Almost three years ago I started to develop an iPhone app as a way to learn objective-c and maybe switch my career path from Java enterprise to mobile. I had already a title experience with iOS, enough to get me started and put the app to run in the simulator, but far from delivering something good to the app store. It took me about two months working over the weekend to release a first beta version and almost another month send it to review to the app store, but yesterday, I removed Crossfindr from the app store, turned off the API and asked Facebook to cancel its Page. These are the lessons I’ll took from creating and managing this app…
Do not send anything to the app store without a good quality assurance and always test on real devices, simulators are good for development, but doesn’t has the hardware constraints users will have.
It is better to separate blocks of time to code, I test various approaches to spend time with this side project and what worked for me, was to block 3 to 4 hours in a given day, instead of spend 30 minutes or an hour when I had a chance.
Design is as important as functionality for iOS apps; the best apps in the store are pixel perfect, with amazing typography and smooth animations.
Python is awesome. Enough said.
Apps will not sell by themselves, they need marketing and promotion from other channels than the app store. App business cards and stickers on Crossfit affiliates; also talk to fitness blogs about promoting the app worked for crossfinder.
From project to product
Crossfindr was a playground to learn a stack of technologies, try ideas and discover new options than would be impossible to accomplish just reading books and taking classes, but consolidating the app as a viable product was not not a viable option because with the accelerated growing of the Crossfit community, the task of updating Crossfit affiliates turned really difficult for a single person over the weekends; also, the product could be easily replaced by other apps with better information like Foursquare, Yelp or simply google maps.