Pool Math........The App

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,344
Tucson, AZ
JoyfulNoise the Prophet?

It seems that's exactly what's happened here...very disappinting. :(
The developer is still totally committed to this app. Developing the app is something he does in his spare time as he has a life, family & day job. There will be an update this season (release date TBD) and from Lee’s teaser shots and what I know about it, it’s going to be great.

Let’s set expectations here for everyone - the app will likely see one major update/revision each pool season with bug fixes and minor updates as-needed. In my opinion, that’s well worth it.
 
Sorry...that may be a reasonable explanation for a free or one-time $.99 app, but when you're charging $7-8/year, imo, you owe your customers more than what's been delivered thus far and the 'we have lives, we do it when we feel like it' excuse shouldn't fly. I'm guessing the new 'features' will come when the early-adopters' subscriptions start running out, and there's a renewed motivation to start generating income again.

Setting expectations is a good thing, but I think the time to to have done it was about a year ago. So far, it's been oversell, underdeliver and like I said earlier...disappointing.
 

Sunnymosmile

Bronze Supporter
Oct 7, 2016
146
Raleigh, NC
Not being argumentative but rather provide an outside perspective as someone who is not overly active in this forum but loooooves the group.

Lee and the developer have been pretty upfront about the time commitment and the priority of other projects. The cost of the app, as I recall it being explained in the very beginning, was to offset the costs of the development and the servers. I don’t think anyone is getting rich off the app or even trying to at this point. I personally love the app and I will pay the annual fee because the app is great, it works across all of my apple products, I know it will only get better with time and I support this forum that helps me every turn that I need it.

I hope most everyone is hoping for this app’s continued success because if it goes away I will have a tantrum.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 5, 2016
4,548
Sydney, NSW, Australia
I'd say that anyone considering the app should try the free version and make their own decision whether or not to upgrade. The complex and perfected calculations are very handy to have on your phone, for free. I appreciated the convenience right away, before upgrading.

For me personally, I know the upgrade $ are supporting TFP generally, and I'm happy to pay it, even with canuck or aussie bux. This app has a small market, so prices are higher. It's handling my test records very nicely. And though not so important to others, 'multiple pools' is great, even if you're just testing a friend's pool. I'm also glad they beta-test rather than rush out features.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
7,866
Eastern Ohio
I hope most everyone is hoping for this app’s continued success because if it goes away I will have a tantrum.
I thank you greatly for that comment! Made me laugh greatly. I’d like make a few general comments about the App and our thoughts. I’m gonna avoid addressing any comments concerning it’s worth as there is no right answer there. To each here there own. My wife recently purchased me a pair of $60 pants cause they were on sale for $40….a great deal in her eyes. I still question why as I’m perfectly fine with my $15 pair. To each their own. All parties want to avoid making any major changes or updates during the summer months as it’s simply to risky. I follow the same mentality with the website itself. If TFP makes a major change in July, something is wrong behind the scenes. This means updates will likely only occur in the off-season. I know what you’re thinking…….you’re late…..and you’re correct. As is Jon and I are slightly behind our “self imposed” schedule. We were both really wanting to sneak out an update to version 2 by now however I made us late……and I’m still holding us up as I’m a slacker.

After version one of PoolMath was launched my plan was to put it on hold. I wanted to do this so I could focus on another part of the website, one that in my eyes is more important than PoolMath….Pool School. I’ve never been a fan of how Pool School was laid-out and I wanted to set it up in a more organized way. Working with several members of TFP we took a few months and took the articles from Pool School to create a book that is currently available for download from iBooks and Amazon. This book also will be available for download on Google however time is needed making sure it will display correctly on Android devices. Lastly we need edit the forums articles to match the layout of these newly launched books. The entire book process took longer than I had hoped due to a learning curve in converting the book to a format that Amazon recognizes. You will likely see some additionally activity on this shortly as I greatly want this done before next years swim season. More details about the book can be found here.

Once the book was launched on iBooks and Amazon attention was again turned to the App but my attention was again quickly sidetracked. TFP is still seeing amazing growth and I quickly noticed our sites hardware wasn’t going to handle much more. If TFP sees the growth again next year like we did last year there’s little doubt in my mind the server would have crashed. To address this TFP moved it’s website to a new server that’s ready to handle the forums growth. I had not planned on preforming this task but it had to be done. Again this set us back a few as I ignored the App all together.

