some games from Gameloft. Private devs released excellent, high quality apps since they could monetize their work and many of us N9 users gladly paid for these apps.

When the N9 died many devs gravitated to BB10. When BB pulled the plug on OS10 a couple of years back many of those same devs waited for some news from Jolla. Nothing ever came and to this day it's still not addressed. I can only imagine how many good devs through in the towel and now develop only for Android and IOS. I reached out to a few and while they were frustrated at the time, now they just don't care anymore...not only have they lost interest in developing for SF, they're not SF users anymore either. That is a big loss to us, regardless of how anyone wants to twist it.

Since it's obvious that we are on our own the question is how do we get the ball rolling?

Today I reached out to the Opera Store and asked them about hosting apps and paid apps on their store. I'll see what they say. In addition, I would like feedback from anyone who is interested in getting a store going where we can host paid apps for our devs who want to monetize their work. Has anyone done this in the past? What are the costs involved? I've been doing research for the past week but would like input from knowledgeable SF users.

We're on our own here guys and gals. If we don't do something, Jolla and no one else will. I know that we can come up with something as this community is fantastic already. Just going through OpenRepos shows you what a dedicated group we are/have in coming with solutions for all kinds of problems.

Thanks for taking the time to read...


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Perhaps Openrepos could be the launch pad for paid apps?

Edz ( 2017-10-31 01:47:18 +0300 )edit

@Desmo can you tell me an example of a good paid app that you miss on sailfish?

i personally dont want paid apps because they encourage closed source. i dont want that. but mostly the big apps that are missing for most people are free anyway: skype, facebook, whatsapp, instagram, snapchat...

the issue is that sailfish is just too small... and that wont change for a while.

and 100 flashlight apps for 1€ wont change that either.

whats really missing is an easy option to donate money imo.

misc11 ( 2017-10-31 05:40:27 +0300 )edit

To pay to stuff-around when your idle go Android or IOS, they're both great for this purpose.

For better practical usage, the only way for Sailfish is to offer great value out of the box: you'd buy a Sailfish device and get what you need to adequately communicate, record and navigate. 3rd party development would cover special-case needs, also the terminal + the usual command-line programs would let people roll-their own solutions to specific problems.

Even with payment there's little incentive to develop & maintain a quality program for a tiny number of subscribers. A flood of crappy minimal-effort programs (web portals) on the reops will be a more likely outcome (as happened with BB10). On top of this, monetization forces a reduction of security measures a user can be permitted to take as it may be in violation of agreements with 3rd party developers (which may not be made otherwise).

cpb ( 2017-10-31 05:43:54 +0300 )edit

From a user's perspective I would change the title to the pitiful state "appshops" I can see why it is popular as it offers advantages to all parties being either phone maker, developer, user. But that does not mean it is a good concept. We can't expect payment options in the appstore to be key to generate quality or less clutter. Let's take a look on an iPhone 6s, an "ecosystem of which I genuinely know little to nothing". First the page opens with suggestions that make the experience as painful as watching commercial TV. Searching for "xmpp secure" results in about 6 "free apps" and 1 paid. -No indication of user appreciation or quality, just a random list, it appears. The paid one is very expensive at 55 Euro's. Clicking on it: not enough reviews to make a summary of reviews but you can find a link to a web site there: And yes a web site seems to be needed for further convincing that the 55 Euro's are buying you not just a bag of air because the iOS appstore fails to convey that message. So I conclude I can as well go "1999" and websearch first in the hope that some users outside the appstore "ecosystem" have reviewed or compared exactly what I am looking for. Duckduck go "xmpp secure for iOS", and I find "chatsecure" presented by freedomhacker.net.. And yes this is also in the iOS appstore list, again without reviews. So it must mean something? How is it possible that communication oriented apps have no reviews in the mighty app store of the first smartphone brand? Sad state of Android, iOS, Jolla appstore indeed. A mess is a mess be it 2K or 500K rubbish programs that somehow hope to benefit from this easy transport that allows them to jump into the face of the unsuspecting (paying) customer. Developers may benefit from it but imo should in parallel use a professional webpage such as for example https://www.meteorasoftworks.com/
Good software deserves this.

