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Doubling down on quality

Written on Jun 23, 2017

With WWDC now at an end, but still feeling the buzz, I came away with a feeling of needing to do more. There was a feeling of emptiness in some parts of my app development.

Apple are known for their high quality apps, hardware and operating systems. Everything they do from shipping a product to you is first class.

I’ve been developing apps for a while now but came to realise that I tend to concentrate on one thing and do the feature well. That ultimately gets the job done but there were gaps of where I could have done much better.

Now is the right time to double down on the quality of all apps I make. From concept to finished product. I want to delight my users even more and think of the overall picture across all devices and platforms when I can.

No more one design for iPhone and make it adapt to iPads. No, this will be thought about at design phase. Re-iterated as I built the app to make it even better.

The quality of the App Store is dramatically increasing with iOS11. Promotional images and everything around it must be much better than I do now. I want my customers to feel they have a high quality and well thought about product.

I’m excited for this new chapter. You only live once so let’s make it count. Even if I fail with an app, it’s a great learning experience and nothing is wasted except maybe a teardrop.

Here is to better quality apps no matter what!

Thoughts on increased app sizes

Written on Jun 20, 2017

There is an interesting article up on MacStories that talks about a report on how app size has dramatically increased, especially for the most popular apps, in the past few year.

Being an indie developer that strives for minimum code, sweating the details and rewriting things to make my apps as small as possible, this is unacceptable. Heck, I even ditched using the Electron framework for an app and instead used native code. That alone shaved 100MB off the project. 100MB! Saved!

It’s terrible to know that these big corporations and maybe less experienced developers just ‘do’ without actually thinking about it or about the precious megabytes. Yes, there might be a case where it is totally justified, like in a game. But please, for a social network or anything less demanding?

There are more forces at work of course, like behind the scenes A/B split testing - basically shipping two or three apps with the same code in one app. Not that you will ever use all three at once, but they’ll target a subset of users and track how you behave on an idea for their UI.

If your business relies on ‘in-app’ A/B split testing, make stuff re-usable from the core of the app. Make it the first thing you code. Keep it that way. Why does the user have to suffer?

I believe you should stick to what you think works and ship it. See if your user base likes it. If not, adjust. Don’t give a choice of 3, 4, 5 or more in one app - which the user can’t even choose.

You alone have to lead the way. Delight and surprise your users.

If you have a boss breathing down your neck to incorporate a ‘big new UI’ to a subset of users but having to bundle several apps in the same app bundle… quit! This is not right. One day it will be ‘one phone, one app’ if it goes on. Space is precious, why waste it? Apple give you great tools to make you apps as small as possible.

And to be totally cheesy… Fight for the user!

I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that my apps are sub-par and that my users are suffering because I decided to not care about what I put in my apps.

Phew... all fixed

Written on Jun 9, 2017

Yeseterday I made a mistake that caused my apps to crash on launch by revoking my developer certificate with Apple.

All apps have now been updated and will work once again.

Talking to a few friends and family it looked like they were not affected, which is good.

Rather safe than sorry.

Thank you to Apple for approving all apps at roughly the same time yesterday. I didn’t even have to ask for an expedited review. 🙇

Whoops, my apps are temporally offline

Written on Jun 8, 2017

I made a mistake when upgrading and re-installing my operating system.

I accidentally revoked my Developer Certificate and re-issued it. This is causing all apps to crash on launch.

Took the decision to remove them all from the App Store whilst I submit the newly signed ones.

Sorry folks.

Will provide an update here once they are back.

Update

The issue has been fixed and all apps have been updated and approved. Update your apps if you are having issues.

Looking Forward to WWDC

Written on Jun 5, 2017

Today is WWDC day. I’m pretty excited. More than in a while. Unsure why, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed pretty much every Apple event. Even the slightly more dull ones… and the hide my head behind a pillow events.

The week before WWDC usually is hot with rumours on Apple’s happenings. This one was no different.

For me this makes the week go faster. Not only that we also have a loads of podcasts with their predictions. Keeps me busy.

The podcasts I’ve enjoyed this year:

I actually listened to ATP twice, because they cover so much ground it’s hard to keep up.

Let’s see what they announce today.

I’ve been dipping my toes into Server Side Swift the last few weeks. It’s AMAZING what you can do with the same programming language you know from iOS and macOS! I think Apple has really brought us something special with Swift. I’m motivated to double down on Swift and explore making full web apps with the language. For me it’s about fully understanding a language, so this is perfect as I can apply it to many of my interest fields.

There are many frameworks out there that allows you to write web apps like Kitura and Vapor. Personally I am working through Kitura at the moment. I’ll hopefully be bringing a few posts about the process in the coming months.

I would love to see Apple’s Xcode bring support for better web development. Xcode is an amazing IDE once you understand it.

Anyway, not long to go now… we’ll be running betas and playing around with new software.

Exciting! Enjoy it!

Sleepy Eyes is half price, for WWDC

Written on Jun 3, 2017

Celebrating the upcoming WWDC next week, that’s Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, I made Sleepy Eyes half price for you all. That’s $0.99 instead of $1.99.

I’m working hard on version 3 for the app and that will hopefully come later this year.

Enjoy and happy calming.

Vincent

JSON Feed

Written on May 21, 2017

Launched last week JSON Feed seems to have gained a bit of traction in a very short time, introduced by Brent Simmons and Manton Reece. Developers that I follow and truly respect.

JSON is super nice to read and work with, in any application. This is natural to me and certainly to other developers.

This site now runs a JSON Feed. Couldn’t be happier with it. Super easy to add with Jekyll.

I hope this will replace XML and/or Atom based RSS at some time in the future. Looking forward to seeing more… and importantly… feed readers adopting the standard.

Release notes: Sleepy Eyes v2.6

Written on Mar 23, 2017

A tiny but totally great update to Sleepy Eyes (version 2.6).

A new Settings screen built from scratch and localised into 4 different languages. I’ve also included some accessibility improvements here.

Changes:

  • A new settings screen, which is now localised to Japanese, German, Dutch and Polish. English too!
  • Fixed a bug where the timer would not correctly increase or decrease once the sound started to play.
  • Improved localisation for Japanese, German, Dutch and Polish. More coming soon.

I wasn’t too happy with the one before so I hope this settles it for you folks. Hoping to add more full localisation to the app in future and better accessibility.

Future development:

This is my last update to the app for version 2. Work on version 3 has begun after months of planning and designing. I don’t have a release date yet but it will be ready when it’s ready.

Version 3 will be a complete rebuild of the whole app and sounds. I’m starting from scratch.

If there are major issues on version 2, I will be sure to fix them though!

Happy calming and sleeping!