App Story

A Technology and Software How-To podcast
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Vic Hudson talks to other independent developers about bringing their apps from concept to product, and everything in between.

Recent Episodes

Episode 14: HoursTracker With Carlos Ribas
Episode 14: HoursTracker With Carlos Ribas
Carlos Ribas joins me to discuss his app HoursTracker. We discuss hobbies turned pro, the fact that there is still success on the App Store, iOS widget security considerations,  Watch apps and more! Carlos Began Cutting His Coding Teeth Early, Then Moved On To Cutting Edge Online Retail & Day Trading Backend Systems. Carlos started programming in middle school in BASIC. He wanted to be a game developer, so he spent a lot of time learning about efficiency and low-level programming. After high school he got a job at a web company and learned how to write CGI programs in C under Apache, mostly feedback forms. In the late 90s, while working for a small web company, on the frontier of e-commerce he wrote custom shopping basket systems in Perl. He then went on to working on server-side C#/.NET since .NET 1.1, spanning everything from more shopping baskets to real-time day trading order processing systems. Since then he continued developing HoursTracker while working as a Sr. .NET developer, architect, or manager. A few years ago with his friend David he started working on HoursTracker Cloud, a cross-platform web companion to HoursTracker. David takes on all of the web work and Carlos supplies the back-end logic. Currently this is a read-only web site but he has plans beyond that. Outside of computers, Carlos like fast cars & closely follows Formula 1. He tells me he’s pretty quick in a racing kart. He also dabbles in guitar. Carlos is also an AV geek and built his own home theater in his house including nerdy elements like gray scale calibration using a colorimeter, laser-assisted speaker aiming, and speaker EQ with an SPL meter and band-limited noise. Simply Put, HoursTracker Is The Only Mobile Time Tracking App You’ll Ever Need. HoursTracker is a full featured time tracking app for iOS and Android. I’ve actually been using it myself for years to track my day job, and I am currently trying to get into the habit of using it to track my app development project time. If you check out HoursTracker within a few days of this release you can even catch it on sale! You clock in and out as you work and watch as time accumulates and earnings grow. Then easily review your past entries, grouped by day, week, month, or pay period. There’s no need to enter each pay period yourself – just set your pay schedule type and HoursTracker automatically calculates everything, even daily and weekly overtime earnings. Time entries are automatically created when you clock out. Or, you can add entries yourself in just a few quick taps. You can also easily export your data by job, date, or selection. Then choose to export as a text summary or in spreadsheet-ready CSV format. HoursTracker also supports geofencing for reminders or automatically clocking in or out. It even has a convenient Today View widget for accessing your jobs quickly, and will have a full featured  Watch app ready on the day your new watch arrives. Started As A Hobby Project To Make An App For His Wife, HoursTracker Has Turned Into A Full Time Job For Carlos. In 2008, on the encouragement of his boss, Carlos purchased a Mac and started work on HoursTracker to satisfy his wife’s need for a good time tracking app. After she felt frustrated that the apps currently on the market didn’t meet her needs, Carlos decided he would make her one. In 2009 he launched HoursTracker 1.0. The original version had basic support for multiple jobs and time entries for them. He then later added pay periods and automatic overtime calculation. As the App Store and the iOS SDK feature set has matured, Carlos has kept busy making sure HoursTracker matured right along side it. He carefully studied new APIs available and then implemented the ones that he felt best suited the needs of the app. Along the way he’s adopted geofencing, a fresh new look to blend perfectly into the iOS 7 redesign, and continued with cutting edge iOS 8 features. Today the app boasts a Today Widget, Actionable Notifications & Touch ID. There is even an  Watch app ready for watch launch day. He’s also added web and cloud features, and better handling of breaks with pauses & adjustments to your time entries, as well as tips and milage. There is even an Android version he maintains himself as well. Carlos has recently gone full time indie, and is really doubling down on HoursTracker. He recently wrote a very popular post on Medium about how it’s grown into a full time job for him. He’s in it for the long haul and has lots of