The biggest disadvantages of the Jolla shop I came across on the iPhone appstore:

vandersmash ( 2017-10-31 07:55:00 +0300 )edit

The biggest disadvantages are shared by Jolla shop iPhone appstore: -way too much junk -failure to autodetect wither local bus service or singer is of any interest for me 10000 km away -lack of sensible honnest and in dept reviews up front

vandersmash ( 2017-10-31 08:02:45 +0300 )edit

16 Answers

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answered 2017-10-31 21:16:47 +0300

MartinK gravatar image

In my opinion the lack of allowed libraries and APIs, restrictive rules and in general many hoops developers have to jump through to get their apps to the Jolla Store is a bigger problem than the lack of paid apps support.

Other than that there are other issues:

  • no web UI; no way to point other users (or potential future users) to an application by giving them a link
  • no new comment notification for app developers - yeah, really!! - you have to periodically check your application entry in the Jolla Store app for new comments & do all replies using your phone/tablet
  • the current built-in donation support sucks - not only is Flatter not really widely used & has no good ToS, it's also not integrated with the account system at all - users have to handle all authentication & donations individually using the web browser

For Open Source minded users these additional features would be nice ti have as well:

  • show application license
  • build application from source on trusted infrastructure, so that users can be reasonably sure the source code actually corresponds to the binary distributed by Jolla Store (no major Linux distros accept binary uploads from packages, everything is built on their own trusted build infrastructure)
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I totally agree with you that Jolla Harbour (Store) is too restrictive. Especially if you need to use some low-level code/libraries/API you are out of luck to get the app published on Jolla Harbour.

Addtionally Jolla also does not release all the APIs of all the implemented features and claim that they are unstable for years.

In my opinion the missing APIs and the restrictive Harbour store rules are the main reason of missing high-quality apps. And the missing paid app/ monetization (without ads) option is the second reason.

Alex ( 2017-10-31 23:15:33 +0300 )edit

There's ways around the trusted build infrastructure limitations; it only partly addresses the origin issues (take for example a simple wrapper which unpacks a gzipped blob, for instance). The wrapper will be signed, but the content will still remain unsure. Or other packages which subsequently download on the fly (from whatever service out there).

tortoisedoc ( 2017-11-01 00:01:57 +0300 )edit

thanks @MartinK and @Alex for speaking up. A dev who's site I go to regularly lists the two things Alex listed...missing APIs along with incomplete documentation and no option or even discusstion to monetize apps as the reason he and others have abandoned SF.

Desmo ( 2017-11-01 01:02:04 +0300 )edit

@tortoisedoc The idea is that the source code would be open & available for users/community to inspect. So anyone willing to look would be able to spot stuff like this and act accordingly (eq. not install the app due to possible security implications).

MartinK ( 2017-11-02 13:37:12 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-11-01 14:26:48 +0300

I pretty much agree with you @Desmo and with the other answers here in this thread - the situation is terrible, both for "normal" users and developers. Jolla has clearly stated that they have other priorities and if we want to improve, it's up to us to do something about it.

As a developer (I've developed the Twitter client Piepmatz and the offline dictionary Wunderfitz) the situation bugged me a lot over the last weeks and months. I wrote the apps more or less because there was nothing comparable which I liked in OpenRepos or the Jolla Store. So, I covered the features which I needed for myself and published the apps while making everything open source, because somebody may like it too or learn from the code. Of course, especially for popular apps like Piepmatz, more and more feature requests come in and I keep on asking myself: Why should I implement them if I don't need them on my own and should spend my precious spare time on things I don't need? The answer is for me: I'll do it if I get something valuable in return - no matter what it is!

