GoodDay Lite Released – It’s Free!

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Over the weekend I released a “lite” version of GoodDay.  My price experiment over the holidays showed me that the difference between free and 0.99 is an amazing barrier. So, if someone was holding out for another price drop… you can get the free version now.  It’s ad supported.

The paid version will continue to progress with new features starting at the paid level first.  There are also no ads in the paid version of GoodDay.  Other than the ads the only difference today is the ability to sort your goals.  This debuted on the paid version and will remain a paid feature for a while.

Thanks for all the support so far!

Great Review of GoodDay I found because AppAnnie.com

It’s nearly impossible to see reviews as a developer of your app… especially when reviews come from international stores.  So I recently wired up a service called appannie and it digs into all the stores to show your app ranking and reviews.  I learned that GoodDay was the #1 app in Hungry in December for health and fitness.  I also found this review…

Ottima!!!!!!! – Anche io avevo avuto la stessa idea, ma la vostra realizzazione è geniale!!! Ottima, semplice, leggerissima! La app che cercavo!!! GRAZIE!!!!

Which, if you believe google means…

Excellent !!!!!!! – I also had had the same idea, but your achievement is great! Very simple, very light! The app I was looking for! THANK YOU!

It’s little nuggets like this that I think keep you going in the early stage I’m at.  Thanks.

Next someone could build an App Store that actually lets me connect with these people in more meaningful ways.

Building an iPhone app Part 3: 7 Dev Tips

This post is a collection of tips I learned while developing GoodDay for the iPhone with PhoneGap.

1. Start with something off the shelf – After “Hello World” I started with using jQtouch as a shortcut to iPhone UI.  jQTouch is a jQuery plugin for mobile web development.  I’d describe it as a combination of page manager, mobile application theme engine, and a set of UI controls that enable you to easily mimic default iPhone UI.

2. Minify your CSS & script files – Performance is critical.

3. Leverage the jQtouch Tap Event – The tap event is faster than the standard click event because it doesn’t wait the requisite number of milliseconds to register like standard links in Safari.  It makes your app feel more app-like.  For example:

$(‘#removeGoal’).bind(‘tap’, function()

{ deleteGoal(removedGoal, $(‘#goalID’).val());});

4. Pick Tap or Click for browser testing. Of course you can’t use the tap event when testing in desktop safari so you’ll want to define the click event on the load of the application:

var isiPhone = (userAgent.indexOf(‘iphone’) != -1 || userAgent.indexOf(‘ipod’) != -1) ? true : false;

clickEvent = isiPhone ? ‘tap’ : ‘click’;

Then simply use clickEvent instead of hardcoding ‘tap’ all over the place.

5. Disable scrolling if you don’t want your header or footer to move.

document.addEventListener(‘touchmove’, function(e){ e.preventDefault(); });

6. Enable scrolling in regions you want to scroll. You may not want the header and footer to scroll, but you may have a list in the center you want scrolling… for which you’ll need something like iScroll because mobile webkit does not provide a native way to scroll content inside a fixed width/height element… which really takes away from the app-like feeling.

7.  The onDeviceReady() function is not called when you test in the desktop browser… so you’ll also need to break your initialization code into a function that is called only once depending on how the application is being used.  But you’ll want to make sure you don’t try to do too much before the device is ready.

That’s it for now.  In the next part I’ll publish some tips about submitting your app to the Apple Store.

Introducing GoodDay – An app for daily goal tracking

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GoodDay is an app that’s now available in the iTunes App Store. I developed this application over several late nights and during our son Gabe’s naps on our last vacation. I did this because wanted something between laborious calorie tracking software and a daily checklist. Why track every detail to motivate yourself?

I also did this because I believe that any good technical leader needs to focus on aggressively learning new skills. Finally, I built this application in memory Oliver Ledgard … who really did see the best in everyone. All proceeds will be donated to Reading with Rover on his behalf.

So you want to build an iPhone app… Part 1

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But you don’t want to learn Objective-C, you aren’t trying to build something that requires high performance graphics, you want it to look and feel like an application, and you are primarily web developer that thinks that things should run cross platform simply.  If this describes you then this series of posts may help motivate you to get started.  In part 1 of this series I’ll look at some of the tools and components that I used to build the GoodDay app

Continue…

Design for Mobile first and Full Screen Second

image This isn’t a rant about the proliferation of mobile devices and how they are going to do everything except change your cat’s litter box in the future. It’s simply about improving your design chops.

I’ve decided that new feature work should start with a design for a mobile device first.  We’ve been working on mobile stuff for a while now and I’ve realized there is power in the constraints.

  1. You have an easy excuse to cut all those “extra requirements” & the “wouldn’t it be easy/cool if features”… screen size.
  2. You focus on what’s core to the experience in the content column… face it, most of your users aren’t going to read all the crap you put in the sidebar of your sites. They’ve been trained that’s where ads live.
  3. It makes you think twice as hard about any imagery on the page.  The buttons have to be obvious so the user knows what they are going to get and you don’t have room to explain it with text.
  4. Even with wifi and 3g you don’t take page size and bandwidth for granted. Even with wifi the browsers on these devices aren’t as fast as their desktop, native javascript running, counterparts. Minimalistic FTW!
  5. You’ll be done faster and able to communicate the core experience more quickly to others to get feedback about what’s really important.
  6. If you give someone a HUGE blank canvas they freeze with the thought of everything they could do with the space.  Give them a post it note and they can focus on one part at a time.

Amazon has the ingredients to change mobile shopping

The iPhone app Amazon released today could be really huge.  For the uninitiated they let you "remember” items while you are out shopping by taking pictures.  I’ve been doing this for a while now with the Evernote application, but Amazon is taking it one step further. They are now going to attempt to recognize the item for you to link to Amazon.

They have effectively turned all brick an mortar stores into their own storefront where, one can only assume, they will also leverage the location awareness of the photo to beat the price you are standing in front of one day.  This could be huge if the work out the kinks and go the extra mile. You’ll see, from my example, it was 1 out of 3 for recognition…

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Ok. It was really 1 out of 2.  🙂 I guess I shouldn’t expect them to find me a dog breeder that sells insecure Bernese Mountain dogs… or should I? 

Side note to Amazon… please offer MP3 downloads from the app to the iPhone!

Update: They are now 2 for 2, but the router would have taken to long to find me still in the store and they would have missed an opportunity to undercut prices.

The power of functional style

One of the most thrilling aspects of purchasing the 3G iPhone was seeing the size of the power adaptor.  Seriously, having been a Zune/Blackjack user for the last year, it was a relief to find out that the adaptor was lighter & smaller than the actual device… by a large margin.  The design is so good, in fact, that I’m going to continue using it until I can easily get a replacement even at the risk of “electric shock”.  And THAT is how powerful functional design can be.

Apple Recalls All iPhone 3G Power Adapters – ReadWriteWeb

Apple is definitely having a string of bad luck lately. Today, the company announced that it is recalling the power adapters for all iPhone 3Gs sold in the United States, Canada, Japan, and all Latin American countries that use American style plugs. Apparently, the metal prongs on the adapters can break off and remain stuck in the power outlet, creating a serious risk of electric shock.