Coming to Splitwise for Android: Offline mode, multiple payers

When we released Splitwise for Android v3 last November the whole team let out a sigh of relief: We no longer had an Android app that sucked, but rather a native, sleek beast we could all be proud of.

Seems like all our Android users breathed a sigh of relief, too — our average rating in the Google Play store climbed by .3 in a matter of days, and we got tons of excited emails, Tweets and blog comments from our long-suffering Android folk.

Today we’re pumped to announce that we’ve kept our Android-awesomeness momentum going. We released multiple payers a couple days ago (version 3.2.4), and offline mode is being beta-tested right now by some very kind community members. We’ll release it to the masses once we’ve slain all the bugs.

Our hearts do a little dance every step our Android app takes towards feature parity with web and iPhone. As always, we’re so grateful to have you (yes, you) along for the journey.

Take the leap to learn how co-founder and lead mobile dev Marshall got offline mode for Android up and running. Spoiler alert: It was hard.


Co-founder and lead mobile dev Marshall was inspired by Dropbox’s “incredibly helpful” dev blog posts on their Carousel and photo-sharing infrastructure. Their put-it-in-the-queue model is the foundation of how our offline mode for Android works.

Previously, the app was designed to communicate with the server each and every time a you made or edited a bill. In the absence of an internet connection that communication would simply fail.

Now, the app keeps a log of all changes made, and tries to push them to the server in the order they were committed. When you don’t have a connection the app can simply skip over anything it can’t immediately execute, intellegently saving it for later. The best part is it can do all this in the background, meaning you can add a bill and then immediately do some other task, like checking a balance with a friend, without being subjected to an annoying saving toast and lost seconds. This means that even if you never use offline mode for Android, you’ll now enjoy a better, faster add bill experience.

Conversely, our offline mode for iPhone still tries to save the expense on the server. Once the request has failed, the app marks the expense to be saved later. This still makes you sit through the saving screen, waiting for 30 seconds until the request times out.

About this new iPhone/Android difference Marshall was happy to note “this is the first case of our Android app having something significantly more awesome than iPhone”. We know it’s long over-due!

Marshall also lauds Path and the Robolectric testing platform as critical resources during this development cycle.

Posted in Dev Blog, Feature updates, Nerd Alert | 2 Comments

Heartbleed Response

On April 7th, a major web vulnerability called “Heartbleed” was disclosed to the internet. This vulnerability affected a popular security library called OpenSSL, and as a result it affected the security of a large number of sites on the internet, including Splitwise. (A good rundown of who was affected can be found here.)

Shortly after noon on April 8th, the bug was patched on all of our servers. We also issued a new SSL certificate for splitwise.com and initiated the expiration of our old SSL certificate. As a result, we are no longer vulnerable to Heartbleed.

We have no reason to believe that any Splitwise user data was compromised via the Heartbleed vulnerability or that we were the target of an attack, but we are continuing to monitor for any unusual behavior. In addition, we’ve taken this opportunity to implement a few additional security measures, to update passwords for important server components, and to generally review how we respond to security issues.

In summary:

1. The Heartbleed bug was patched shortly after 12pm EDT on Tuesday, April 8th. We issued new a SSL certificate a few hours later, and also revoked our old certificate.

2. As a precaution, we are logging out all users who visited the Splitwise website on April 7th and 8th.

3. Changing your password is recommended as a precaution, especially for users who logged in or created an account during the affected period. You can also log out of all your existing Splitwise sessions by clicking here.

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Drone Debt Collection In Partnership With Amazon And Square

The Splitwise team is excited to announce a new Settle Up option: Settle Up via drone. It’s the fastest, easiest way to collect money from your friends, no matter where they are. Plus, you’ll never need to have an awkward talk about repayment again — just send the drone and your friend will get the message that you need your money back, loud and clear.

How does it work?

Dispatch Drone

Dispatch Drone


If a friend owes you money, ‘Dispatch Drone’ will be an option in the Settle Up flow. Tapping ‘Dispatch Drone’ automatically deploys one of our payments-processing drones, stored in Amazon warehouses across the country. Geolocators built into your friend’s Splitwise app pinpoint their exact location, sending the drone in the right direction.

Splitwise collection Drones are equipped with Square Readers, and also take cash. As soon as your friend Settles Up with the drone, the payment is recorded in Splitwise and your balance updates accordingly. Our drones are adaptive and persistent; if your friend doesn’t have any money on them, the drone follows them around in a friendly, unobtrusive manner until they have their wallet on hand.

