Still coding…

In the Trees

In the Trees by Jim Goodin

Despite lack of entries last few months the coding continues. After dabbling with various programming languages last few years about a year/half ago on a lark suggestion by my astute 17 years son I delved in to learning Objective C with focus on Apple’s iOS.  Last fall I published my first app for iPhone and iPad in the Apple store, a combination currency converter and tip calculator I titled Tips Across the Waters.

Since that publishing I released one update in late March, v 1.08 and have worked off/on on two more app ideas but have had several stops/starts arising from job, music work (another career and see other blog here), making progress, hitting obstacles and all that goes with self teaching a programming language.

Still I’m in it to stay and while on family vacation last week I stumbled on to the idea that bore app project number 2, after realizing it was missing from the core iPad apps and I thought okay there are million of them out there but all the more reason to develop one more :).  I shan’t say what it is at this time and it’s more functional than flash right now but making progress on it and just broke through a wall I had hit the last couple days and that’s seemingly the elixir of coding.  I will say it involves numbers and will probably be a free download.

The other app project has a focus on diabetes and I hope to get back on that one this fall and too, I hope to get back to more regular posting on WordPress, both with the programming venture as well as my music work and while tooting the horn I should also mention too, one music project that was a podcast has moved to video and a channel on YouTube.  It’s a series that I co-host with Paul H. Muller on ‘new music’.  Check it out at Words On New Music.  And follow me on Twitter at jimgoodinmusic.

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Post Thanksgiving images, app thoughts and wanderings and caught a great podcast series

I hope everyone in the States had a great holiday weekend and that those abroad had a wonderful weekend. I spent time in my native Arkansas with my daughter visiting family. It was a wonderful time and as always I need to find more opportunities to get back more often. A few pic’s from the trip are…

Coming in to Little Rock

Coming in to Little Rock

Lights on the HIghway, near Batesville

Lights on the Highway, near Batesville

Continuing to think about my current and future app ideas for Wood and Wire Ware. As echoed earlier I’m planning the first update on Tips Across the Waters, my first app, which I released and was accepted in to the Apple store in late October (2011). An eleven currency converter and tip calculator, Tips Across the Waters, offers ease of use for both the world traveler and neighborhood diner. I’ve been offered a couple of suggestions that I’m hoping to employ in the first update. For those of you who have purchased my app, thank you! If you have please consider doing a review on iTunes. Additionally I’m working on my next app idea that will have a focus on diabetes.

I’ve recently came across a great podcast series on development, entrepreneurialism and Internet startup ventures, titled ‘Startups for the Rest of Us’ hosted by Mike Taber and Rob Walling. I’ve enjoyed four episodes thus far that is providing much food for thought as I delve in to my venture in app development. Check them out via their site at Startups for the Rest of Us as well as in iTunes.

My brother Bill's back deck

My brother Bill's back deck

All the recent images as well as these on this post were all made from the iPad. Though a few strange looks in public when I photograph from it, it so much reminds me as well as feels like I’m working with a view camera, something I always wanted in the analog world but was too costly to afford. The detail is of course not what it would be in a 4×5 or 8×10 film view camera but the feel of looking through the iPad display is both exciting as well compositionally inspiring.

Arkansas - wood cut

Arkansas - wood cut

I produced a walk through video of Tips Across the Waters recently and you can see it here on YouTube.

That’s it for this entry. Here are a couple more images from the recent trip.

Flying out on Monday - Clouds and Hidden Landscape

Flying out on Monday - Clouds and Hidden Landscape

All photographs were made by Jim Goodin.

My Journey to Mobile App Development, part 2

Picking up from My Journey to App Development… As i was talking about at end of that entry, my first finalization of Tips Across the Waters was coming together near end of July. Conceptually I had a workable useful mobile app but in testing discovered a problem with one of the currencies I had chosen for that release as well as a couple of potential ‘leaks’. Equally my son said made a few observations that led me to rethink the design. I saw i could release and then do updates or i could revamp and tighten the code. I decided to roll back down the hill a bit and revamp.

Revamping led to an overhaul of the graphics adding some ‘relief’ to the background by using an image instead of just a view color. With the first phase i had ported to a few test devices to see what the app was like out of the Xcode Simulator. One of the other observations on the first draft was that the interface felt too busy, too many choices as was suggested to me. Additionally as I was ‘learning as I went to a degree’, I had garnered more tools at my disposal so I employed a picker wheel in the new model which allowed adding more currencies and giving the app more international flavor and less busy interface.

There was also an issue with my original choice of names which I had dubbed ‘International Tip Calculator’ which was rather dry by my own admittance and I discovered someone already had it. It was unclear whether that would lead to rejection by Apple but made sense to find a new name as long as I was going back to the drawing board.

So by September my reworking, newly dubbed Tips Across the Waters, was taking shape with a nicer look and more functionality and less busier interface, all goals. I felt was near release again. I initially was going to port for iPhone/Touch and later iPad but i had gone this far so why not see that through and implement rotation, an iPad prerequisite.

