Category: Development

The Road to 2.0: Migration from Toshl 1.X

As we are accepting the first limited batch of beta testers on the site, let’s take a look at how migrating your data from the previous version of Toshl will be like.

As you may have gathered from our sneak peek at 2.0 or our posts on the Toshl community forums, we will be changing how the expense data is structured in the new version.
 
This simply means we’ll be adding some new information to each expense, like categories, locations, reminders etc. Most of these are optional and don’t affect your existing data at all. The main change will come with tags and categories.
 
Here are the main things you need to know:
1. Every expense needs a category.
2. An expense can only have one category.
3. Tags are now optional.
4. You can still use as many tags as you want.
5. You can transform your existing tags to categories or leave some as tags.
 

The Migration

We have prepared a migration wizard to make this transition as smooth and understandable as possible. There will be a little bit of reading and clicking, but once you’re done, you will be able to use the new Toshl with all it’s new graphs, features and your existing data.
 
To not beat around the bush too much, let me just show you how the migration process will look like. Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress and that there are bound to be some changes before this ships in the final version.
 
step1
 
step2
 
step3
 
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget Step 4. Step 4 is for sorting incomes, Step 5 for sorting expenses. Otherwise the interface is the same, so let’s just skip to Step 5 one, as it’s a bit more interesting.
 
step5
 
The tags that you see in the red buttons on top are the ones that have been brought over from your existing Toshl data. When you’ll be migrating, your tags will of course show up there.  You might also notice that some tag names in this case already match the categories below. This is only because I have been experimenting with the tag names before and have manually renamed them in advance. Your tags will show up exactly as they were.
 
The easiest thing is to drag a tag into one of the categories that have been pre-created below. The other way is to click on the tag and you will see all the actions you can do with this tag.
 
We have developed a smart system to help match the tags that you would usually use together in a category. It depends a bit on how you used Toshl so far, but likely you won’t need to drag them all one by one as we can suggest some automatic moves for you.
 
step5-tag-details
 
After you have finished sorting all the tags we’ll show you where things stand in the new interface and you’ll then be able to see your data in the glory of the new graphs, lists and with some cheeky comments, courtesy of the Toshl monsters.
 
The interface for editing and merging categories, tags etc. will remain available as Edit categories even after you have already migrated. You can sort out some details there and perfect your categorisation system.
 
If you don’t like the results of the migration at all and would like to start over to sort the expenses and tags differently, you will be able to  revert the migration in Edit categories up to two weeks after you have done it. If you revert it, all your data will be returned to the state before the migration and you can go through the process again.
 
One of the reasons why we are posting this in advance is to get your feedback about the migration process. If there are things that are unclear or if you have additional questions, please ask us here or write to our private support. Perhaps you can help us improve the process before we release this for everyone to use.
Posted in Development

New mini app: Toshl Currency for Android

We have something new up our sleeve today. A new app called Toshl Currency. It will help you quickly convert currencies, calculate tips and you can already download it on Google Play.

Download Toshl Currency

 
Toshl Currency helps you convert currencies quickly and easily on your phone. We designed it to be simple, effective, yet pleasing to the eye. Simply enter the amount in foreign currency that you wish converted to your home currency and it will be done instantly.
 
Here’s what it has going for it: 
– simplicity
– daily refreshed exchange rates
– 165 currencies
– calculator: add, subtract, multiply and divide to your heart’s content
– tip calculator, quickly add or subtract a percentage
Toshl Currency screenshots
The full story
Now that you know the gist of the app, we can give you some details on how it came to be. A while back Kaja Prah joined our team during her internship. She was interested in building mobile apps, especially the cross platform kind. So we came up with a project that she could develop relatively independently, but still learn a lot and actually finish a complete project. So Toshl Currency came to be.
 
Toshl Currency actually features small bits of functionality that we’re building into the next Toshl Finance. The design of the keypad and the icon share many similarities with it, as well as the calculator and tip calculator functions that will be making their way to the full blown Toshl Finance.
 
An important difference is that Toshl Currency is built with web technologies, whereas the regular Toshl Finance is completely native due to greater complexity. Kaja built the app using the PhoneGap framework. It means it could also be deployed to other mobile platforms relatively quickly, but it would require additional polishing and testing. So we’ll rather let it be for the moment as we focus on our big update to Toshl Finance.
 
