I neglected the blog for a while. It’s full summer here, so I spend my time with family and friends, relaxing and preparing for the upcoming months. I also do a bit of work and I’ll outline it below:
Startupizer 2 proved as very stable - some users reported crashes, but most of those were one-shot and didn’t repeat. Stability was in fact one of the focuses when developing it, so I’m happy to see it working that way. Interestingly, very few feature requests were sent in, my guess is the app satisfies the needs of most users. When developing, one must always be concious not to implement too many details that will unnecessarily prolong development time and bloat the product while only serve a fraction of users. Something we as developers tend to forget when thinking of various “cool” features our apps may have. You can frequently hear about 80/20 solution: implement features that will cover 80% of users needs. That’s how I did with Startupizer too: rather implement less features up front and release early. Then listen for feedback and implement features most users request. I find it reasonable compromise between user satisfaction and time invested.
I’m currently working on 2.1 update which will address some of the bugs and bring German localization - contribution of Sebastian Tischer. While I can’t speak of translation accuracy (am not speaking German myself :), I find him quick, responsive and professional. If you need his services, find him at his website (he’s also offering various consultant services, take a look at his consultant page).
Whenever I get some time for appledoc, I focus on next major release - 3.0. While it’s been more or less stagnant during the past few weeks, it’s available on experimental branch on GitHub. It doesn’t do anything useful yet, but you can follow along. Of course I also provide support to existing version as much as possible. Appledoc Google Groups forum is getting more users and contributions too, which is wonderful!
Based on user feedback, I noticed many developers prefer to install appledoc through one of the installers - either install script included with repo (which, by the way, seems to be having some issues on Mountain Lion) or Homebrew. I also get many support questions which seem to indicate many newcomers to iOS/OS X platform want to use the tool, but are not familiar with UNIX command line and hence have hard time installing it. So one of the ideas that’s been with me for a while is to develop a GUI front end that will simplify installation and subsequent project management. Hopefully the app will take some of the burden of answering these questions or at least provide some revenue for the time invested into them. The GUI front end would be available either from Mac App Store or as direct download. In any case, it will be payed app. My biggest hesitation is how to deal with user contributions to source code - ideally I wouldn’t like to separate underlying code sets, but some contrubitors may feel being taken advantage of. Although on the other hand, majority of source code is still my own contribution. Anyway, don’t jump on this idea - as much as it may come with surprise, it’s something that was in my mind for a long time already and I just wanted to share it with you and get some preliminary feedback - let me know what you think about such a tool - comment on this thread in appledoc forum.
Power users fear not - appledoc as command line tool will continue to be freely available on GitHub, and there will be no difference between what you can accomplish with command line or GUI front end - in fact, all new features and bug fixes will likely first appear on GitHub and subsequently to payed app. Hence, if you’re happy with cmd line tool, there will be no need for you to purchase the app in order to get additional funcionality (besides ease of use or supporting development of course :)
And remember: regardless of your suggestions, I may or may not choose to follow this path. It ultimately depends on time left from other activities.
Hopefully this post sheds some light into what I’ve been working on in the past weeks and where I’m going. Have a great time!