On the basics adding rotation was relatively easy but getting the views to work out right and be in sync led to some challenges. I had chosen to manage the views in one XIB (Interface Builder) file which was conceptually easier for me to understand but led me on a few adventures working out. I was able to get the majority functioning correctly but had a few aforementioned view sync issues that were real head scratchers which friend and programming mentor Chris Robertshelped me see through.

So by mid October Tips Across the WatersTips Across the Waters was ready for sail and on the evening of the 21st I uploaded to Apple for submission to the store very jazzed but equally prepared for a kickback asking me to revise/fix this or that. I had read many online stories of the process taking weeks. Just after uploading they did pass back and ask me fix the ‘white space’ in the file name which means all words in the file naming needed to be connected. I did that and reposted and soon got a message back that said ‘waiting for review’. It sat at this stage till the following Wednesday morning when it changed (which through the iTunesConnect developer portal I could check) to ‘in review’.

Again I thought during the day well probably something I missed in the HIG (human interface guidelines) they will ask me to revise. But later that evening an email arrived that read in the subject line, ‘Ready for Sale’ and I was quite proud and it is indeed ready for sale at Tips Across the Waters.

Blazing the Path and Growing with the Muse

This weekend I spent some time researching review sites to pitch Tips to for reviews and try to grow/broaden my traffic to the store. I discovered and pitched to several places including AppCarver, AppStorm, AppShopper and few others. Also have been thinking about investing in some advertising. It’s a big puddle I have jumped in to but feels very good to be part of this and have brought an idea from first glimmer to product. It is and will continue to be learning process but getting there.

I’m also beginning to work on two new ideas, one is a collaboration with a bandmate from past projects and another is an app that like Tips Across the Waters, is starting as a personal need that I can apply in the commercial sense. That one will focus on diabetes.

And also putting word out about Tips by word-of-mouth as much as possible. It’s all another chapter of marketing akin to what I did for years in my music. Hopefully this will be a wider market and direction which is my goal. I have dabbled in programming over the years but have not until now been able to make the jump from learning to ‘doing it’. Feels great to have gotten to a level of that stage. Many thanks to Apple for opening these doors for all of us as well as on a personal level friend and mentor Chris Roberts.

Stay tuned for more on the growth of Wood and Wire Ware.

My Journey to Mobile Apps Development, part 1

Get Tips Across the Waters in the Apple storeWith a new app out and the start of a new venture I decided that I would do a blog to tell my story of how ‘Tips Across the Waters’ and hopefully many more came to begin.

I have a background of many hats including musician, photographer, video editor/maker, Information Technology professional of many years, hacker with a range of languages and web designer/coder so adding mobile apps development feels a good fit. I say hacker at range of languages, I came to computers late but ironically paralleling a relocation to New York in the early 90’s just about the time the corporate sector began to think about computer networks in their offices. I came to NY with a number years of experience in television production from my years in Arkansas. While trying to continue that in some way here in New York I fell in to initially admin assist and then help desk roles which led to various IT related over the years. Off and on during this period I would pick up a language and try to learn a bit hoping to find a door to crossover from the help desk/support world which never seemed to happen.

As my kids were growing up Apple computers came in to my world more and more, then the iPods arrived, then the Touch and then the holy grail the iPhone. I began to hear about the mini-programs through my son who said to me about a year ago, ‘dad you ought to learn the programming language to make apps’ and having delved in to BASIC, then C, then C++, then Java some, then some stuff based in the Unix/Linux world I was curious what was being used. We both thought C#. The search soon led to ‘objective c’ which I learned that I already had some foundation for, that it was essentially a custom C with classes.

So I began self teaching myself in the fall of 2010, initially with a couple of books, Head FIrst iPhone Development and then the Big Nerd Rand iPhone book, doing examples and plugging in some of my own ideas to see what would happen, then I started to google more and find examples and tutorials and by spring of this year I began to ‘get it’ to a degree.

Coming back from a school trip with my daughter I had a breakthrough in understanding and began to mull over some concepts I had thought of when I began this journey, meaning ideas that I thought might turn in to a good app and one of these was a tip calculator something I often felt a need for on a personal level.

I began playing with ideas and some structure, put together an initial interface in Information Builder and thus ‘Tips Across the Waters’ began to be created though then it was unnamed and quite a bit more simplistic. I’m going to break this entry for now and continue with the rest of the story as said in the next entry, stay tuned…

Tips Across the Waters released!

Wood and Wire Ware is a new mobile apps development company that I founded during 2011. My first iOS application, a lifestyle app titled Tips Across the Waters is officially out, released yesterday October 27, 2011.

Tips Across the Waters is a combination tip calculator and currency converter, offering integration of the two or can be used independently.

Tips Across the Waters home screen

Tips Across the Waters features include…

– Low light visibility friendly screen
– Rotatable views (portrait/landscape)
– 10/15/20 percent as well as your choice of tip amount entry
– Currency conversion among 11 currencies

Find out more and purchase via iTunes.

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