Previously, on SettleUp …

30 09 2007

No, I havn’t been on holiday since May, I wish I had, but I havn’t. The reality is that SettleUp, the application is finished. It does what it says on the tin, and lets businesses invoice their clients.

And that’s where the problems start. I make no secret of the fact that I’m now well outside  my comfort zone, I need to get the company formed, I need to sort out a bank account, I need to write a proper business because the one I have currently would just get laughed at, I need to try and think about finance & funding and 101 other things that are not tech related.

I’ve been speaking to a few people who have experience in this kind of thing, and that’s helped a lot, I have a direction to go in, starting with incorporation.


Off on holiday

11 05 2007

Progress has been swift since my last post, beta users can now pay for their invoices via Google Checkout and that order is then processed via Google.

I’m currently mulling over a few problems caused by the fact that when a user comes to Settleup, their “order” is already waiting for them, unlike a more traditional store where they would construct a basket and then pay for it there and then. I need to engineer a robust system whereby users don’t end up quitting half way through Google’s checkout, leaving their invoice in limbo between new, and paid. Depending on how that’s done, there are occasions where a user could end up paying for the invoice twice if it isn’t flagged as soon as they are passed over to Google.

As well as writing the Settleup side of things, I’ve also been implementing some of the missing functionality in Google4R, a Ruby plugin that encapsulates the Google Checkout API, I’ve been working with an old colleague of mine, Doooks, and he has my changes ready to merge with his own and be submitted for inclusion in the main trunk on the project

It all makes for a very interesting set of problems, and I’ll fill you in on the solution when I have implemented it, but that’s going to be at least a week away because I’m on holiday next week.

Also, if I may plug a demo I’ll be giving on one of my older apps, TrafficJammr … I’ll be making a presentation at Barcamp Sheffield, so make sure you say Hi! if you’re going to be there.

Google Checkout launches in the UK

16 04 2007

Google have recently announced that they have released Google Checkout for the UK, which is massive news for me. Over the past few weeks I’ve been scratching around trying to find the fees I need to open a business account, and the monthly processing of any transactions, but that’s all blown out of the water now.

Google are offering free transaction processing till the end of 2007, and after that £10 worth of transactions for every £1 you spend on adwords untill the end of 2008.

The beta programme is still progressing well, apart from a few problems with Gmail thinking the beta invite is spam, but I think that’s sorted now (If you haven’t received yours, let me know) and now I’m also working to integrate Google Checkout as my PSP.

Private Beta.

9 04 2007 is now live, and being prepared for a private beta. I’m pretty excited by all this, I started off to see if I could build a useful web app for under £2000, and so far SettleUp has cost me the grand total of £11.75 for the doman name. I still have to spend to open a merchant account (£250 at HSBC), and probably buy some adwords, but I havn’t done that yet.

So please, visit and sign up for the beta (via either of the two Sign Up links). There’s a mailing list to join by sending “subscribe settleup” to so I’d love to hear your feedback so far …

The Name Game

15 03 2007

Even now, my web app doesn’t have a name. I’m really bad at it obviously. Every name I’ve gone for so far has been taken, or at least the domain name has.

Do you think you could do any better? Have a read through this blog, glean what little info there is about the app (clue: very little) and make your suggestion in a comment below, or email it to me if you prefer.

The winner will get something from their Amazon wishlist, and exclusive entry onto our private beta programme when it begins …


Thanks to Darrell who came up with “Settle Up” …

Choosing a PSP

10 12 2006

Come on Stu!! You’ve got a website to write, you don’t have time to play games!!

Actually, in this case, a PSP is a Payment Service Provider, a partner that provides the facilities to accept credit cards, so we can take payment on behalf of our clients. There are various ones to choose from, but the 4 contenders I’m looking at are:

  • Protx
  • Paypal
  • SecureTrading
  • Google Checkout.

At the moment, it’s a straight choice between the 1st 2, because Google Checkout isn’t available in the UK, but I am evaluating it because it would be an option if it were available in the UK.

So how do the other 2 stack up against each other? They both provide a secure XML payment gateway, or they wouldn’t be the last 2, they both accept similar cards and they both have pretty good reputations. What I’m trying to say is that it all comes down to money 🙂 How much are they going to charge?

Protx have a very simple price plan. If you have less than 1000 transactions a quarter there is a flat £20 a month charge, otherwise they charge 10p per transaction. That seems a little odd that when your transactions increase, so does the cost. When you grow to reach the 1000 transaction limit, you automatically get switched so there doesn’t seem to be any messing.

SecureTrading on the other hand won’t give a quote over the web, you have to call them, I’ll do this as soon as I have some better estimates of the level of transactions involved, and the average transaction value.

Paypal is a choice we could develop, but to be honest, their fees are just too high to be cost effective.

Update: SecureTrading have got back to me with a quite, and up to 1000 transactions in 3 months, ProTX are cheaper, after that, SecureTrading win by a mile. If that remains true following ProTX’s aquisition by Sage we’ll wait and see …

Getting things done

4 12 2006

Getting things done is hard.

I have a day job, a wife & 2 kids, I coach a football(soccer) team and I also want to try and move this web app forward.

Getting things done is hard.

I’m a naturally lazy person, there are countless jobs round the house that I need to get done. Take down the play stuff in the garden, tidy the office so it can be a 3rd bedroom over christmas, fix the shed door … the list goes on.

Getting things done is hard.

So, what have I done since the last post? Not much really. The actual app itself is at a stage where it needs some design work doing, and a payment solution choosing (more on that soon). I’ve been talking to a friend to see if he’d be interested in helping out, and still trying to think of a name 🙂 We had a few good ideas in the car on the wqay home the other night, but they were mainly ruled out as being already taken.