Yes, a fellow SFOS user here in Berlin made a great cake and I received 2 (!) postcards which I asked for instead of donations, but I have to admit that's not really enough so that I start implementing things which I don't need. I'm not so much looking for fame or anything similar which I would get if I have a big, big user base. So in the end it again comes down to money.

So, what about donations? I consider donations to be a terrible thing. In my opinion, they really devalue the hard work behind great (and in many cases also not so great) apps. They are not even close to be compulsory or reliable, so you can't count on them. I'm not a beggar who should be dependent on the goodwill of my users. There's a price tag on everything in our life (especially the Andrioid folks pay with information about their life) and that should be the case for SFOS apps as well - but I would like to avoid advertising/spying etc. at all costs!

Thus, the alternatives for me are clear: Either paid apps work to a certain extent or I stop developing/publishing for SFOS! I would like to try paid apps for the SFOS world - taking the special requirements of the SFOS world/community into account. It's clear that with the current user base of a few 10'000 users most likely no app will ever generate enough money so that the development costs are covered. But if it's possible to generate a few hundred or even thousand Euro per app, it would still be OK for me.

Over the last weeks I've sketched a system which could potentially do that while keeping everything open source and which is compatible with the current OpenRepos/Jolla Store ecosystem. Mainly because of taxation, it would be restricted to users within the EU (which will cover about 2/3 of my users), but that's a fair start. If it works out, it could evolve into a generic solution also for other devs. However, before implementing everything, I'll start with a small survey among my users with the next Piepmatz version. I'm curious how many will respond and how many they would be willing to pay for it...

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@Ygriega thank you very much for your comments. Your opinion carries more weight than anything I could say as YOU ARE part of that group that keeps this ecosystem alive. It is up to us and us alone to expand what we have. Whatever help you need feel free to reach out. While I'm not a coder I know my way around linux. The company I work for is a manufacturer and all of our products run on top of SLES11. We also have an external coding house at our disposal and many of them write apps on the side. If you get a positive reception from your users then we should talk to share some ideas about what we have found out in our respective research.

Desmo ( 2017-11-01 16:40:47 +0300 )edit

Thanks for your reply and your offer. For now I don't need any external resources, just some time over the next days (and probably weeks) to implement the design in a very first version and ship the next version of Piepmatz with the aforementioned survey. Also the steps afterwards (if the survey results are promising) aren't really a problem from the implementation perspective - that would be pretty straight forward. It's rather the necessary housekeeping what needs some clarification - registering a business in Germany, notifying my employer that I have a part-time business on my own (anti-competition rules), tax registration to be able to sell software across the EU etc...

Ygriega ( 2017-11-02 11:27:39 +0300 )edit

I use your app and will pay for it, I like it!

BonoNL ( 2017-11-03 22:19:58 +0300 )edit

I have multiple huge problems with the paywall you implemented: the payment is neither managed by you, jolla or the sailfish community. By being managed by "DigiStore24" I don't know where my money goes I don't know where my ethics goes and I don't know how much do you get. It also create inconsistency with the rest of apps that are free to use. I'd rather give you 100 euros directly to you through paypal than using this "DigiStore24". Additionally this add UX problems because I have to manage with a store that isn't even an app on my phone and disconnected from the rest of the ecosystem. Even worse: it seems to be just a random "licence key" string like when I was a kid buying games and trying to keep the key like gold to be sure to be able to still install my games (and at the end I just install crack because it's simpler than managing those keys...)

That's why I just downgraded piepmatz 0.5...

