Life is change.
Change is also something that is celebrated, vilified, and ignored. As a software developer, I get all three types of feedback when I change an app. Some users love the new changes, some despise them, and most are not moved enough to comment.
Stock + Pro has changed significantly over the years to better meet the needs of users. I could have left it at v1.0 and that would have satisfied the needs of a select few individuals, but I felt that I could do better. So come along for a short journey from v1.0 to the most recent iteration of Stock + Pro.
Released August 14, 2012
The original app that started it all. Stock + Pro v1.0 was a barebones stock tracker application.
The fixed sized window featuring a non standard interface left nothing for users to customize. The app did come with a scrolling menubar ticker, that again was a fixed height, fonts, colors, and included the same non standard interface elements as the primary window. The singular watchlist (fixed width and height) had 4 columns showing the symbol, price, % change (or point change), and the full name. The static charts (no mouse over) were attractive enough, but could not be resized.
Pro users had several window themes to choose from including Aluminum (shown above), Black Aluminum, Carbon Fiber, Classic Auto, and Leather. Click on any thumbnail below to see the full resolution.
What can I say, it was 2012 and skeuomorphism was in. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- v1.0.1 (Aug 2012)
- v1.1 (Sep 2012)
- v1.2 (Nov 2012)
- v1.2.1 (Nov 2012)
Released December 8, 2013
It did not take long to realize that v1.x was the proverbial “painted self into corner”. As users requested more key metrics, additional chart options, taller watchlists, more ticker options, and entirely new features, such as news and alerts it was obvious that a complete redesign would be necessary in order to accommodate these requests.
The result of that redesign was v2.0. Skeuomorphism was out, and flat was in.
There were multiple features that started over from scratch. Charts being the most memorable one. v2.x had semi-interactive charts thanks to a custom built charting engine that took raw historical data and turned it into something visual. A big bonus of having a charting engine built into the app was that it allowed for the addition of multiple technical indicators (v1 supported a single SMA, single EMA, PSAR, and BBands).
The entire window could be resized, and the contents of the window were grouped into separate ‘panes’. The watchlist along the left side was a pane, the key metrics along the top of the window was a pane, the chart area and news were each separate resizable panes as well. For the first time, users could resize the app window to best suit them and for the first time, the app was capable of fullscreen mode.
Near the end of v2.x the ticker also received a major overhaul to allow for vertical resizing (larger or smaller text) as well as custom fonts and colors. There were definitely some growing pains during the transition from the original ticker to the new ticker due largely to the default theme used being different in appearance to the original. Once a ‘Classic’ ticker theme was released, something that didn’t even require an app update thanks to the new modularity of the revamped ticker engine the majority of users were satisfied. Chalk that experience up as a lesson learned to be careful when changing user interface!
Thanks to the flexibility of the v2.x platform, it was able to undergo many changes throughout its life.
- v2.1 (Dec 2013)
- v2.2 (Jan 2014)
- v2.3 (Feb 2014)
- v2.4 (Feb 2014)
- v2.4.1 (Apr 2014)
- v2.5 (Oct 2014)
- v2.6 (Jan 2015)
- v2.6.1 (Feb 2015)
- v2.6.2 (Feb 2015)
- 2.6.3 (Feb 2015)
- 2.7 (Apr 2015)
- 2.7.1 (Jul 2015)
- 2.7.2 (Jul 2015)
Wow, are we even talking about the same app. For starters, v3 has a new app icon. Then when we open the app, everything else is different as well.
The #1 request from v2 users, one that I heard on a daily basis, was to have multiple watchlists.
Naturally, that became a focus point for the v3 redesign. The second feature was a watchlist table that could show the information that a user wanted to see. While v2.x showed three columns of information, v3.x could show between 1-17 (as of writing this). The charting engine was also rewritten from the ground up to allow viewing arbitrary time periods and to use different color schemes. Finally, several entirely new features, such as Portfolio Summary, StockTwits, and Notes were added into the app.
- v3.1 (Sep 2015)
- v3.2 (Oct 2015)
- v3.2.1 (Oct 2015)
Thoughts About Then and Now
In my personal experience as a software developer, people are resistant to change. A changed app means a user has to invest energy in learning something new. I feel that is energy well spent, especially when looking at what that change has done over the past three years in terms of the app’s functionality.
Is the latest version perfect? No. If it stops changing though, it certainly will never get there.