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Archive for June, 2010

Ideas and Reality

June 21st, 2010 No comments

Good ideas are hard to come by, but people *think* that they have good ideas all the time. How can this be?

An idea itself is not struck by reality yet. You need to work with it, test it on other people or whatever the target audience is. This is not new and everybody is nodding now. So, the question is, why are there so few ideas that become actual products?

Most of the time I see a good idea being spoiled by people who can not envision it in their own minds and the guy who had the idea can not explain it. Almost as often the problem is, that the guy with the idea is not capable of bringing the idea to life. He is missing time, resources or skills.

The only way I have seen to work and resolve both issues just mentioned, is to make some kind of technology demonstrator, proof-of-concept or prototype. My observation here is that the tricky part is to reduce the proof-of-concept to the absolute minimum in order to show that it will work out. My rule of thumb is: If it takes more than a day to do – you are doing something else than a prototype. This is of course in the field of software – not making a new car or something.

Another aspect of the proof-of-concept is timing. Do not create something, which is based on creativity when you are stressed out and while you are doing something else. Furthermore, do not present it to people (if that is required), when they are in a hurry. A quick response to something new is almost always negative. People just love and embrace the safe and secure harbor of a known environment with predictive outcome. Give it time work in your and peoples minds.

Last, but not least – do not stop being creative and take failures as what it is: the best way of learning!

iPhone Developers and App Sales

June 17th, 2010 No comments

Just recently Apple published their first iPhone App (iTC Mobile), which allows you to check your App sales on your device.

In general this is good news for all of us developers, because the standard iTunes Connect Web Portal is not really suited to give a fast overview of sales and statistics.

The not so good news is, that it is the first version of the App and it still lacks some features compared to the other available 3rd party tools.

I personally prefer the open source AppSales App for the iPad. This App is not perfect either, but in my opinion it is still 21,5% better than Apples App.

Categories: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Tags:

iPhone, Apple and the Glory of it

June 9th, 2010 No comments

It is a frequently discussed topic how much value you get out of Apple products compared to the rivals like Microsoft, Android (Google) and so on. I would like to state some of my personal opinions on this topic.

Basically, nothing is perfect – not even Apple! You can only discuss whether or not something is better or worse compared to other products, if you give the criteria of satisfaction. Otherwise you have no basis for a comparison.

So, my criteria of satisfaction regarding Smart-phones from a user perspective, are:

As a consumer, I want a device which easily and quickly provides me with the basic features of a telephone. Furthermore I want built-in features which help me organize my daily business tasks by using applications for e-mail, calendars and tasks. All the entered data must be stored in a secure way, so that these are both protected against loss and privacy is enforced.

On the surface, most smart-phones on the market will cover my criteria of satisfaction. So why have I chosen to use an iPhone as my primary smart-phone?

All the fuss about Apple being so rigid in the selection of what goes onto the devices or not makes me as a consumer much more confident, than all the other open, closed or semi-open platforms. When handling private data, I prefer a strong emphasis on security all the way through the process. While working with three different suppliers (Android, iPhone OS, Windows Mobile), I have come to the conclusion that the most secure feeling in my stomach is when working with the Apple products. This conclusion is based on the number and variety of problems I encountered when using these platforms. Foremost the stability of the software and the time spent on solving problems.

For the details, I have to dig into technical stuff. The following description is no longer from a users perspective, but from a developers point of view. This is the best way I can explain my findings, because after all, I am a developer and that is how my brain works.

I have mainly developed Java EE and Java SE applications the last couple of years and I have also worked intensively on .NET projects. All projects were large in time and budget (1000 man-hours or more). So in essence, I would have the best prerequisites for the Android and Windows platforms. Interestingly, it turned out that:

- I could quickly developed simple applications for Windows Mobile, but got stranded when I wanted to do real apps.

- I could never really get the Android environment to work, even though I have an 8 years daily experience developing with Eclipse in Java.

- It took me 2 hours to achieve creating a simple app written i Objective-C with XCode and upload it to a real device. (For fairness, not included are the 3 hours I used to get all the paperworks and provisions to work in order to upload to the device). After 3 days I had the first non-trivial App finished and posted to the App Store.

The last time I used Objective-C was in 1997. Back then I developed some AI algorithms in conjunction with my Masters Thesis in Computer Science. Before I started with developing Apps for the App Store, I had never used XCode before.

My conclusion is, that Apple provides a sound overall experience and thus gives me a good feeling in my stomach when using their software and hardware.

Categories: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Tags:

iPhone Development – Initial Comments

June 7th, 2010 No comments

By this post I will start a little serial on developing for the App Store based on my experience.

For the newbies among you, I have these basic hints (some you can find all over the places)

1) Do not expect to get rich overnight!

2) It is hard work (though fun!) to publish something with value. I would not feel satisfied earning some 1000$ on a fart-button App :)

3) Test your App on the real device. When I finally got the iPad in Germany, I was surprised how my Apps *really* performed! Also, if you can, get hold on some of the old devices. I have a 1. Gen. iPod touch. Trust me, the performance is not the same as an iPhone 3GS.

4) Make some small Apps in the beginning. Get a feeling of the framework, the iTunes Connect, the reviewing process. Many professional colleges have aimed too high in the beginning and stopped developing because they got tired and lost in a huge first time project.

I have developed for many years on many platforms and for many different devices. The XCode/iPhone development is in itself not so much different, but my personal driver in this is the possibility to get things out into the world and have a lot of feedback.

Categories: Software Architecture Tags: