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Using a two phased approach to launching on Intuit Apps.com

You can use the QuickBooks Online REST API v3 to seamlessly connect your app to QuickBooks Online data. The connection uses the web-based standards OAuth, OpenID, and RESTful API calls. But, sometimes it isn’t clear what should be implemented, and in which order. Here is a two phased approach for launching your app on Intuit Apps.com.

Before we jump in, I highly recommend signing up for a QuickBooks Online trial and testing out some of the top Apps.com apps. It is also a good idea to bookmark this checklist of requirements and best practices. TIP: Change your QuickBooks Online trial subscription into a developer subscription.

Phase 1: Solve for your existing customers first.

If your app is a small business SaaS app, chances are that many of your existing customers use QuickBooks Online as well. They probably also have a need to move some data between your app and QuickBooks Online, and they are currently jumping through unnecessary hoops to accomplish this (see this post on why IIF files are bad).

The first thing you will want to implement is the “Connect to QuickBooks” button (OAuth).

This button is used by your customers to grant your app access to their QuickBooks Online data. This button launches the QuickBooks OAuth connection process. It is similar to a Connect to Facebook or Connect to Twitter button you may have seen in other web based SaaS apps.

Once successfully connected, your app is ready to start moving data to and from QuickBooks Online via the RESTful API calls. TIP: A fast and easy way to get familiar with the requests and responses is to use theAPI Explorer.

At this point you should have been able to identify and build data connections that your customers find valuable. Now you are ready to push your code live and start letting your customers use the connection. To get your production keys (also called prod tokens) follow these steps.

By solving for your customers first, you have done the following:

  • Ensured you have a solid integration that truly solves a small business owner’s problems.
  • Created a chest of loyal users that you can ask to write you great reviews the day you launch on Apps.com.

You are well underway to having a successful Apps.com launch.

Phase 2: Build out your Intuit Apps.com integration to get new customers.

One of the major advantages of having your app on Apps.com is the one-click signup experience from the app card. Essentially, this allows customers to signup for you app, authorize your app to access their data in QuickBooks, and start using your app as quickly as possible. This is made possible by implementing OpenID in your SaaS app. Essentially, we hand off the known user to you, allowing the user bypass the need to create a second user name and password on your site.

You also need to add the “Sign In with Intuit” button (OpenID) to your sign-in pages.

Your QuickBooks Online REST API v3 integration should now be finished. Make sure your app passes all the tests on the Apps.com Requirements checklist. TIP: Following the best practices that are listed in the checklist ensures the best user experience.

Once you have fully tested your app, you are ready to publish your app on Apps.com. Which triggers thorough technical, security, and marketing reviews. When completed, your app card is pushed live so QuickBooks Online users can discover and sign up for your app.

At this time, you should request reviews from your customers from Phase 1. They can navigate to your app card to write a review. TIP: The apps on Apps.com are listed in order by the number of reviews, so starting out on the first day with 4 and 5 star reviews is crucial to your success.

You can now place the “Available on Intuit Apps.com” badge on your website and other marketing materials.

Congratulations and Good Luck!
-david

 April 2, 2014 | David Leary