NeWin ( 2018-05-01 20:39:39 +0300 )edit

@NeWin Thanks for your comment. Jolla made it pretty clear that they currently have other priorities than establishing an own paid app option in their store. So that isn't an option. Then the Sailfish Community. You need a company with a lot of expertise and experience to handle such complex things as payments in multiple markets properly from a legal and organizational perspective. As far as I know there is not even a single Community company out there, let aside one with the required know-how. So, this is also not an option. So what about me and my company WerkWolf? Theoretically, this would be possible, but that would require a lot of time and/or money upfront. However, I wanted to concentrate on the things which count: My apps and a framework which enables payments for Sailfish OS. So I decided to outsource the payments, billing, tax handling, sales automation etc. to an external company. Digistore24 was the best fit (of course with some compromises) - especially with respect to data privacy as they operate under German laws and I has been using their services as customer several times as well. If you want to know how much I get, check out https://docs.digistore24.com/knowledge-base/digistore24-calculator/?lang=en

Concerning the "inconsistency": Well, somebody needed to start with paid apps. That's what this thread is all about. If everything works out fine, there will be much more paid apps in the future...

If you want to pay me directly 100 Euros, feel free to do so. Please send me an e-mail and I'll send you a proper invoice even without the need of PayPal (they actually want a lot of commission) - just using a SEPA transfer.

Concerning the key: You don't need to enter the key again on the same device as it's automatically registered . And if you get other devices, you can use the same key for 3 other ones. It's not hard to keep an e-mail or ask me to send it again. There is no need to think it's easier to crack it...

Anyway, have fun with version 0.5!

Ygriega ( 2018-05-01 21:40:50 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-10-31 11:42:41 +0300

Kao gravatar image

Whatever you do, please do NOT go for monetization through advertising. It would totally destroy the clean and out-of-your-way style that makes Sailfish OS so special. In my opinion the so called "free" software that reduces its users to mere fodder for the target advertising networks is the great evil of our times.

That said, any kind of commercial solution will attract the make-money-fast scammers long before the AAA game companies. Defending store quality against spam and review bots is dreadfully expensive; Apple tried that and failed. In contrast, free software works because even a small community can keep it going, and thus it is a great fit for Sailfish OS.

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make-money-fast scammers come with paid apps; by itself, free software is quite a weak defence in that sense (free software can be paid for, believe it or not).

tortoisedoc ( 2017-10-31 12:35:51 +0300 )edit

I'm not looking for games I only used it as example of what we had with the N9. Why is everyone talking about what goes on with the big stores when we are nothing like the big stores and never will be? Just like with linux in general when you're not even 2% of world users you're not going to be targeted en masse. Yes, there are those who will but they are easy to weed out and blackball.

Desmo ( 2017-10-31 17:12:07 +0300 )edit

@Desmo I am not against commercial solutions per se, just bad experience with the big ones. And I doubt a small store (Jolla?) for Sailfish OS alone would be commercially feasible. But I like your idea of joining an existing store (Opera?) - It might be worth for them to add the Sailfish platform if it generates good will and maybe boosts their Android sells in the process. More choice is good... as long as we can avoid mandatory Adware.

Kao ( 2017-10-31 20:01:57 +0300 )edit

@Kao I got a response from Opera but it was from a customer support rep and she had no idea what I was talking about. She asked me to please clarify further....I don't know how to clarify the question "would you be willing to host apps for Jolla's Sailfish OS?"

I need to figure out how to get to someone higher than basic customer support. Someone who can give their blessing and then speak with senior community members about going forward. The trick is finding who that person is.

Desmo ( 2017-11-01 00:18:17 +0300 )edit

Well, you could explain that Sailfish OS is a successor to Symbian OS (close enough). And stress the point that it is a commercial product focused on BRICS but with international distribution. Which I gather is Opera Stores target audience as well. (Now I wonder if Jolla would actually be OK with a third party store hosting software for their platform, and profiting from it.) Anyways, good luck in your effort!

Kao ( 2017-11-01 01:40:51 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-11-01 23:02:11 +0300

dysko gravatar image

updated 2017-11-01 23:04:25 +0300

I don't know what to say...

  • In 2012 I had published nWallet Android app, with "buy me a coffee" option. Only 30-40 users used that option and in total there was a maybe 300 USD in total.
  • Then I decide to monetize by Ads, but disabling ads for users who donated before. It generated 150 USD. It wasn't enough to cover anything. A few months ago I simply decided to terminate app development, support and to remove it from the PlayStore.