We asked Kaja for a comment to go with the release and she said: “Until now I never knew how much blood, sweat and tears goes into building an app.” We certainly hope the experience hasn’t left any permanent app phobia as she did a great job and we look forward to her future projects.
 
 
So now you know. Go, try out Toshl Currency and let us know what you think.
Before you ask, yes we’re very busy building our major release to Toshl Finance and it’s on track for this summer on iOS and Web and a bit later on Android and Windows Phone.
Posted in Announcements, Development

Microsoft Responds to Our Woes, Publishing on Windows Phone Marketplace Much Improved

In July, I wrote about our experiences with publishing Windows Phone apps on the Marketplace and compared it to walking barefoot on broken glass. Few months leading up to the post we had horrible experiences with publishing Windows Phone apps that broke the camel’s back and I felt I had to share what’s been going on in hopes of improvement. I’m glad to say things have much improved on the Marketplace front since then.

What happened next

The blog post generated quite a lot of interest and a lively debate on Hacker News. It turned out that the post was making the rounds at Microsoft as well, as the next day Joe Belfiore, VP of Windows Phone at Microsoft replied in the comments apologising and promising improvements. It was very refreshing seeing people very high up at Microsoft responding directly to developer concerns. It’s something that Apple is very much unwilling to do, so Microsoft’s approach was truly a breath of fresh air.

 

In fact the next week I had a call with the team in charge of the Windows Phone Marketplace and we went through the issues that we faced in the past months. They explained some of the background issues and promised improvements soon. Since they were obviously instructed by the management to initiate this meeting to appease us I was a bit sceptical about the actual delivery on these promises.
Luckily, I was soon very pleasantly surprised. Microsoft indeed updated their Windows Phone Dev Center and addressed most of the issues that were causing us problems. Let’s look at our original complaints and whether they were addressed.

 

Publishing apps worldwide – mostly fixed
With the update, they’ve expanded the developer registration to a lot more countries, including Slovenia and have quickly been adding new ones. Microsoft guys mentioned that they were previously using some of the components from the xBox publishing side, thus bring a lot of legacy issues such as illogically limited country support along. We’re glad that’s fixed now.

 

Publishing tools – mostly fixed
Uploading is much nicer now, Silverlight components make a lot less appearances making for a much nicer process. I can finally enter data normally in various browsers. The new layout is also much clearer and pleasing to the eyes. Some questionable UX decisions still remain and I’m clueless why the latest statistics I can get for app downloads are a week old, but other than the statistics the Dev Publishing tools are now better or on-par with other app marketplaces.

 

 

Publishing time – fixed
This is an area with really big improvements for us. We needed more than a month to get the app up last time due to slow response times and incomprehensible rejections, but lately that time has really improved. We suspect that we might have been especially flagged due to the publicity from the last post so your mileage may vary, but we generally get the app approved by the Marketplace team in about 3 days. It’s a big improvement and much faster than the week or two Apple’s App Store usually takes.

 

Moving apps to other accounts – ?
To be honest we can’t really update on this one since we haven’t attempted this since the last time. If any of our readers have info on the possibility of moving apps among developer accounts please let us know.

 

Ridiculous morality standards – probably fixed
After quite long discussions we came to the conclusion that the funny sentences in our apps probably had nothing to do with the rejection. Turns out that they simply lumped all the local-rejection reasons into one policy, thus bundling together a China Bing maps issue with morality standards of Quatar and leaving the developer in the dark about what was actually the issue. They mentioned they fixed that, but I’d be curious to know if anyone got rejected for similar reasons lately and how were the reasons communicated?

 

In conclusion, many things have been improved and I certainly hope they continue to make lives of developers easier. The update my previous metaphor, publishing on the Windows Phone Marketplace is no longer like walking barefoot on broken glass, but reminds much more of a barefoot stroll on a pebble beach. What we’d like to see now is that beach become more popular with more people. We’d prefer to be flexing our abs on a beach where more than a few percent of the hot girls come to.

 

Good luck Windows Phone, may your user experiences be smooth!
Posted in Development, Opinions

Translating Toshl Begineth. Come and Help Us Out!

