Shipment tracking: Missing interfaces cause problems for the “Deliveries” app

An app that tracks all packages – that could soon be a thing of the past. With the introduction of in-house apps, parcel services are apparently making it increasingly difficult for other developers to query the delivery status. There is usually no official interface for package tracking.

Without vendors’ help, it’s no longer possible to offer the full functionality of the app, explained the indie developer of the popular Deliveries app. It runs on iPhones and Macs and supports parcel tracking at numerous national and international logistics companies from DHL, DPD, Hermes, UPS, FedEx and Royal Mail to Amazon and the Apple Store.

It is likely that more and more delivery services will isolate themselves over time and that detailed tracking information will no longer appear in deliveries, explains developer Mike Piontek, who brought his app to the iPhone back in 2008 – shortly after the App Store opened. As a result, users no longer see an estimated delivery date in the app, cannot follow the package’s route on a map view, and do not receive notifications of status changes. This affects tracking at DHL, for example.

As far as possible, he will try to continue to support various providers, writes Piontek, but he can no longer offer the service he is used to. But he is also aware that the app will become less useful.

All in all, this is a loss for users: Instead of one app, you have to install several apps from different parcel services and work with different user interfaces. Useful additional functions and comprehensive integration into the operating system, such as those offered by Deliveries, are usually missing in the mostly cross-platform apps from the providers. This includes, for example, the option of adding deliveries directly via the sharing menu or offering a widget for the home screen that gives a quick overview of all pending deliveries.

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