The only interview I’ve ever given was in middle school, to my local newspaper, after winning a spelling bee (ironically, the reporter spelled my last name wrong). So I was super excited when Belle Beth Cooper asked me if she could interview me for Larder’s “Making it” series. In the interview I talk a bit about my background and the advice that I would give beginning iOS developers today.
Rene Ritchie gives his take on the state of the indie app market. Like him, I hope things will improve, but I’m not necessarily optimistic.
When I was a child, all my favorite toys were wooden, painstakingly carved by artisans who ran the store near my home. I cherished them. Today those kinds of toys are all but gone, and that business model is no longer viable in the mass market.
Indeed, isn’t this the fate of every product market? Everything distills down to a few big players and a lot of little hobbyists/mom-and-pop shops. I can’t think of another profession where one of the expectations of being “indie” is making a sustainable living…let alone striking it rich.
There will always be customers who care deeply about quality, and there will always be a place in this world for wooden toys. However, in order for wooden toymakers to stay afloat they’ve had to either raise the price of their toys, or take on a different job while making and selling their toys on the weekends.
One last thought: in any market (art, music, software, etc.), indies sometimes see themselves as artists more than small business owners. When the market is thriving, that balance of focus probably won’t hurt their chances of success. However, when times get tough, the ability to wear that small business owner hat with competence is absolutely critical. I like Rene’s final words:
Either way, times have changed and we, all of us, have to change with them. We can lament the past and challenge the future all we want, but ultimately the most important thing we all have to do is this:
Figure out what’s next.
February update: We have followed up with Apple numerous times since this original post for more clarification and have finally received a firm answer to explain the situation. The whole of the iAd network is going away — developers will not be able to include any ad banners in their apps after June 30. Developers will have to find a new ad company to continue monetizing their apps using ads, as iAd will no longer function.
Well, I guess that’s that!
Casey is learning Swift for his new job, and as a fellow beginner I found his explanation and examples of Swift enums very helpful. I wasn’t even aware that enums could have associated values until a few weeks ago…it definitely made me want to rewrite some of my code!
MacStories has a good roundup of links pertaining to the recent back-and-forth between Apple and the FBI. Up until this point, I’d just been reading whatever articles people were posting on Twitter; now I can at least go back and reference them in one nice tidy place.
Good summary at The Guardian of how confusing Twitter can be for many users.
I’ve noticed a few more of my real life friends coming back to Twitter and getting value out of it lately. Some of them participate in weekly Twitter chats in their professional communities (mostly education), and others are heavily involved in television fandoms. Many people don’t know that such groups/activities exist, however, so hopefully Twitter can find some ways to make that onboarding process easier so new users can find relevant content more quickly.
One quote that stuck out to me from the article was that after surveying “dozens” of Twitter users, the Guardian found that “[s]ome wanted more attention for their 140-character missives. Some dreaded it.”
I tend to feel an odd mixture of hopefulness and dread when I post on Twitter. I’m hopeful that I’ll make some connections with people, that I’ll come off as genuine and human, and that others will be encouraged by my game developing journey. I dread that something I say will be controversial enough to attract a mob.
Going back to what I said about Slack and Twitter in my previous post: I would guess that many of the people who have stepped away from Twitter dealt with the same dilemma, and decided that the risks outweighed the benefits. Why sacrifice happiness and experience increased anxiety and stress when Slack offers a perfectly fun and safe space to interact with your friends? I don’t blame them at all.
I utterly failed to make this point in my last post, but if all of the kind, thoughtful, reasonable people are spending less time on Twitter (for perfectly valid reasons), it makes Twitter a sad place for everyone, not just me. It also lessens the quality of public discussion. And that’s Twitter’s problem to solve, ultimately, not the people who left.
I suppose it is selfish to wish people would come back to Twitter. And I am perfectly willing to try to find community elsewhere…the question is, where? I have a Slack account, but I’m never going to be a part of the “in crowd” and that’s totally fine. I haven’t been able to find much of an iOS developer community on Facebook.
So I don’t know. I’ll keep poking around. Maybe Peach is where it’s at. ;)
I was just saying the other day how I’d never opened the Instruments tool in Xcode and lo and behold—this article popped up.
I started taking a look at Corgi Corral; CPU-usage is predictably high when playing the actual 1-minute game (since the accelerometer is collecting data), but goes right back down to a negligible amount on the menu screens.
When I try to assess memory usage, my app crashes immediately upon hitting the “record” button. I’m guessing this is either an Xcode issue, or I missed an important project setting somewhere. At any rate, I can see memory usage in the Debug Navigator and there’s a tiny increase in memory over time that concerns me, so I’ll be investigating that!
I can’t help but promote the work of other developers making games about vertically-challenged dogs. TouchArcade calls Pug’s Quest a “pixel-powered pug puzzle platformer” and I think that sounds like the best thing ever. Keep an eye on it!
The news of Facebook shutting down Parse yesterday has understandably taken over the conversation in developer circles; however, I also wanted to point out this sad news. Blogsy was one of the first iPad apps I ever downloaded and although the interface looks super dated now (kinda iOS 6-ish), it was really the only iOS blogging app that could even come close to meeting my needs for WordPress.
We tried to come out with a new version of Blogsy (Blogsy II) which would work with the latest version of iOS. Unfortunately, due to the changes in iOS, Blogsy II would become sluggish and basically unusable after dragging in only a few media items (photos or vidoes).
There is still a need for a quality WordPress blogging app on iOS. In particular, I need one that can upload images to WordPress’s media library (including GIFs, which is currently not possible w/the official app). It needs to support different post formats, allow me to edit HTML, and support code insertion plugins like Crayon Syntax Highlighter. Such an app will probably never exist, but a girl can dream, right?
Dr. Drang helpfully reports his earnings from the iTunes Affiliate Program. I signed up for the IAP a couple of months ago and have earned a grand total of $2.23. Someday, I hope my blog can get enough traffic to reach the $24/month average that Dr. Drang has achieved!
At the moment, however, this blog gets about 1,000 monthly views—over half of which are due to a popular question on Stack Overflow that links to it. Guess I just gotta keep writing!
Good post by David Barnard:
For years, developers have petitioned Apple to allow paid updates and timed trials, and to change other App Store policies. But Apple has made very few meaningful changes to the sorts of policies that would empower developers to experiment with new business models, build more innovative apps, and better assess and manage business risk.
At some point, something’s gotta give…right?
if letstatements in Corgi Corral with
guard, but now I see even more places where it would be appropriate.
I really identified with this post by Ben Burnes:
A beginner’s skill level is years behind where they’ll need to be to create something with the level of detail and quality they often desire. This leads to a dangerous cycle of never being satisfied with the progress you’ve made and being reluctant to release anything publicly.
It’s not easy to accept that my first game is going to be rubbish compared to what I might create in the future, especially when I feel like I’m working so hard on it and learning so much.
But the truth is that I have a looooong way to go and this first effort will not be my best work. However without it, my best work will never become a reality! So, I keep on keeping on.
Holy crap, looks like it’s time to hop back on the beta train. (If you haven’t read this over at MacStories, do it now.)
f.lux-like capabilities and multi-user iPad support?
I repeat: holy crap.