HourBill uses an in-application help system, which can be accessed in full by tapping any of the 'Settings' buttons and setting 'Maximum Help' to ON. Thereafter you can obtain help for any feature by tapping the nearest 'info button' (i in a circle) or by contacting us directly via the email link in the 'Help' screen, which you can get to by tapping the 'Help' button at the bottom of the Starting Keypad or 'All' Accounts screens.
Email from users sent via the in-app email link tends to be somewhat terse. If you are sending us a bug report, we often need more information. We prefer that bug reports be sent via a desktop or laptop email application.
In the in-app 'Help' screen there is also an 'Online Documentation' button, which takes you to a landing page on our Web site that currently has no content and redirects to this page. We consider that page to be part of the app.
Any suggestions about how we can improve the documentation, or any other suggestions about how to improve the app, are more than welcome. We'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More About Bug Reports
If you find a bug in the app, or something that you think doesn't look right, please let us know. Together we can walk thru the issue, and when we can reproduce it as a problem, the turnaround time for incorporating the fix into the next update is going to be at most a day or so, typically, if we can maintain good communications. There have been occasions when the turnaround time from receiving a bug report for an app to submitting an update to fix it has been less than an hour. (This does not include the time it takes Apple to approve the update, over which we have little control.)
Again, bug reports should be sent to us, here.
Often you will see people commenting in the reviews for an app on the App Store, where there is a problem, or what features should be added, or what is lacking, etc. That's not the right channel. We have absolutely no way to contact you to fix things or get more details if you take this approach, and we are obsessed with getting things right and making you happy. You should contact us directly here, you will find us to be very responsive. That's the way to make things happen.
About The Crash Reports That Apple Sends Us
In iOS 7, if you go to the Settings app, tap 'General', then tap 'About', scroll to the bottom and tap 'Diagnostics & Usage', you will see that you have a choice between 'Automatically Send' and 'Don't Send'. The first choice is the default. Some people change this. We ask you, please don't! This controls whether or not Apple sends us crash reports when something goes wrong with our apps. If you turn off automatic sending of crash reports, it severely limits our ability to help you if there is a malfunction somewhere, whether you've contacted us about it or not.
There is no user-identifiable information in those reports, as you can see by scrolling through the 'Diagnostic & Usage Data' at the bottom of that screen. There are only geeky petroglyphs that allow us to pin down the approximate location and context, within our computer code, of where the bug bit.
Somebody Asked These Questions
Go ahead and ask a question, at email@example.com.
HourBill does not transmit your data to third parties (or us!)
Your backup files are stored in your personal Google (gmail) account, in an encoded form that is only readable in any meaningful way by HourBill.
It has come to our attention that there are other apps in the App Store, claiming to do something similar to what HourBill does, that require you to provide your email address to the developer before allowing you to access basic functionality such as backing up your data. HourBill has no such requirement.
HourBill needs your gmail address and password in order to access the Google Docs functionality that is a free service accompanying your gmail account. That address and password are stored in the Keychain (256-bit encrypted) on your device. Transmission of backups to and from Google's server network is similarly encrypted. The entire backup/restore transaction is between you and your password-protected gmail account, with that level of security. In no way does ThorJupiter Software or any agent thereof play any intermediary role. It's totally between you and your gmail account.
It's important for us to point out that there is no connection whatsoever between the gmail address that you provide to the app for the purpose of using HourBill's backup feature, and whatever email functionality you are using in the Mail application on your device. Many people have multiple email addresses (we have dozens of them for testing.) Nobody cares if you set up a new gmail account for the sole purpose of using HourBill's backup functionality.
The Undo/Redo buttons don't always appear.
The Undo/Redo buttons only appear in an Account/Invoice screen, or an Entry screen, if there is something to Undo or Redo, i.e. after you have begun editing the content of the screen.
If you've finished editing the content of one of these screens, by tapping the Cancel/Done buttons or backgrounding the app, the Undo/Redo buttons will no longer be present, because the data in the screen has been committed. In particular, backgrounding the app is treated as equivalent to having tapped Done (in order for you to not have lost data if the app backgrounds due to a time-out, for example.)
HourBill won't let me add an email address to Export to.
In the 'Export' screen, there is a 'Change Address' button that allows you to select an email address from your Contacts to export to. If this has been blocked, proceed as follows.
Go to Apple's Settings app, and tap on Restrictions. In the Privacy section, tap on Contacts. Select Allow Changes, and set the row for HourBill to be ON.
How this ever got turned OFF, we don't know, at least for HourBill. We are the sweetest most innocent app there ever was.
Who are you guys?
