Since I’m going to be making an app, I figured I should do a little refresher on the tools and language of Xcode and Objective-C.
A few years ago, I watched the Stanford iPhone App Development class free on iTunes U. It was a different language so it was kind of hard to grasp some concepts. Also, I didn’t really get to practice it because I didn’t have a Mac at the time.
But this time around, I have a Macbook Pro and Xcode installed, and I’m watching the newest version of the iOS app development course (http://itunes.apple.com/us/course/ipad-iphone-app-development/id495052415). I figure I would at least not be surprised by the different syntax of the language.
But in the second class, where the instructor went through a demo of “the first app,” I couldn’t completely follow what’s going on, let alone imagine what I would do if I were to do it myself. Luckily, there’s a step-by-step screenshot-by-screenshot walkthrough the class has prepared, so I get to at least have an assisted start.
What I’m trying to say is that I might have bit off a little more than I can chew with this app. But it’s still early, so I’m going to stay on course to do this Muni app. And if it gets too much, I have some back up ideas.
It’s time to figure out which app from my list of ideas I should make. As you can see below, I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and briefly looked at the potential risks and rewards. I have decided to aim for the stars and am going with creating the Muni app with transfer suggestions.
Educational App for Babies/Toddlers (My Nephew)
Pro: Helps kids learn stuff
Con: Mainly for kids. Kids may get bored
Usefulness: M – Mainly for kids
Difficulties/Restrictions: Kids may get bored. Not familiar with how kids play and what makes it fun
iOS Wallpaper Prep
Applies custom text on an image to use for iOS wallpaper. Text would have contact info in case device is lost.
Pro: No need to use computer to edit image anymore. Probably easy to make
Con: Won’t be used often
Usefulness: L – Only used occasionally
Demographic: Practically anyone
Difficulties/Restrictions: practically none beyond my level.
Muni Real-time App with Transfer Suggestions
Pro: Really useful.
Con: Probably hardest to make
Usefulness: H – Used almost everyday
Demographic: SF Public Transit users
Need to figure out how to get bus traffic data
Need to figure out algorithm for calculating connections
Need to figur out how to visualize data
One Per Day Blog
Creates an app version of my blog that easily records one-word summary of the day with a one-sentence description. It should also display past entries in an effective way.
Pro: Easier to use than now (I use the WordPress app, without a more efficient way to look at past posts)
Con: No an app for everyone
Usefulness: H for me, L for everyone else
Demographic: Probably just me. Could be expanded to select bloggers
Difficulties/Restrictions: Need to figure out how to connect with WordPress or own server
Working Out Data Entry App
Creates an app that records my workout stats in detail, along with other features that apply to me, including goal setting, workout suggestions, and an effective way to display my history
Pro: Easier to use than now (I use a WordPress app to record my goals, and another app to record my weight, but I don’t have a way to record the details to record my workout.
Con: May not include every single exercise/situations of a workout.
Demographic: Athletic people
Difficulties/Restrictions: Need to know how to store data on device and in cloud.
For a few years now, I had been wanting to create iPhone apps. That’s part of the reason why I got my first Mac two and a half years ago. But with me starting a new job at Zynga a few months later, I had not had time to do any real personal projects.
Then recently, I realized that of course I cannot create an app from scratch in a timely manner (a month or two) when I have a full-time job. So, I decided to give myself a full year to work on it.
I’ve made a rough outline for the next 12 months to get myself organized, and I’m documenting my progress here to make sure I do what I promised. (Encouragement along the way is appreciated.)
I’ve given myself a pretty easy start this month, where I just have to figure out what app I want to make. And since I’ve never seriously coded in Objective-C before, I’m giving myself a lot more time (about six months) to code and about a month to do the visual designs.
Here’s the “12-Month Plan” as of today:
Outline basic timeline (which I just completed. Huzzah!)
Finalize Project idea
Weigh pros and cons for each idea
Consider usefulness of app and potential demographic
Consider difficulty to create app within time frame
Define Goals of App
Look into offerings and limitations of iOS
Refine Sketches to usable assets
Update flows and mocks with hi-fi assets
Outline coding timeline
Split up work into subtasks
Start with functional elements before incorporating designs
Set up stats tracking, feedback, and crash reporting functionalities
Use placeholders to create overall flow
Determine if features need to be expanded or scaled back
Update schedule outline
Start testing on device
Replace/update placeholder elements with hi-fi assets
Determine if features need to be introduced, expanded, or scaled back
Update mocks based on any changes to flow and features
Overall app flow should be almost complete.
Begin user testing
Collect feedback and stats
Reevaluate app quality
Update flows and designs to address valid feedback