I had N9 before and I am Sailfish user since day 1. I have created few apps in that time and I am mostly proud with:

  • Tooter - Native Mastodont client for SailfishOS
  • Pingwiini - Native Twitter client for Sailfish OS) and
  • CityBikes - Bike stations tracking

Mine problems were:

  • Poor documentation without enough examples. Most of my dev time was spent on the trial and error, and searching is someone already done something similar and learning from them;
  • Harbour is missing so many options that it hurts (comments, stats, web version, rollback...) PlayStore is a dream come true for app publishers.
  • A lot of APIs are reserved for Jolla only: before this update, simple image picker was in "forbidden" list;
  • No paid option for app monetization with price and subscription version (it is ok to learn something new, but devs can't live with tap on the back and tnx in comments);

I don't know... Just wanted to share this with you.

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I think, you would have the opportunity to earn more money with paid app support in Jolla store. The user base is much smaller, but your apps have less competitors on SFOS and the audience is different. Where on android maybe only 0.01% see your app and only a few are willing to pay due to free or adware alternatives, on SFOS probably 90% of some 20.000 Users see your app and if it is worth it, maybe 1-10% are willing to pay which would give you the theoratical revenue of up to 1800 EUR if you offer it for 1 EUR. Not much, but maybe better then on android.

naytsyrhc ( 2017-11-02 01:41:32 +0300 )edit

@dysko, thanks for your contributions!

Your story is a prime example of the way paid stores work, it just is not worthwhile to do.

If I needed your applications I'd do as I normally do, donate about 5eur...10eur to you. If I really use the application a lot, I do it yearly. But I do that only for applications that are open source. (and it might be that I could try Mastodon, except that up to now I never had used any messaging protocols and probably never will...)

juiceme ( 2017-11-02 11:00:03 +0300 )edit

@ juiceme while you conveniently don't mention that his last problem point was not having the ability or CHOICE to monetize his creations on Jolla's or another SF store.

Desmo ( 2017-11-02 19:03:34 +0300 )edit

@Desmo as I see it @dysko just proved how difficult it is to monetize applications even on the stores which are all but geared towards that goal... How do you think it would go on Jolla store where there are just a few thousand potential eyeballs??

As I see it the only way to do it is the first way he describes, to have the "buy me a coffee" option.

The problem with paid option is that there will just be handful of people who will buy the application.

juiceme ( 2017-11-02 19:26:42 +0300 )edit

come on @juiceme...you seriously believe that we will have the same problems as the Android app store? Competition is completely saturated over there...it's near impossible to get any app notices on that store. SF on the other hand has zero...no competition and we only have a few hundered apps.

We are STARVING for apps...every SF user would notice a new app immediately as the buzz on this forum would take off for a good quality app...even if it was a paid app that but did a particular job.

I don't know why you're against this...I have no desire to see Jolla's store get paid apps. That ship has sailed. I want to do my own thing or have Opera accept apps with their current infrastructure. You can stay on the Jolla store and you will NEVER see or have to use a paid app.

So why are you against us doing our own thing?

Desmo ( 2017-11-02 19:43:09 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-10-31 09:26:01 +0300

tortoisedoc gravatar image

updated 2017-10-31 09:59:40 +0300

Please note I do not work for jolla. To put it simply : it's complicated. For what I can see, a few reasons that chip off from my hat :

A) the user base does not yet justify the investment for the development / infrastructure. Ecosystem is important, sure, but no users = no ecosystem. Setting up a paid app infrastructure requires a ton of technical work, and 1000 tons of legal work for each country where this should be usable from (taxation anyone?)

B) not even the community has yet chipped in (see Qt api's for android / ios store, would be a great starting point); only nagged about it (truth hits everybody, I know). The call of duty bears too much responsibility to have it shared, with the current tools available.

C) selling free software as paid apps is complicated, on all levels. Which re: to point A). I suspect this explains why the community has not chipped in yet on the topic, hence explains B). When money comes into play, the mindset becomes more serious by a magnitude of millions, and responsibilities get real.

