Pocket Invoicer

I spent the last couple of months of 2018 completing a new app called Pocket Invoicer. I noticed that Estimate Maker was quite successful, and enhancing it enough to make it handle invoices was quite easy, and always the plan. I wanted it to be out in the wild to be sure I had no major bugs before adding what would be more crucial functionality.

Unfortunately, invoicing has more competition than estimating, and my little invoicing app is not doing very well. I’m going to drop the price on it yet again to see if I can’t get it to be at least as successful as Estimate Maker.  I tried changing the name to ‘Invoice in your pocket’ to see if it was the fact that invoice isn’t in the name that was causing it to rank so poorly in search.  But that did not help.

 

Posted in iOS

Summertime!

June 4, 2018

WWDC! I love this time of year. All the dev conferences, but especially this one! And the pool and ocean get warm and inviting, but for the most part, it’s nice to just program and look at the beauty of our hot, humid summers from indoors.

I have just updated my Estimate maker app with a few minor enhancements, but mostly to implement an uncaught exception handler. I have big plans for this app once I’m sure it’s stable. I have one field report that I cannot duplicate and do not have a sense of how common it is.  Now that I have the error handling framework, I will put it in all my apps.

I am also enjoying Udemy courses, of which I bought an embarrassing number of during a sale they had a few months back. I’m getting proficient with Unity, and have the beginnings of a good VR game in my head.

The difficult part, as usual, is not to go off in too many directions. The Estimate app is doing well without any promotion on my part, so I think it warrants enhancing. But I am going to spend a lot of time with VR this year.

Live long and prosper!

 

Posted in iOS

Fun with WKWebviews and Javascript

Forgive me, o God of Blogs. It has been 3 months since my last posting.

I’ve been working with WKWebviews in my Hotelplanner.app. Actually, I’m using the Sencha javascript and datastores to populate the native UI elements. One of my top goals this year was to incorporate hotel rates from all of our feeds, and start pulling reviews from a different site than I’d been using. Since the browser already has this logic, I just keep the browser hidden and use its logic, which is powered by javascript. Just as relevant for the app as it is for the browser. I just never show the browser, except for check-out. This gives me the ability to add a lot of functionality to the check-out page, which is difficult to test without actually booking rooms. All in all, I’m very happy with how easily it all ties together. With the speed of Nitro js in the iOS browser, HTML5 is becoming faster on the phones.

And, since I’m getting involved with javascript, I thought it might be nice to learn some Node.js, so I’m working through a book on that. I may power my website using js rather than coldFusion. I haven’t decided yet. The advantage of js is it is growing more popular by the day, which is the disadvantage of coldFusion. But Hotelplanner uses coldfusion, so it would be quite useful to become more proficient in that language. Not to mention I have lots of examples on how to do things!  Life is full of trade offs.

popularLang2015

Who’s Who: Remembering Names and Faces

Forgive me of God of Blogs, it’s been over two months since my last posting.  Which is appalling when you consider that I have actual news!

I launched a new app on March 24th called ‘Who’s Who: Remembering Names and Faces.’ This app gives you several ways of adding photos, and several ways of drilling and recalling the names associated with them. Originally, I had the ability to share groups of photos with others through CloudKit, but Apple kept rejecting it, saying it’s against their privacy policy to share people’s photos. It was the killer feature of my app, as you could have all kinds of use cases for group leaders to collect and share group members photos. It’s still a cool app, but not the potential blockbuster I had envisioned.

As part of my marketing initiative, I did a press release through PRWeb since all the marketing books and blogs agree that is essential. It costs $159. I got 2 downloads from it.  But maybe it’ll drive SEO links for future searches for an app like mine.

I launched a Google Adwords campaign a week later. Since my app sells for $1.99, I put the max bid at $1 for a pay-per-click ad. The ad takes them directly to the itunes store for downloading the app. After a week, I have had 120 impressions, and 0 clicks. It has cost me nothing to be seen by people who are searching for my ‘long tail’ keyword phrases. I have had one download this last week.  Probably worthwhile but not the overwhelming success I was hoping for.

Meanwhile, I’ve been contacted by several companies wanting to promote my app for me. At this point, I’m reluctant to pour any more money into marketing, and will look for free ways to promote it.