Our backgrounds are in mathematical modeling, physics simulations, database development, AI game engine design, gaming systems, and productivity applications, on various platforms.
Is HourBill a cloud-based application?
No. HourBill is built around a SQL database stored on your device. In a sense, HourBill is the front-end, and our SQL manager is the kernel. We've gone to great lengths to design the app for maximal stability and safety of your data. Even if the front-end were to experience a malfunction of some sort, there are multiple layers of internal protection and correction, and you likely wouldn't notice, nor would your data be affected. This is very important to us.
There are internal backup systems in the app itself, that kick in automatically in the case of recoverable faults, restoring data from files on your device. You will probably never notice.
Backups that you control are stored in the cloud (Google Docs). Take this feature and use it well. Regular off-site backups are always a winner.
I chose 'Auto-Backup', but the app doesn't back up every time I start it.
HourBill's data is stored as a SQL database. If you've set 'Auto-Backup' to ON, an automatic backup will be performed whenever the app starts, i.e. comes to the foreground, provided that the data in the database has changed since the last time it was backed up, whether that previous backup was automatic or manual (tapping the 'Backup Now' button.) This reduces identical backups that would be caused by starting the app just to "look at something". BTW, because the app's Settings are also stored in the database, changing your Settings (in any of the Settings screens) also qualifies as changing your data.
Tapping the 'Backup Now' button proceeds with immediate network backup regardless of whether the database has changed since the last backup.
Why does HourBill 'Auto-Backup' on start, instead of sending its backup file on close of the app?
It boils down to reliability. If HourBill, on detecting that there is some change to the database that needs to be protected/saved/backed-up, requested a network backup on app quit, there is no guarantee that there would be time to make that happen, in the short time that iOS allows us.
The backup feature doesn't work for me.
HourBill backup needs your gmail username (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and password, in order to access the Google Docs feature of your gmail account, which is where its backups are stored. HourBill requires the "@gmail.com" (or some other Google-based domain name) in your username. The password may also be case-sensitive.
See our above Privacy Statement for how this is between you and your gmail account. There are no intermediaries (except for the Internet pipeline between your device and Google's servers, and that's encrypted.) We have no way of facilitating this transaction.
To set up your gmail account, if you don't already have one, there are instructions you can access from the info button (i in a circle) that appears on the Backup screen in the app.
Once all of that is set up, you should make sure that you can log into your gmail account from your desktop or laptop computer using that username and password. Sometimes if you have a gmail account and try to log into your account repeatedly from any device with an incorrect or incomplete username/password, Google will suspend the account until you log into your account directly on (for example) www.gmail.com on a desktop or laptop computer and correctly answer a "Captcha" (you know, where you have to identify the distorted letters you see.) Then they will automagically un-suspend the account, because you've convinced them that you're not a bot. You should be able to use the gmail account on that computer - if you can't, then it's something beyond our control.
Further help to follow, if there is ever more than the one person to have contacted us about this (and that case seems to have been resolved.) We have been testing backups of HourBill to Google Docs every which way from Sunday since it was first released three years ago, and we stand by how reliable it is.
The Settings screen contents change.
HourBill currently has two Settings screens, one reachable from the 'All' screen that lists all of your Accounts and Invoices, and the other from the screen which lists all of the Entries for a particular Account or Invoice. The first is for user preferences that apply to the app as a whole, and the second is for user preferences that apply to an individual Account or Invoice. The latter has some buttons that allow preferences for that individual Account to be applied to all other Accounts as well.
The only elements common to all of the Settings screens are the 'Maximum Help' and 'Pause Starting Keypad' buttons, which are there for your convenience.
How do I quit the app?
This is not specific to HourBill, this is general troubleshooting.
When you are using an app (such as HourBill) and tap the Home button, the app moves to the background, but is still "alive". If you double-tap the Home button, you'll see a left-right scrollable view of all of your "sleeping" apps. Scroll to the app you want to quit, and flick upwards on the presented screen for it. It will be terminated.
Do you have any plans to use Dropbox?
HourBill Update Notes
- resolved an issue where Phrases may have been duplicated after Restoring under certain conditions.
- enhanced internal error correction in the Phrases software.
- refined scrolling of multi-line Phrases in the Phrase edit screen.
- in a DayView in the case of Account-ordering-by-last-date, the Account picker for a new Entry now auto-scrolls to the most recent such Account.
- some clarifications in the onboard documentation.
Bug and crash reports for HourBill 3.1.1 have dropped off to virtually nothing. HourBill 3.1.1 is what we can call "maximally stable". We would be delighted if anyone can come up with anything else that we need to fix or deal with. Thank you to our testing team, you are maniacs, and we LOVE you!
