It's ALIVE!!!!

AdSense Dashboard 3.1 is alive!!!

For those who've been wondering, life's been a little busy lately. Since moving to Mountain View, I've taken over the role of TL lead and Manager on the advertiser's side frontend of our Display business at Google, what we call the 'Content AdWords Frontend' in Google.

That's left me with precious little time; I first knew about 1.2 six months or more before it got released, and knew I'd have to migrate the dashboard to the API - but I ended up moving to Mountain View to take on this role before I had the chance to do so.

Now that my other major project, Search and Display Select is launched, I have a moment to take a breath and fix the dashboard.

Now, keep in mind I still want everyone to move over to the official app - but it's also true that it's 4.0+ only, and I supported folks on Froyo.

Froyo is no more. If you're still on Froyo, go buy a phone, the OS is much nicer now and you'll be happy you did.

So the AdSense Dashboard is Gingerbread or later now. I've gone and changed a few things to make it easier to maintain and take some of the pain away - including to moving to Play Services for authentication. (Auth used to be particularly ugly under the hood.)

New navigation hierarchy

  • Local TimeZone everywhere. Everyone but Google thinks in their local timezone. So timezone reporting isn't optional; the app works in the timezone you gave AdSense.
  • A new widget that supports resizing and lockscreen use.
  • Goodbye, ViewPager. It was broken anyways, and we now have way too many reports to just blindly page through.
  • Hello, Navigation The new design paradigm on Android is an ActionBar button linked to a navigation drawer; now that we have navigation, we've added more reporting.
  • New reports Ad unit and site reporting have been added.
  • More data A full set of metrics on all of the reports we show.
  • Pull To Refresh Because I was wrong, Nick.
  • New icons While playing with the navigation drawer I found we needed some kind of visual indicator. I wanted scaleable icons that worked at all DPIs, but was way too lazy to actually go and make icons of all of those sizes. Enter FontAwesome, a font with a host of icons of just the right style and use case; that, plus a customised TextView that supports specifying a font, and a bit of aggressive caching of typography, and we've got some icons in the app now.
  • Use of typography I switched everything over to the fonts that are used in JellyBean and KitKat, Roboto. This is temporary, until I can find (or get around to buying for app embedding) something like Trafalgar and Requiem
  • API 1.4 introduced a change I've been begging for since the first version of the API; at least some of this happened because they're now seeing these problems for themselves as users of the API.
  • Rewrite of networking I rewrote the networking to make a single batch request at the same time I moved to Play Services for authentication. The refactor cut the amount of code I had in the app by more than half.
  • Use of Play Services SDK Play Services adds a lot of critical support for doing auth properly across a wider range of devices.

And, of course, moving off of the v1.2 API, which is what broke the app for all of October and November.

I did this in two stages - a 3.0 release in November, and a 3.1 release just a few days ago to make use of some of the earlier cleanup.

Along the way, I cleaned up a bunch of code, imported the 1.4 libraries, followed the daisy chain of required updates, moved to Android Studio, deleted all of that and switched to the maven repository, fixed all the maven conflicts, updated to later versions of support libraries, rewrote a bunch of stuff that the support library changes broke, etc. This has been, undoubtedly, a massive yak shaving exercise; but it's better off now.

We'll see where things go next; as always, send me your feature requests, complaints, and general chatter to the support address.

AdSense Dashboard Update

TL;DR: App broken, fix coming this weekend. AdSense API we were using has been replaced by a newer version. App will be updated this weekend with fixes and new features. In the meantime, use the Google Adsense app in the Android Market.

So since I write that last message, I found myself with an unusual job offer; I left the AdSense team in London, which I've been on for years, and moved to Mountain View to run the Display portion of the AdWords frontend and help advertisers make sense of our display ads business.

So my life has been a bit upside-down lately, and that's meant I've had very little time to launch the version of the app that wouldn't have broken when the rest of the AdSense API team did their launch. Most of my life is still in boxes, there's IKEA furniture stacked in little flat-pack cardboard boxes in our new house in Noe Valley, and the dog sees me for about three hours a day.