This said;

it is true, that jolla could have contacted Opera store, for example, to ask them to host paid apps (they have their own android store). This however fragments the harbour store into two, which (from a product standpoint) utterly sucks.

It is also true, that as a Operating System provider (which jolla claims themselves to be), they could provide support for in-app interfaces in the first place (via Qt for example), leaving the backend handling to the developers, but this way easying the integration.

In order to enable the community to step forward, the problem of the responsibility for handling transactions and storing money needs to be addressed. And nowadays there are tools for such purpose (yes, I mean blockchain).

One could envision, for instance, each SFOS user to be able to sell/buy via cryptocurrency from the jolla store. Developers could cash-in on transactions to buy sold items; and users could execute purchases.

This would resolve most (if not all) of the cost issues; the main issue would be the real money -> cryptocurrency conversion; as well as the difficulty to constantly update the pricepoints (to keep real prices fixed from the cryptocurrency fluctuations).

A bigger issue, however, is the tax man.ve It remains to be seen how this could fit into the picture with cryptocurrency? Any legal experts could chip in on this?

I believe a platform like ethereum could be a viable starting point.

I can believe this is something

a) the community could work on

b) would not require costs for hosting

c) would require "only" integration into the harbour store. But given precedences like (the floppy) flattr, I'd assume some of this work might have been already addressed.

There are many points of discussion on this topic. Perhaps this is a good discussion point with jolla on the monthly #mer meeting!

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No one seriously uses cryptocurrencies. They're stupidly difficult in use, and don't actually solve any problems.

nthn ( 2017-10-31 10:14:50 +0300 )edit

That's why there'd be need to productize it properly to make it as close as possible to flattr (in terms of experience), if not better (flattr is not simple either if you ask me). The main issue that remains, IMO, is the taxation. And jolla's part in this (ie. which piece of the stake they would like)

tortoisedoc ( 2017-10-31 11:42:33 +0300 )edit

Forget about discussing this with Jolla. We've been waiting for how long now? You want to keep on waiting for another couple of years? I don't. There are doers in this world and there are those who sit on the sideline waiting for others to do something. If we wait any longer we're simply going to lose more devs.

Desmo ( 2017-10-31 17:01:45 +0300 )edit

@nthn they are still rather difficult for the masses to get into, however lots of startups are getting into them, which will make that a thing of the past (like whenhub for example, a startup scott adams got into will make use of ethereum and will be just an app for people to download/install)

szopin ( 2017-10-31 21:53:02 +0300 )edit

@nthn@szopin exactly, the productization is finally taking off. The key point would be which chain to use (existing? new one? If so, how? ICO's?); after that, making sure the price points of applications remain constant is most likely the biggest challenge. Perhaps an origin-validation key could be taken directly from the blockchain. This would then potentially free Jolla from licensing enforcing burden (for apps which so require). Here's an example of such a startup : http://license.rocks/

tortoisedoc ( 2017-11-01 00:07:22 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-04-17 14:36:56 +0300

Bringing this topic back on top with a new answer. :) As you probably already heard, my company WerkWolf launched a payment framework together with Piepmatz 1.0 last weekend, detailed information on https://werkwolf.eu/piepmatz.html. It features Wagnis (see discussion on https://together.jolla.com/question/175203/wagnis-developer-tool-registration-paid-app-support/) and works with OpenRepos and the Jolla Store.

Coming back to @Desmo's original comment "We're on our own here guys and gals. If we don't do something, Jolla and no one else will.": Now we have something which could be extended to a decentralized service offering to all developers for SFOS. :) Therefore, some questions go now to the Community and especially to developers:

  1. What do you think about the solution?
  2. Is there any dev with a concrete interest in using such an infrastructure as well?