Drones are equipped with Square Readers

Splitwise Drones are powered by the Amazon Prime Cloud, are equipped with Square Readers, and also accept Cash or Bitcoin

It’s been wonderful to collaborate with Amazon and Square on this project. We’re so glad these big companies share our commitment to eliminating money stress between friends. Stay tuned for the release of our Google Glass integration, which will project a balance onto your friends’ forehead if they owe you money.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Splitwise Notifications: Now on Steroids

Recent activity feed, on web.

Recent activity feed, on web.

The team is happy announce the release of a broad set of improvements to how Splitwise notifications are generated and presented. Usability and ease-of-knowing-what’s-up are going to skyrocket thanks to an improved ‘Recent activity’ feed (now on mobile, too) and more sophisticated push notifications.

All 3 of our devs — Ryan, Marshall and Caleb — have been hard at work on this effort since December, when we introduced expense comments for the web and decided to really commit to building out notifications. Marshall and Caleb have focused on Android and iPhone respectively, with Ryan taking care of back end stuff, the web experience and overall look of the new features.

We made these changes to eliminate all possible sources of confusion when viewing Splitwise, because confusion causes uncertainty and stress! We’re waiting eagerly for your feedback on the changes, at feedback@splitwise.com.

Take the leap to see a more in-depth explanation of the changes.

Continue reading

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Plates Listed as #1 Best New App in Apple App Store

Plates

Our dinner bill app Plates featured in the App Store!

Late last night, the team was delighted to discover that our dinner bill app Plates has been listed as the #1 Best New App in the Utilities section of the Apple App Store.

We released version 1 of Plates in July 2013 to great critical and popular success; both BusinessInsider and MSN Money covered the tool, and user reviews in the App Store have been overwhelmingly positive (average rating 4.5).

This latest recognition from Apple feels amazing, and confirms our belief that we’ve made a world class app to help friends avoid awkward conversations about money after enjoying a meal together (yuck). We’re tremendously proud of our intern Liz Neu, who built Plates with limited assistance from Caleb and Ryan and has been steadily shipping updates to the app while finishing up her final year of undergrad. Most recently, Liz optimized Plates for iPad (it’s currently listed as the #2 Best New Utility App for iPad as well).

We’re incredibly grateful to all the Splitwise users who have given Plates a whirl. We look forward to providing you with ever more, ever better solutions to all of life’s splitting problems.

Posted in Feature updates, News Articles, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Free US Population Density And Unemployment Rate By Zip Code

US Census Population Density By Zip Code

Take a peek: the population, land area, and population density of every zip-code / ZCTA in the USA.

  • 2010 US Population Density, By Zip Code, in XLS and CSV
  • 2007-2011 US Unemployment Rate By Zip Code, also in XLS or CSV

Unemployment and population density are probably two of the most important local statistics you might hear quoted about a city or town. Our US Population by Zip Code post from September has gotten rather popular, and a polite commenter requested population density and unemployment rate. So here they are, totally free and in the public domain, in two different formats (see above).

How did I get this data?  Two different Census APIs (the Decennial Census 2010 and the ACS 5-year 2007-2011), combined with the square-footage by ZCTA listings from the 2013 U.S. Gazetteer Files.

I was planning to use this post to document my methods and send everyone on their own journey through the data, but it got too long and I realized that I wanted to talk a more systematic approach. In a follow up post, I will explain how to pull Census data yourself for different variables at different geographical resolution. But if you need a jump start now, my first and most helpful guide was the National Civic Day Of Hacking support slides.

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Introducing Expense Comments on the Web

Splitwise wants to totally take the stress out of sharing expenses and creating IOUs with friends. A huge part of that is facilitating communication around who owes who, and for what. We’re always looking for new ways to help you and your friends get (and stay!) on the same page.

That’s why we’re so excited to announce the release of expense comments for the web. This new feature will let group members and friends have conversations within the web app around individual expenses. We plan to bring expense comments to our iPhone and Android apps in the New Year, so you can sort stuff out on-the-go, too.

An expense with comments added to it.

An expense with comments added to it.

To add a comment to an expense, click on the expense name in any expense list. In the expanded view you’ll now see a ‘Notes and Comments’ box with a ‘Post’ button beneath. Simply add your questions and thoughts to the box, hit ‘Post’, and await your buddy’s response! We’ve added an email notification setting for this feature; you can choose to get an email every time someone adds a comment to an expense you’re on, or you can opt-out. The default setting has you opted-out. Head to your account settings page (‘Your Account’) to toggle.

We’ve been wanting to build out a commenting feature for quite some time, and our support requests indicated lots of users wanted it, too. We hope to make it even more rich moving forward, while preserving the simplicity Splitwise is known for. We’d love to eventually introduce a full-blown messaging feature, so you can send messages in Splitwise not attached to any expense.

As always, we’re thrilled to be steadily improving Splitwise, and so grateful that you’re here for the journey. Happy holidays!

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