My Rhythm ID app is downloading between 5-10 every day, but as an ad-supported app, it’s only generating about $10 a month in income. I’ve never done anything to promote it other than a Facebook and Google+ page that I post Memes to every month or so. It is discovered by people searching for the keywords in the app store. Although I’ve had several thousand downloads, and several dozen positive feedback emails, I have had exactly 0 reviews which I suspect would help it. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t focus more on this app, and see if I can get the ad-generated income up. Although it’s hard not to just start a new app!  I must learn some marketing that works if this app writing hobby that I love is ever going to be more than a hobby.

owlLogo180

Shiresmith Publishing

Forgive me, o God of Blogs, it has been four months since my last post. I had been waiting to post good news, but Apple keeps rejecting my latest app. There is just no way around the rule of not being allowed to upload people’s photos to iCloud. I thought I was really onto something. sigh. I have to take out a bunch of the functionality and make it a much less useful app now. Live and learn. It’s not like the cloud kit skills will disappear.

I am having a great time with the Hotelplanner app. First, a total redesign by our phenomenal graphic designer Ray. Now, he’s given me animations to go along with the design. Beautiful and challenging. I learned quite a bit about animation from my sister’s children’s book that I did, so this will be very enjoyable. At least on the Apple side. It’s square one for Android.

I keep planning to focus on marketing, and yet here I am, still drawn more to creating than selling. Apple took a lot of wind out of my sails. I actually spent a day writing a press release for my rejected app. I know I shouldn’t give up. There is still functionality to be salvaged. After all, my original idea didn’t have sharing. It was just such a killer idea once I had it that it’s hard to get excited over the scaled down version.

I created an LLC called Shiresmith Publishing that I plan to change my Apple ID to use since it seems more professional to sell from a company than from an individual.  It cost a little under $200 in Florida where I live, but it’s a yearly fee.  Taxes get a bit more complicated, but with any luck, I’ll make an app that makes taxes complicated anyway!  There are worse problems to have.

shiresmith

iOS and Me

I’ve been playing around with CloudKit in my new app. I had to rethink my entire app after Facebook changed their API in April and one of my most important functions ceased to be possible. It is taking me way too long to get this baby out the door. I’m hoping to be ready by the iOS 8 launch. It’s not easy to work and make apps on the side and have a life, LOL. I gave up too many weekends getting my doctorate degree.

I’m in the process of converting my Hotelplanner app to Storyboards. When that is successful, I will convert it to use autolayout in anticipation of using the new size classes of iOS 8. But that will be awhile. I need to support at least a couple of releases backward.

The temptation is huge to rewrite half my classes to incorporate newer technologies! Only so many hours in a day. I have to restrain myself.

There are so many things on my todo list!  After my app is released, I am going to focus on Swift and on making 2D characters and scenes.  I am determined to do a game and I may as well learn the new SpriteKit, SceneKit, and Playgrounds in the process.

ios_8_icon1

Posted in iOS

My Excellent WWDC Adventure

WWDC 2014
I just returned from WWDC 2014. The mother of all releases! It was a good WWDC to go to. My brain is swirling with ideas and possibilities. So many new frameworks, and a new language to boot! I wish I could just code iOS all day long for the next few months!

I loved the energy, and I especially got a lot out of talking to the Apple engineers who were quite enthusiastic to give advice on your code and how to improve it. The sessions were very cool, but after a few days you get really tired of sitting passively for hours on end. My brain was full. People bring their laptops to try to code along, with varying degrees of success. I only carried mine the first day, where I discovered my shoulders don’t really like carrying a backpack around all day long. And on the last day where I sought out Apple engineers to talk to, and happily that paid off. That was my favorite time of the entire event after the keynote.

I was hoping to make more friends, but I’m not very extroverted and was as alone there as I am at most social events. San Francisco was quite an experience. Very pretty and interesting and cold. It’s June for crying out loud. Being a Florida girl, I decided I didn’t want to move there after all. No matter how invigorating the intellectual climate is.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to go. But it’s not something I would lay out the money for on my own. After all, the videos are available immediately now, and at home you can pause them and move around and even code along. If I were more of a party-goer, it might be different since there were parties that I did not go to every night. I did enjoy the Apple Bash since I have no trouble talking to strangers after a glass of wine. But my mind doesn’t work well the next morning after drinking even small amounts, and it’s just not worth the trade-off to me.