- unlimited remote backups going back in time. For example, if you make a backup of the app data today, you can access that backup at any time in the future, Restore to it, and then Restore back to the future state of the app, no matter what happened in the interim. Every backup remains available as a Restorable snapshot.
- you can now add a new Entry directly to the set of Entries for a given day in the DayView calendar view.
- Mode (start/end, duration or expense) and Account selection can now be changed directly by tapping on the starting-keypad display.
- Account and Invoice Entry rows may now show the day names along with the dates.
- eliminated a crash caused by trying to delete an Entry that did not yet exist.
- resolved an issue where DayView would sometimes give the wrong number of Entries for a given date, when swapping back and forth between backup files.
- fixed a sometimes-bug with display of time durations in 'round up for all' mode when display Modes are switched after the fact (nothing here ever affected the database.)
- fixed a rare bug which caused a crash when the screen was changed before scrolling of a table or text view had completed, under certain pathological circumstances.
- minor changes to the confirmation dialogs and the documentation.
- graphical refinements.
- squashed other bugs too small to see.
fixed a crashing bug associated with changing email addresses.
HourBill has been reconfigured to be iOS 7 native, and now requires iOS 7.
- fixed problem where text loupe magnifier would show as black.
- info buttons now maintain their presence during a phone call.
- refinements to some of the button titles and confirmation messages.
- corrected some occasionally anomalous display behavior in Invoice Settings.
- fixed an issue where the app would crash if the user tried to Unlock the app before the App Store returned with pricing information.
Unlocked (paid) version:
- refinements to paid-content detection for Restore Purchase.
- fixed a sometimes-bug with display of time durations in 'round up for all' mode.
- fixed an issue where you could crash the app by literally deleting a CSV setting.
- fixed a condition where the PIN keypad info button would sometimes not lead to the correct help screen.
- more possible minimum time increments: 30m, 15m, 10m, 5m, 3m and 36s (military time,) selectable for each Account separately, in addition to 1m and 6m.
- new Expense mode, can add Account Entries corresponding to expenses.
- added manual Invoice action to create an Invoice from the current data in an Account.
- added automatic Invoice scheduler to invoice Accounts automatically in the background on a monthly, bimonthly, biweekly or weekly schedule starting on a chosen day; this used to be in the Unlocked (paid) version.
- Phrase storage and editing systems for Account titles, Account Notes, Entry time durations and Entry Expenses, separate for each, to minimize keyboard input.
- Account and Account Edit screens are now combined, as are Entry and Entry Edit screens.
- Account and Entry Edit screens now have Undo/Redo.
- active Accounts and 'Old Accounts' are now redistributed as active Accounts, Invoices and Storage.
- ordering of Accounts by last-edited and user-ordering has been replaced with ordering alphabetically-by-title and by-most-recent-time.
- added option to pause appearance of starting keypad for 30 minutes.
- added option to turn off text autocorrection and/or autocapitalization in the app.
- can now set up starting keypad to default to Expenses for an Account.
- added option to export (email or print) all Accounts/Invoices at once.
- printing format has been enhanced.
- landscape orientation now supported in all info-button help screens.
- limit of 2 Accounts in the free version has been increased to 4 Accounts+Invoices.
- enhanced 'Restore Purchase' mechanism for re-installation, or installation on new devices.
- updated networking software.
- optimized for iPhone 5/5C/5S and Retina display.
- bugs squashed, some too small to see.
Unlocked (paid) version:
- no limit on the number of Accounts+Invoices.
- no limit on the number of Phrases stored.
- CSV export of Accounts or Invoices, all data at once, or Entries for a given day.
- user-selectable PIN option.
- more rounding options: round up from zero, and round up for all.
- DayView button puts up an iOS 7-style calendar showing the number of Entries for any given day, which can be viewed, emailed or printed.
- Resolved an issue with iOS 6 which interfered with direct entry of times.
- Internal modifications towards enhanced future iOS compatibility.
- HourBill now requires at least iOS 4.3.
- added full support for decimal-hours billing (2.5h versus 2h 27m).
- app extended to run on iOS 3.1 or greater.
- option to show detailed Account descriptions in the 'All' Accounts summary screen, and detailed Entry descriptions in Account Entry list screens.
- double-tap display in Starting Keypad to restart editing the time now extended to work for time durations as well.
- tapping Enter in Starting Keypad now shows Edit Entry screen in the case of existing Accounts.
- more configuration options for date output in Account Exports.
- added option to mute keypad sound.
- fixed a cosmetic bug with the hours-edit box on older devices.