We currently are working on version 2 which will have additional tracking features and will make it easier to share various details with the website. I understand the desire to want more quicker but wish to avoid rushing things. We’ve had a very rocky start for sure and greatly thank all of those who have supported us along the way. I really am excited about version 2 and cannot wait to share additional details in the future.
 

bobandsherry

Bronze Supporter
Apr 20, 2016
356
Riverview, FL
I won't get into debate on value of Pool App, but when a developer prices an app at $7-8 on an annually renewable subscription that is considered a premium priced app by today's standards. As such it has expectations of having premium and somewhat dedicated support. I don't see that dedication on the app.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 4, 2015
3,959
CT
I find the app very useful.

I’m fine with the subscription price too.... heck I just spent almost $9 at the donut shop this morning on the way to work.

There is new version testing going on behind the scenes also, the app is very well supported IMHO. I don’t think I own any other app where I can contact the developer (via TFP), as well as get real-time troubleshooting help.
 

Alwayswantedapool

Platinum Supporter
Jun 23, 2015
202
York SC
I think the application is great. I track my pool and hot tub with it. Well worth the money spent. I would rather spend the money then have advertising popping up all over the place which is what most free apps do.
 

bmoreswim

Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 16, 2012
4,267
Central MD
I think a very key point here is that this is a small market app produced/sponsored by a non-profit organization. So there is certainly an aspect of the quantity of volunteer labor available to assist the project.

And also that it is related to, essentially, a luxury hobby, personal swimming pool maintenance. Think 1% of households (hard for sunbelt folks to appreciate perhaps).

Typically the higher the hobby cost, the higher the related aspect costs. In this case we have a win though, because TFP saves folks SO much money, that in my opinion, anyone who has an issue with the app price is missing the big picture, while focusing on one minute aspect of their total pool expenses, construction included.

But value is in the eye of the beholder. I look at it as integral to TFP and therefore the value derived/received is incredible.
 

shingles

Bronze Supporter
Jun 12, 2017
269
Houston, TX
$8 a year. 2 cents a day. That’s $0.02/Day. This site probably help people save way more than $8 a year. If the site provides poor value, stop using it. I for one and happy to pay my $8 and support this forum. $8 per year per sub will hardly make anyone rich. The effort to develop and maintain the app and to provide support is not trivial.
 

bobandsherry

Bronze Supporter
Apr 20, 2016
356
Riverview, FL
I don't think it is the cost of the app, but the lack of continued and timely development. Understand that it's a group of volunteers, but they signed up for it. When you start charging for something people come to expect more. Note that I didn't say i expected more.

I'm involved with lots of volunteer efforts, I know what I'm getting involved with and time commitment. I put in whatever time is required to get things done. When i can't do that i don't make the commitment.

Personally i think there approach to have stand alone apps was not the right decision. Things become very complicated then with managing apps for both iOS and Android. Keeping them in sync is much more difficult. And submitting to Apple and getting their blessings to post the app seems to be a nightmare.

Instead a web app would seem to have been a simpler approach. One body of code to manage, simpler to move code from test to release and without all the approval from third party to post it. It also then runs on Windows and other os that have a browser. All of this should make for less time required for development and support.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
7,866
Eastern Ohio
Every word you spoke of above concerning a web based App is true. There is no way a mobile based App will ever touch a web based in speed and ease of development. If speed was TFP’s goal then clearly the wrong decision was made. We have other goals in mind and many of those goals cannot be made by utilizing a web based App. Are we even close to meeting those goals? Nope. Are we working towards those goals? Yep. Can a user still maintain a pool using only the free Portions of the App? Yep. Does your support allow TFP to continue to work towards our end goal? Yep.

This discussion can go in circles for hours and never reach an endpoint as both sides offer very valid points. A decision was made given all the details I had and with my crystal ball to focus on a mobile app. It is my firm belief that despite the extra effort and time required to create a mobile app the tools that are at TFP’s disposal will make it worth it in the future. As is TFP is in the testing stages of version two that will offer users even more tracking features than before, but we’ve still got many bugs to work out. I am still in almost daily communication with the developer and understand the reasons behind the delays as many of them are caused by me. I will continue to be fully open on the timeline of improvements and issues TFP faces. I will also continue to focus my energy on creating a product that best suits TFP’s users now and in the future.