Thanks in advance for any comments, ideas etc. and best regards, Sebastian

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As already mentioned on Twitter: I appreciate your approach. It utilizes the well established distribution channels and only requires to buy a license from an external shop. Ideally you would integrate this purchase process into the app. However for me switching over to that website wasn't an issue for me. I hope this will get adopted by other developers and accepted bu the users

jollajo ( 2018-04-18 00:33:46 +0300 )edit

I must say I haven't tested it since I am somewhat away from twitter. However, I would like to congratulate you for developing this platform! Its great that you keep twitter client open source and can plugin such module to push users to pay for your work. Good luck!

rinigus ( 2018-04-18 17:29:39 +0300 )edit

I'm not a heavy user of twitter, either but paid for Piepmatz anyway because I want to encourage this new method of appreciating a developer's work.

Timm ( 2018-04-19 15:04:05 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-11-02 15:24:57 +0300

yurumi gravatar image

updated 2017-11-02 17:11:05 +0300

I fully agree with @Desmo and @Ygriega. Until now I've developed two apps (Sailabag and Schwarzenmaker) with the following stats:

  • Sailabag: 452 Downloads (305 Active), 51 Likes, 18 Reviews, no code contributions
  • Schwarzenmaker: 832 Downloads (457 Active), 75 Likes, 15 Reviews, no code contributions
  • Total Flattr revenue: €23.56 (over the last 2.5 years)

My motivation for creating (and releasing) these apps was (descending importance):

  1. I wanted to use them myself.
  2. Learn how to develop an app, i.e. code improvements / pull requests by others.
  3. Feedback, discussions and feature proposals.

As you can see, earning money was no goal. Although some people gave feedback and flattred (thanks alot for this!), all in all I feel like 2. and 3. are not satisfactory leaving only 1. as a motivator. Right now I have two apps which are 80% finished so I can use them for myself. I don't feel like finishing the last 20% as it is very much work. Speaking for myself, paid app support would definitely motivate me to release the apps – if someone is willing to buy your app it's like an implicit feedback.

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@yurumi thanks for the feedback. Without you devs still coding for us it would be a desert.

Are you going to stay with SF or will you be moving on in the future?

Desmo ( 2017-11-02 19:19:48 +0300 )edit

I'm going to stay with SF as it is inspiring and leaves much space for creativity (i.e. shortcomings you have to cope with as SF user ;-). Besides I really like Qt/QML I don't feel the urge to develop something for android leave alone iOS. Still it is frustrating how Jolla is ignoring the paid app topic...

yurumi ( 2017-11-02 23:09:44 +0300 )edit

@yurumi good to hear...another soldier still in the ranks :)

Desmo ( 2017-11-03 12:39:15 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-11-02 18:56:26 +0300

ABeam gravatar image

As a software developer skilled in the C++/C# world and professionally engaged in the area of industrial automation, I am reading all comments/answers with high interest. Next to spending free time with my family, I was not able/willing so far to go beyond the installation of the development environment and some first proof-of-concepts. For me it is clear that getting any money for my development would not be worth the effort (income tax, agreeing with my company about this new side-job, etc.).

Some ideas coming to my mind how to make the development side more attractive:

  • In order to make me invest my precious time I must be able to have a steep learning curve with quick successes. (Already addressed as topic documentation and APIs)
  • My contribution must be valued, which would be the case when it is helpful to others.
  • It must be clear that I work for the greater good, for a reasonable purpose.

Is there a most-wanted list of all the app requests from together.jolla.com? How can collaboration be supported for those devs not able to invest hundreds of hours? Are best-practises properly documented and accessible in an easy and prominent way? What is the entry point for new developers?

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I consider the issue with payed apps similarly to you (tax / too busy real job / ...) and was mainly a user of open-source software. When I decided to move to SFOS, it became rather quickly clear that unless you do anything yourself, not much will change. And starting to write open source software was a way to pay back the use of the software by others. Now, closer to the questions:

  • Learning: For me, the hardest part was learning QML. If you have worked with it, you are in the clear. Otherwise, just invest time into learning QML syntax (its really weird to declare variable id within structure) and QML interaction with C++.