None of those things are excuses for having failed to deliver you an update, but I hope they go some way into explaining why it didn't happen in time.

I'm very sorry the AdSense Dashboard isn't working for you today. I'm going to fix this very soon - this weekend - and will iterate a few times over the weekend to clean up a few long-standing bugs and handle a few errors and crashes that the occasional person has reported.

Now, it's important to state clearly that this app isn't going to live forever. I really want everyone to migrate to the official app - I worked hard to get approval for that team to get officially sanctioned and to build the best possible user experience for you and the rest of our AdSense users, and they're working hard to build out a fantastic feature set, and already has features I don't offer, like notifications. If that app has the feature set you're happy with, switch now; if it doesn't, tell them what you most wish it had by providing feedback on the app, which they're watching closely.

I miss my old team. I'm so proud of the app they've built, and the UX team has done an amazing job of making something not just functional but beautiful. Now's a great time to go and try their app - again, if you haven't used it recently - and remind yourself of what having full time engineering on making a great user experience can achieve, rather than some guy in his 20% time.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me.

Google Publisher Toolbar launched!

In the real world, publishers use a mix of ad products on their sites; they book direct deals and reservations through DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), pass their inventory through exchanges like the Google Ad Exchange, or backfill unsold inventory to Google AdSense.

Since my initial launch of the AdSense Publisher Toolbar, we’ve got great feedback - both internally at Google across our publisher teams, and externally from users - and I’ve been very happy with the response so far.

Based on everyone’s feedback, e’ve been hard at work adding support for more products. I’m happy to announce that as of V2.0, we’ve renamed the AdSense Publisher Toolbar to the Google Publisher Toolbar, and added support for basic decoding of all DoubleClick tags. This is the first of many releases to broaden the toolbar to cover all of Google’s publisher products, and we look forward to your feedback.

Go check out the Google Publisher Toolbar extension on the Chrome Web Store for more information.

Thank You, Beta Testers!

So the secret can now be told - AdSense Dashboard has been a skunkworks project to test Google’s prototype AdSense API.

Together, we generated enough traffic to verify the production-readiness of the API; thanks for enduring the occasional downtime as we got the API ready for the masses and for its public release, and thanks to the AdSense API team for doing such amazing work under difficult time schedules and a rather large amount of pressure from me on the shape and form of the API.

This isn’t the end of AdSense Dashboard - in fact, it’s just the beginning. But for now, the limelight belongs to our API launch.

Read the complete Adsense API Announcement

If you’d like more information on the API, you’ll find the public documentation is now available. Now that we’re public, I’ll be changing the auth method from ClientLogin (which reported “AdSense” as the permissions it wanted when you attached an account) to the OAuth endpoint for the API, at which point it will tell you that it wants read-only access to the API, further limiting the set of permissible actions that can be taken by the code.

Thanks again to everyone who’s installed the product and helped us test our API.

AdSense Dashboard 2.6

I’ve been pumping out dashboard changes for the last few days, based on feedback, bug reports, and general email discussions with users. Keep them coming - if you use the app, I want to hear from you.

Users on Eclair/Froyo got bit by a pretty nasty bug in the HTTP stack built into the phone; the common fix appears to be to not use that API on those platforms, so that’s what I’m doing.

New stuff:

  • Support for disabling auto-refresh.
  • Bugfixes for Eclair/Froyo. If it’s not fixed for you, I want to hear about it.
  • Device-specific compatibility bugfixes around currency and rounding.
  • Google TV support. This is a bit slapdash - I’ll improve it as I improve the tablet layout.
  • New widget (released as part of the 2.5 chain) by a contributor/coworker.

There’s a lot of activity going on this weekend and early next week; I intend to do a lot of ‘remastering’ of the numeric portion of the display to show more comparative data - today versus yesterday, today verus one week ago, this week verus last week, this month versus last month, etc., for a broader set of metrics than we currently include.

That will also be extracted into widget form - choose an arbitrary 1x1 fact.

Lifetime spend, custom channels, and url channels will also show up, in all probability.

Your feedback isn’t just welcome - it’s wanted. Ping me with your gripes, comments, suggestions, and requests.