Happy holidays everyone! I thought I'd release a little tool today that I think will be useful to those of you doing iPhone application development. As you might know reviews for your applications in the iTunes App Store are specific to each country and at the moment Apple provides no way for application authors to easily browse reviews of the various international stores.
A few days ago I came across a solution by Erica Sadun on blogs.oreilly.com using a Perl script to scrape the reviews from the XML feed by spoofing the HTTP header. Flash Platform geek as I am, I thought this would be a perfect candidate for an AIR application and thats exactly what I did today.
The "iPhone App Reviews" AIR app was built using Flex and obviously runs on Windows, Mac and Linux -- its about 250 lines of code and uses the SQLite and File APIs for those interested.
How does it work?
You paste in the URL of the application you want to check (right-click on an app in iTunes and choose "copy iTunes Store URL"), the AIR app then figures out the name of the application and adds it to the local SQLite database.
Once you've set up the applications you want to monitor you go to the "Check reviews" tab, select the application and what country you would like to see and click the "refresh" button.
If you want to save out the reviews you can click export and select where to save the text file.
Click "install now" on the AIR badge install below to install the application. Alternatively you can download the AIR file here (not recommended) in which case you need to make sure you have the AIR 1.5 runtime installed.
[airbadge]iPhone App Reviews,http://www.peterelst.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/iphoneappreviews.air,1,http://www.peterelst.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/iphonappreview.png[/airbadge] Note: This is still an early version of the application and not extensively tested yet. Consider this a workaround until Apple comes out with a better way to check your app reviews in the international iTunes stores.
I hope you enjoy the application, its provided as is and free of charge -- if you do want to support feel free to buy one of my wacky digital clock experiments on the iTunes App Store.