plans for the future, including an upcoming companion app. Contact Links: HoursTracker Website HoursTracker on Twitter HoursTracker on Facebook Carlos on Twitter Vic on Twitter App Story on Twitter Support Carlos & the show by using this link to get HoursTracker on the App Store: HoursTracker on the iOS App Store Additional links: Cribasoft Sign up to learn about the forthcoming HoursTracker companion app How HoursTracker earns five figures a month on the App Store - Carlos on Medium 10 Things Google Play Does Better than the App Store - Carlos on Medium If you're an indie developer and you'd like to tell your app's story on the show, click here. If you are enjoying App Story, please consider reviewing/rating it in iTunes. I'd also love to hear your feedback and to know how you found the show. Please feel free to use the twitter links and let me know! Thanks so much for your support!
Episode 13: Wants And Needs With Marco Napoli
Episode 13: Wants And Needs With Marco Napoli
In App Story’s first ever Release Day Special, Marco Napoli joins me to talk about his brand new app Wants And Needs, an app dedicated to helping keep your life balanced and in perspective. We discuss the philosophy behind the app and go into some technical details of it’s implementation, as well as Marco’s thoughts on marketing and important strategies to succeed. After years in the enterprise sector, Marco was enchanted by the iPhone and shifted to mobile development. Marco is the founder of Pixolini, Inc. an iOS, Web, Windows, Enterprise and Client Server Developer. He’s been passionate about computers and developing software his whole life. He spent a lot of time in the enterprise sector making things like banking and sales software before moving into the consumer space. He wrote first iPhone app in 2008. These days he is primarily focused on mobile app development especially iPhone, iPad, iOS Extensions and he’s already got things planned for the Watch. He confided in me his biggest development secret, he cannot code without caffeine. He loves Espresso, Cappuccino, Coffee and also Martial Arts. If you only Want without Thanks, you will never be happy. We all consider the things we want (like a new car) and the things we need (like making the rent or mortgage payment). But how many of us think about what we already have? Are we grateful? Do we take what we have for granted? Do our Wants outweigh our Needs? Are our Needs overshadowing our Thanks? Wants and Needs app was designed with these questions in mind to help place your Life in Perspective. Wants and Needs is a brand new app designed to organize personal goals, ambitions, and expressions of gratitude into three simple categories: Wants, Needs, and Thanks. The app not only gives users the ability to personalize their thoughts, but it also presents their custom data with graphic charts. These charts help the user visually understand if their life goals are in or out of balance. Life in Perspective. Marco’s design process starts with how the user will use the app, and everything is completely designed around that perspective. About a year ago Marco was inspired to develop Wants and Needs to help place our Life in Perspective, by acknowledging our gratitude. He was sitting in Church listening to the Pastor's homily talking about the time he had to reflect on his life. It was like a lightbulb went on and Marco first envisioned Wants and Needs as an app. He began mapping out the needs of the project in his mind. At this stage he was extremely focused on how the users will use the app. As he fleshed out the details mentally he pictured the flow of the app and then moved on to prototyping the storyboard. He then spent time playing with the storyboard on his device and refined the flow of the app and the User Experience. Next he knew an app like his absolutely had to sync between multiple devices. He then got to work on Core Data syncing, which was also beneficial as he needed it for the app’s Today View Widget, and will need it for his future plans for the app as well. Marco shared with me some of these future plans for the app, one of which will be an Watch app, and many others as well. I look forward to seeing where else he takes the app in the future. Marco views the marketing so integral to an app’s success, that he starts that process almost before he’s even really started developing the app. He told me a lot of interesting pieces of his strategy during the interview. I personally believe a developer would do well to take notes from him. He certainly help me to realize some of my own marketing short comings. Contact Links: Wants and Needs Website Marco Napoli on Twitter Vic on Twitter App Story on Twitter Support Marco & the show by using this link to get Wants And Needs on the App Store: Wants And Needs on the iOS App Store Additional links: Wants And Needs Demo Video Pixolini on Twitter Pixolini website If you're an indie developer and you'd like to tell your app's story on the show, click here. If you are enjoying App Story, please consider reviewing/rating it in iTunes. I'd also love to hear your feedback and to know how you found the show. Please feel free to use the twitter links and let me know! Thanks so much for your support!