At Toshl we firmly believe in being global and we’re very happy that our apps are used around the world. We’re also big fans of diversity and great user experiences. Therefore it comes quite natural that we’d love to see Toshl apps translated in as many of the world’s languages as possible. We know a few of them ourselves, but we need your help to fill in the rest. We’d love it if you could help us spread our horizons and make Toshl easy to use in your language.

We put online a simple to use web interface to easily translate the Toshl apps and written some instructions to make it even easier to understand. Want to finally see the Toshl apps in your beloved native Spanish, Russian, German, Portuguese, Slovenian, Chinese…?

 How to Translate Toshl Apps With Ease 

As soon as the translations are complete enough we’ll publish them in the apps and on the web. We’ll also regularly reward our prolific translators with free Toshl Pro subscriptions and other more substantial goodies. Come and join us in making Toshl even more cosmopolitan!

Posted in Announcements, Development

The Story of Toshl Thus Far

Once in a while things need to be summed up and put into form readable by humans. The same principles we use to decode your personal finances, we now used to decode the ever-prolonging story of Toshl. How we got started, what we did after that and what keeps us from being eternal. If you’re curious how Toshl came to be, this is the story to read.

On the Nature of Money

Existence is probably eternal. Existence of matter is a whole different story. Toshl comes along much later still.
First there was darkness, then there was light and quite a while after that some heaps of chemical/physical processes thought themselves cool enough to believe they were special because they were alive. They wanted to keep it that way, so they cooperated to prolong this “life” thing, exchanging things they needed to survive.
That exchange was straightforward at first; “I give you wheel you give me strawberry” and the like. Since strawberries tend to rot and squish if carried around, especially since you don’t have the wheel yet, something more universal was needed. So the Lydians came up with this thing called a coin to make things simpler. Naturally, things got a whole lot more complicated.
Soon we had wallets, compounding interest, Bitcoins, Libor, Forex and mortgage payments. Things got so complicated that most heaps of chemical/physical processes that now called themselves “humans” simply assumed they were too cool and important to deal with these tedious chores. Knowing how your finances stand was simply too much of a pain in the rectum for humans to bother. Even if that meant more rectal pain was coming their way, many a time in the form of insolvency.
Humans with Aspirations
There was a group of humans in Slovenia who did want to know how their finances stood. Yet the tools they found were so cumbersome and complicated they would make even a chartered accountant blush. Luckily they worked at a mobile & web studio by the name of 3fs. Coupled with testicular fortitude and naïveté, much like the Lydians before them, they set out to make their own tools and make personal finance easy and fun.
The Coming of Toshl
Old people said they saw a new star appear in the sky, a double rainbow span the hills and streets become flooded with white mice. Those people were probably seriously drunk. The humans of the Toshl team did not let themselves be bothered and in April 2010 they launched Toshl Finance.
Toshl Finance enabled people to note down their finances on their mobile phones, then automatically sync to toshl.com for safekeeping and more cool graphs. Starting off with Android, iPhone and the web, the service soon got native apps for Maemo, Symbian, Windows Phone, MeeGo and Blackberry.
To make finances more personable and remove the tedium, Toshl monsters were born. Since then Toshl was on a path to make finances more pleasant, easy and fun. Focused on fun, mobile and worldwide coverage the Toshl ecosystem developed. It seemed other humans appreciated the user experience, the financial rectal pain lessened and the community grew. Soon the humans of the Toshl team could focus 100% on building just Toshl, growing more independent as a project and company.
Asymptotically Accelerated to Speed of Light
Taking a leap of faith they traversed the oceans in search of knowledge and contacts. Landing first in London, then a few months later in San Francisco. The co-founding humans of Toshl then worked on the product by day, ferreted around tech events at night and with their antics, tomfoolery and shenanigans got to the attention of 500 Startups.
The whole team of Toshl humans moved to San Francisco to participate in Batch 4 of the 500 Startups accelerator. Much was learnt, even more people met and befriended, priorities were redrawn and refocused. Armed with a much faster growth rate, even more testicular fortitude and a renewed sense of mission, the Toshl humans continue on their path to make finance fun for those heaps of chemical/physical processes worldwide.
Posted in Announcements, Development