  • Value: it will be valued if the product is good :). In general, community is small and users tend to know who developed what, I guess.

  • Greater good/most wanted: The following worked for me: Find what's missing for YOU in SFOS application landscape. Find the app that's closest to what you want and contact the developer(s) and suggest your help. If there is no such app, maybe there is something similar in Linux and its possible to bring it over to SFOS by splitting backend and frontend.

  • Best practices: depends on the project. Larger projects (if you port something and adjust for SFOS) have good review system, some have guidelines. Many original apps in SFOS are single-programmer job and then it would depend on that developer. For Mer backend - there is a separate issue tracker, but I don't know about entry points.

rinigus ( 2017-11-03 22:04:29 +0300 )edit

@rinigus: Thanks for your elaborated input! I will see what kind of empty space I can find for my efforts.

ABeam ( 2017-11-13 23:42:31 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-10-31 07:46:48 +0300

juiceme gravatar image

Of all the applications I use (and there are very good ones in the Jolla Store too) I always donate to the developers directly. Sometimes it is difficult because the developers don't give out paypal details or anything, but asking from them by email helps... (and then there are some who have flat out refused to accept my money, kudos to them!)

So in reality there is nothing to be gained from paid apps, it is up to the user to give out donations if they wish to do so!

What I do miss, though, is some proprietary-protocol applications (from banks for example) but having paid apps would not bring those any closer, all of those are free applications also on Apple anf Google stores.

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@juiceme I agree and disagree with you. Donations are half a dozen, and all very minimal (for my apps I can count them on 30 fingers)

On top of that; I believe the right to choose if the app should be free or paid belongs to the developer, and only to him / her.

tortoisedoc ( 2017-10-31 09:42:14 +0300 )edit

I agree with you 100% on the above point, the right to choose whether the application is paid/gratis, open/closed, that all is the right of the developer.

OTOH, It is also the right of the user to choose to not install paid or closed applications if it suits her :)

I just point out my own opinion that having pay-for-download application option available would not increase the number of applications in the store.... quite possibly it would lead to a flood of not-good-for-anything junk just like in major allication stores!

juiceme ( 2017-10-31 10:22:43 +0300 )edit

@juiceme thats possible! But ofc there's always QA

tortoisedoc ( 2017-10-31 10:52:59 +0300 )edit

@juiceme Sorry, I have to disagree. I keep on going back to the N9 store but there was very few junk apps littered all over that store. Our community is too small for that to happen en masse like in the big stores. We don't even register on the radar of about 95% of users or devs. Whether you decide to install is up to you and that's fine...but the option should be available for our devs. Some devs who made good apps for the N9 have moved on due to this very issue.

Desmo ( 2017-10-31 17:07:34 +0300 )edit

@Desmo so what do you propose?

tortoisedoc ( 2017-10-31 19:25:06 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-11-02 17:31:47 +0300

XFish gravatar image

updated 2017-11-03 02:36:49 +0300

@Desmo Flattr actually already exists, including paypal and other vehicles used by the community of devs in openrepos, i dont see whats wrong with using Flattr i have contributed about $75 to devs over the years, not much but i am also not shy to donate.
What i do agree with is payment/donations should be as easy and convenient as possible, maybe Jolla can leverage their Jolla store and software store to start hosting apps, i do however caution that creating paid versus non-paid apps results usually in ADs versus Non-AD apps, which Jolla and most users probably despise as an ecosystem.
It should therefore be Flattr/Paypal/Credit Card, easy to Donate options, maybe a $1 flat fee, for all apps?
Jolla execution would be critical, it would be donation but opt out based, so before you can download the app, it would ask you to donate, If you say NO, it might charge a flat rate, are you ok with that, if not, the app may contain ads, so to OPT outs, which would get more people to pay up.

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Agree 100%! It should be one tap / donation.

tmy ( 2017-11-02 17:51:45 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2017-10-31 01:12:42 +0300

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Last updated: Apr 17 '18