Episode 12: Drafts With Greg Pierce
Episode 12: Drafts With Greg Pierce
Greg Pierce joins me to talk about creating his app Drafts, iOS app extensibility and automation based on URL Schemes, creating the x-callback-url standard, and the future of iOS App and system extensibility. Greg Pierce has been a leader in pushing the boundaries of automation on iOS. Greg Pierce was naturally very computer savvy. He grew up in a home with computers always present. He was frequently the ”go to guy” when people had computer problems. He was also into desktop publishing and automating the process, which led him into scripting and programming. This led to his unintentional entrance into the field of software development. In 2006 he founded Texas-based Agile Tortoise and entered the consulting market, while doing personal projects on the side. In recent years, he has primarily focused on developing his own independent iOS apps such as Drafts, Phraseology and Terminology. Along the way, Greg and Marco Arment developed an idea for apps to better communicate with each other using a standard form for URL Schemes, providing a better user experience. This led Greg to author the x-callback-url spec, with his app, Terminology, and Marco’s then app, Instapaper, being the first to implement it. Greg has been a leader in pushing the boundaries of automation on iOS ever since, and x-callback-url is now widely adopted by both large and small players on the App Store. Drafts, where text starts on iOS. Quickly capture text and send it almost anywhere! Drafts is the quick, easy way to capture and share text. In Drafts, text comes first – open the app and get a new, blank draft – ready to type. Don't get bogged down in a timeline to tweet or post to Facebook. Don't tap your way through multiple screens to get down an email or SMS. Don't navigate folders, create files and name them just to jot down a note or create a todo. Extensive output options let you send text to Twitter, Facebook, Mail, Message, a Calendar event, quickly save (or prepend/append) to Dropbox, Google Drive or Evernote and much more. Advanced multi-step actions and Javascript integration can combine all of these options in a single tap and more. Drafts can make any workflow shine! Drafts was born from a light bulb moment in Greg’s head. While composing an email to his wife one day, Greg decided he needed it to be a text message instead. The resulting frustration of changing the delivery method of that message caused a light bulb to come on in Greg’s head. There should be a simpler way to start with text on iOS and decide what to do with it later, from this idea came Drafts. The initial app just opened to a text box and let you choose from a few basic options for outputting the text. Over time Greg continued to iterate on the app and, using URL Schemes, he was able to begin adding more actions to Drafts. As URL Schemes became more popular, more apps began to support them and the actions available to a Drafts user really flourished. Savvy users could even craft their own actions. When Greg later authored the x-callback-url standard, people could then create very complex actions and workflows that incorporated multiple apps, each passing the input and output back to the source app or another app to manipulate it further. Today Greg continues to iterate Drafts, and maintains an ever growing directory of Drafts actions online. Contact Links: Drafts Website Greg on Twitter Vic on Twitter App Story on Twitter Support Greg & the show by using this link to get Drafts and his other apps on the App Store: Drafts on the iOS App Store Terminology Phraseology Additional links: Agile Tortoise website x-callback-url Mac Stories - Automating iOS: A Comprehensive Guide to URL Schemes and Drafts Actions by Alex Guyot If you're an indie developer and you'd like to tell your app's story on the show, click here. If you are enjoying App Story, please consider reviewing/rating it in iTunes. I'd also love to hear your feedback and to know how you found the show. Please feel free to use the twitter links and let me know! Thanks so much for your support!

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Podcast Details
Feb 6th, 2014
Latest Episode
Apr 16th, 2015
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Avg. Episode Length
35 minutes

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