Asking for Advice on distribution, please?

Brian Christmas

G’day Folks

I’m after some advice please.

I want to place my 10-years-in-the-making Project, Mail Manager, on the open market.

At first I thought of the App Store, but reading Shane’s ‘Explored’ has me worried.

If you’ll bear with me, I’ll explain what my App does, and how. Then, if you’ve persevered, I’d appreciate any advice on how to market it, and any thoughts on if it would pass App Store scrutiny.

It’s role is to automatically process incoming email images, that can be used for such tasks as die making. It’s designed to run 24/7, and has done so for 5 years as an App, and 5 years prior as a collection of scripts..

1. It’s all wrapped into one App package, that relocates itself to the Application folder, and adds a permanent Icon in the Dock.  Once running, it runs 24/7. It contains an additional 11 embedded Apps.

2. It  places a Barcode128 font into the Fonts folder.

3. It places an Applescript ‘Mail Manager Caller’ into the Application Scripts folder.

4. It places an Applescript ‘ftp Downloader’ into the Folder Actions Scripts folder.

5. As it’s first installed, it creates a Mail Rule, and applies it to a User selected Inbox.

6. It has six embedded signed Application in a ‘Scripts’ folder, which it calls and runs as needed.

7. One of the embedded Apps, ‘Mail Manager Item Printer’, runs pretty much all the time.

8. In the same folder, it contains two pdf’s, that it opens as requested, for information.

9. It’s role is to takle all incoming email, and print pretty much any and all attached Graphic file, at 100% Size, on a user selected sized sheet, overlapping with a user set overlap on multiple page prints.

10. It optionally adds two barcodes, and two English text dialogs, to each individual image. Each Barcode starts as unique to that email, and has a terminating unique-to-that-print-Job-within-the-email number.

11. When finished, it prints a ‘Cover Sheet’, on a smaller user selected sized sheet, that contains all necessary details, such as Company Name, Email DateTime Barcode, Sender, list of Attachments, list of opened zipped attachments, text contents of email, etc.

11. It saves the finished emails in a time dated mailbox, one for each day, each month, each year.

12. It saves all Clients details for later referral. A list of details of a user set number of emails is displayed. Clicking on one will open the email, and its saved data folder.

13. It saves all images, both before and after barcoding, to the local Mac, and an optional copy to a nominated server. It has a Utility App for finding and opening old emails and their folders.

14. It optionally uses the ftp Client ‘Interarchy’, to monitor folders on a remote Server, automatically downloads the folders after any items are added, and prints and stores them as for an email.

15. It has two extra Applications in a folder, in the embedded Scripts folder, the folder which optionally can be opened to the Applications folder.

16. One of those Apps is for copying as many times as required, to any workstations, that make up part of any manufacturing process that uses the printed images.

17. This app allows scanning of the printed barcode on the image sheet on commencement of work on any particular job, and at the end of the work. More than one can be in progress at once.

18. It also seletively allows the entry of measurements of each job, in either inches or centimetres.

19. It allows a remote server such as in the Accountancy department, to be selected, and indicates the online status of that server.

20. If the server is online, it allows periodic saving of completed jobs to the server, saving the timing, measurements, and email and image sheete details. If errors occur, the job details are not lost.

21. It saves and displays sent completed jobs for 14 days, at each workstation.

22. If Accountancy access is selected, the main Mail Manager App also saves relevant data to the same Accountancy server FILE as the work stations. It is irrelevant what order the information is stored in.

23. The second App (still being written) will assess the data, and display an summation of each email (Total processed time, total processed Job area (if applicable)), and offer a range of pre-prepared email layouts using that data, that will just need completion by the Accountancy department.

24. When Mail Manager need another App to carry out anything, it saves a .dat file to the desktop,with all necessary variables, calls the App to open, which reads the saved file, trashes it, carries out the work, and closes.

25. When certain other Apps are open, such as a Utility to set up Interarchy easily, or to set up up files for interaction with PitStop Pro (an Acrobat utility), Mail Manager halts processing while those Apps are open.

26. Two Apps run permanently, one that monitors optional Interarchy downloading, and 'Mail Manager Item Printer' (this closes when Mail Manager closes), 

27. Mail Manager also optionally sends detailed emailed reports and graphs of incoming mail and total printed Jobs. These can be any hour(s) of the day (start of GMT zero time day, to present hour), a single nominated hour that sums up the previous 24 hours data, a daily, weekly, monthly, and two yearly reports (day by day, & month by month) (all optional).

28. It also can optionally send error messages (wording as set up by Operator, logo added by Mail Manager), to Clients that submit problematic artwork, and also/only to the Public Relations Department (or whatever; an email list can be constructed)

29. Every Graphic that GraphicConverter can print can be optionally turned ON/OFF individually.

30. Mail Manager can be placed into a cancelable/renewable 10 minute Standby, and can re-process emails that are dropped onto a 're-cycle’ mailbox (It only reprints the cover sheet).

31. Mail Manager requires TextEdit, Interarchy (optional), GraphicConverter, Quark (optional), Acrobat, PitStop Pro (Optional), InDesign (optional), Illustrator, Word, Excel, and of course, Mail.

What I’m wondering, is it actually simple enough that it’s worth spending time learning and carrying out sandboxing, and trying to submit to the Apps Store??? (I take Shane’s warning/advice seriously). I’ve tried to follow the KISS principle in its operation.

If not, is anyone please able to tell me what other options I’d have for distribution (I don’t want to handle it myself). Any links??

I’d prefer a monthly lease, and a two month free trial.

Thank you to anyone whose read this far, and many more thanks to anyone that answers back.



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