SoftMeter - Usage analytics for desktop software (Windows, MacOS X)
SoftMeter is an application analytics library that reveals how users around the world use your desktop application, how many they are, how often they run it, which are the most popular features, and much more.
SoftMeter (former libAppTelemetry) brings run-time statistics (also known as usage analytics) to your desktop software/shareware, in an easy, quick, and free way. With SoftMeter you can understand what matters most to your users, spot problems, and optimise your software.
SoftMeter has a very simple API, that does not omit crucial parameters like the user consent.
Include the SoftMeter library in your software and you will be able to answer questions like:
- How many users install my software per month?
- How many of them uninstall it?
- From which countries?
- What is default language on their computer?
- What operating systems do they have?
- What screen resolutions do they have?
- Is there an operating system where one version of my software has very low adoption? (an indication of a bug)
- How many active users do I have?
- How many free vs paying users?
- Is the percentage of the users who upgrade to the paid version reasonable?
- Do I offer too many features in the free version?
- Are the features of the paid version not enough to justify the price?
- What are the funnel percentages of my product' s lifecycle? (Downloads -> Installations -> Uninstalls -> Free active users -> Paid active users, etc)
- What are the most and least used features of my program?
- Which versions of my software are being used?
- Do my users upgrade to the latest version?
- Are there exceptions (fatal errors) thrown by my program?
- Are there exceptions (fatal errors) thrown during the setup?
Softmeter can be included in:
- your software application (to see detailed usage stats of your software's features), or
- in your setup package (to see installation and removal statistics), or
- in both your setup and your software (for maximum insights)
"No relationship can survive without effective and honest communication, and the special relationship that exists between you [the software developer] and your users is no exception.
Yet development organizations too rarely exploit the most immediate communication tool at their disposal: their application."
Read about the benefits of application statistics on this article of Sebastian Holst.
Who is it for?
Shareware developers, desktop application developers, independent software developers who distribute their programs via the internet and what to know how many users have installed their software, what is the percentage of the free vs the paying users, which application features are used the most. With this information, they can shape their product to better match the expectations and the preferred usage by their customer. This critical information can help the developers deliver more value to the customers by focusing on what is important for them.
On IOS and Android, there are native ways to monitor your app's usage via the iTunesConnect account or the Google Developer account.
But for Windows and Mac OS X there are only a few (and costly for the independent developers) systems to get runtime statistics of your programs.
SoftMeter is designed to be a low-cost solution for the independent developers who cannot afford the expensive alternative platforms.
As part of our low-cost scenario, the library uses Google Analytics as a reporting platform, thus minimising the cost while at the same time it keeps a high reliability and availability reporting platform.
How does it work?
You are probably already using website statistics to see how many visitors you have on your website and how they use your website.
Usage analytics for software programs brings the same idea to desktop software monitoring. Instead of the website you are now measuring your software.
- Versions up to 1.0 will be free.
- Version after 1.0 might have a small fee. The fee will be so small that it would be easily affordable by independent software developers that make little or even no income from their software.
- Cross-platform (Mac + Windows)
- Small footprint, less than 400 Kb
- Simple API; easy linking with your Mac/Windows desktop software
- No sign-up needed to download the library and start testing it
- You can rename the filename of the library (.dll or .dylib) to a filename that matches your application's name
- Inno Setup compatible: monitor the installations and uninstalls of your software
- Monitoring and reporting application crashes and application exceptions.
- Our software analytics library is built with C++ so that is easily portable to different operating systems (cross-platform feature). It uses the native OS connectivity structures, e.g. winhttp, NSURLConnection, etc to achieve a small footprint, OS compatibility, and optimised performance. While is it developed in C++, it can be used by any program that can call a .dll library (Windows) or a .dylib library (MacOS X).
- Examples of how to use it with InnoSetup so that Setup and Uninstall statistics of your shareware software are automatically recorded in your Google Analytics property.
- See detailed usage statistics for your software. How many free vs paying users you have, from which countries, which operating systems, etc.
- Easy preparation of your Google Analytics property: Precompiled command line programs let you test in your Google Analytics profile.
- Easy integration with your software: Script examples to include the library in your software.
- Easy integration with your setup package: Script examples to include the library in Inno Setup as 3rd party extension (so you will have detailed statistics about the installations and the uninstalls of your program).
- No need to create any extra account to start using the library; you only need your existing Google Analytics account.
- You most probably already know it and use it to monitor your website
- number of active users now
- daily/monthly number of active users
- number of unique installations
- new users vs returning users
- new installations per day/month
- average number of windows/forms that the users open
- average usage time
- the preferred language on the user's computer
- screen resolution
- OS versions
- OS 32/64 bit
- Screen views of your program and users path, e.g.
main screen -> address book -> create new contact
main screen -> configuration -> main screen -> (exiting)
- custom events sent from your program
- Versions of your application
See some screenshots of reporting examples here.
- Currently, the library does not cache the statistics in case there is no internet connectivity. It first checks for internet connectivity before attempting to post the statistics to your Google Analytics account.
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