Apple to create API … if enough people want it!
Ever since my app MyAppSales got rejected I have been lobbying for an official and secure API which would permit us developers or creators of tools like AppViz to interface with iTunes Connect. The current situation, as you are probably well aware, is a real pain in the backside.
According to Apple this is the “expected mechanism for retrieving that data”. So they really expect developers to go to the report site every day and download daily reports manually. Apple makes great software and devices, but I keep asking myself how they can be so far away from the truth of the facts of real developer life?
The reality of the matter is, that I was able to find 16 tools to essentially do all the same: do a HTTPS GET request on itts, send in the login data and then download the reports in the developer’s stead. Actually through my online offerings I have assembled a list of approx. 200 developers and I am venturing to bet that not a single one of them is using the “expected mechanism”.
I started what I call the Petition for Official iTunes Sales Report Download API, encouraging other developers to submit an enhancement request to apple and then spread the word. When I renewed my annual membership in the developer program I got reminded that I still have two “technical incident” support calls open expiring soon. So has everybody who pays those $100. I figured I would not want to let them go to waste and so I invested one call to try to raise awareness inside Apple for this cause.
At first I got the same response as always, you know §3.3.7 and “no comment” on other apps that might have slipped through the review defences. But then something started to move. It was mentioned that I could raise a feature request and send in the bug number. I replyed that I had done so a while ago and sent the number as suggested.
The response tells us that every feature request, like I have shown in the petition, helps to raise awareness inside Apple.
The enhancement request is in the hands of the iTunes Connect engineering team. [..]
I assure you that we take all feature requests seriously. I can’t promise any particular resolution, but it would certainly be useful if others who saw a need for this functionality would raise their concerns via a bug report. You can ask them to provide your bug number as reference (as those are likely to be marked as duplicates of yours anyway).
Being polite and providing empirical evidence of the benefit of this functionality, as you have been and have done, is more helpful than any other approach. Please stress that to other developers who may choose to file their own bug report.
So you can see why I am exhilarated. Not only does this confirm that the iTunes Connect engineering team has received my original request, this also stresses the need for “empirical evidence of the benefit of this functionality”.
So pretty please with sugar on top go to the bug report page right now and write in your own words why you feel that an API would be orders of magnitude more useful than the current manual report downloading process. You should mention that you “vote for” bug report number 6807195, because then this increases weight and visibility of the original request. Also tell me your new bug number that you get so that I can forward it to Apple. If you have already done so, just log into your bug list and send me the number as well.
If you require inspiration as to what to write, this is the content of bug report number 6807195 which I raised on April 20th:
Many people are looking for way to download their iTunes Sales reports which are more convenient than going to the website. There are half a dozen apps both in open-source as well as commercial that scrape the site to allow for automatic downloading. At the same time Apple rejects apps that are doing this in a mobile way and cites 3.3.7 of the SDK agreement.
Providing a secure Web API would make all your developers very much happy because then they could create their own tools or could choose between competing mobile downloading tools.
Also waiting for the previous days report to arrive is an ideal case for push notifications.
In the very least I urge Apple to create a mobile report downloading app themselves if they absolutely won’t let users access the data they desperately want to have.
By not taking the lead on report downloading Apple causes hundreds of thousands of unnecessary accesses to the report site when people or their scripts are checking if the report is now available. Lots of unnecessary HTTPS/HTML traffic could be prevented if there whas an XML based secure API.
You will be one of the primary beneficiaries of such an API should it come to bear! So please invest those 5 minutes of your time to do your duty for your development comrades! Your country! Your wallet! Your … (fill in the blank)
And if you have nothing or nobody to do it for, then please do it for me. 😉