New News

Having finally got the first version of the app through the door, its time to take a look at the small things that got put off. At some point you have to make a cut and say this is it, lets finish Version 1 first. Even when you know Version 1.1 has already got its head peaking round the door.

A few things from the current backlog that we want to address:

  • Improve the stability of the backend
  • add 3D touch to the putzich icon.
  • make swapping between friends and partner more seamless
  • Slight improvement to the comparison chart
  • make the email registration more robust
  • Unicorns???

That sounds great, but what exactly does improve the stability of the backend mean? Well personally I would like to have everything run a tad quicker, I don’t want to see status messages pop up every time I click on an action, So we working really hard on eliminating that and giving the user a real fluid experience.

We also changed the app listing from entertainment to productive, not because we are taking ourselves now seriously, rather because the chances of being seen in the app store when you competing with the likes of Flappy Unicorn III are slim.

We now have english texts for the app in the app store, for all those who naturally would have bought the app but just didn’t understand German. Now the translations are done in the back of my head so its more than possible that I got something messed up, or that there is a typo in there somewhere (of course I meant to write it like that! Sure sure…) But 5 € bounty to the first person who finds the typo and tells me about it.

The whole process of getting the app into the store now runs a lot smoother, so I am looking forward to getting regular updates in there and keeping you all posted on our progress.

Putzich is now in available in the AppStore!

Today is a very special day for the both of us here at Simply U+I. We have released our very first App: Putzich.

Please feel free to take a look at our website and download the app.  You can find us here : http://putzich.simplyui.de or on the appstore as Putzich (in both English and German).

Putzich: It was always about competition. Take the politically correct brigade and shove it. The idea was simple. I get shouted at when I don’t pull my wait around the house. This was a way for me to make everyones work transparent. The app has squarely resolved that problem – at least for me, and shown a couple of  interesting side effects, such as the virtual competition. I now find myself doing another couple of jobs at the end of the day, not better my wife’s score, but to have a bigger score than my brother, who, lives 500 miles away on a different continent. I smile every time I realise i’m being socially pressured into doing something, that has no relevance in my actual family life.

Looking back It has been almost a year since we started development on the putzich app. In fact here is the picture with the original concept – taken from my kitchen wall on 23.10.2016

We have gone through several iterations, the first of which was a simple list like it was shown from the board. This is for me one of the most enjoyable parts of app development, taking a rough idea and quickly developing it into something I could touch and get a feel for. Then constantly pushing it further, integrating the ideas that came from using it into newer working prototypes. Even realising when we’d run down a rabbit hole and have to wind the whole development back.

The backend has been refactored at least three times that I know of. I hated every single one. At that particular moment it always feels like time is lost and you’re standing still. After each rewrite I loved the product even more for what it had become. As you might guess, patience doesn’t come easy to me. So suffering refactoring is a particular type of torture. Then again I am no believer in hanging on to code. Especially when Daniel says its got to go.  I really do believe we are all the stronger for it today.

Getting the first feedback from beta testers was the next hurdle. This gave use a far broader picture of what others expect and how they actually use the app. Often completely different than how we’d originally thought it through. One such part was decided after the first round of testing That the app could be better done with pictures instead of the accountant like excel sheet list feeling. Which made us go back to the drawing board again, and again. Refining, polishing and cutting away until the product began to feel right.

It has been an amazing journey. The app development was completed within 4-5 months. What then happened was a long pause while we had to refocus on setting up a company and getting all of the paperwork done. Something of which both of us have had no experience with. This allowed through the next phase to happen and get an idea about the longevity of the product. This is just as important as the first look and feel. If we want to ask money for the app. Which of course we do. Then I want to deliver something that has a value, not just for today, but something that will keep me engaged as a user for the weeks and the months to come.  This part I can’t wait to dig further into. After using it regularly since its conception, We have amassed a mass of data from myself. That given a bit of mining will provide valuable insights, not just to me, but by following the same general principles for others aswell.

So what comes next? Well this is the unidentified territory that excites me and makes me the most nervous. How to market the app. How to get broader appeal. I’ve come to realise that App development is about 40% of the job. Now we have to learn marketing, blogs, instagram tweeting what not and running a business. I especially would like to hear from anyone who takes the time to download the app and use it. What do you like, what annoys you and what would you like to see next? I would love to say ratings are unimportant to us, but thats a half truth. If you like what we’ve done, we’d love to have your rating, yes it really helps. If you have an issue, get in touch with me directly. I want to hear your pain and where we can, make it better for everyone for the future.

Whatever happens I can’t thank everyone involved enough. its been a real rollercoaster ride. My first thanks to our long suffering families. Thanks to Daniel for putting up with all my shit, and thanks to all the testers out there, without whom the product would be a far, far poorer experience then what it is now.

 

stuck in an age war

Goddammit, Finally! It looks like we have got everything together. Survived the inquisition like questions when it came to setting up agreements between apple? Check.  Fill out and understand the tax questions forms for business between the Unated States and Germany? err. wait a minute….. CHECK!

So why aren’t we there yet?

Age restrictions. were 17+ and seem to be holding.

This might be the dream for a few people when they pass 35, but this is a problem for us.

Initially we though because the app is always connected to the internet that it requires a 17+ rating. The truth is though there are many, many games (clash of clans anyone?) that require the internet and don’t have a 17+.

So we have to retract the current submission. Update the age status, wherever that might be and submit it again.

Lets hope this goes a a lot more quickly than the past 3 months…

Übersetzungen und Sprachdateien

Mir ist bei besten Willen kein besserer Titel eingefallen. Letztlich geht es um Mehrsprachigkeit. Im konkreten Fall um die App putzich.

Die Integration mehrerer Sprachen ist nahezu immer gleich. Es gibt Platzhalter und die werden aus entsprechenden Sprachdateien gelesen.

Xcode kann hier manchmal eine Spassbremse sein, frei nach dem Motto „ich weiß wo der Fehler ist, aber ich sage es Dir nicht“.

Man findet unzählige Hinweise, die einem weiterhelfen sollen, was aber oft ins Leere führt. Der Fehler ist aber meist derselbe. Entweder ein Semikolon vergessen oder zuviel, ein Anführungszeichen vergessen oder zuviel oder eine Kombination aus beidem. Das dann noch mehrfach in der Sprachdatei und man hat richtig Spass.

Hat man dann alles endlich gefunden sollte man final noch prüfen, ob alle Platzhalter in den Sprachdateien vorhanden sind.

Ich hörte davon, dass es wohl schon vorgekommen sein soll, das jemand ein oder mehrere Platzhalter vergessen hat.

Ein paar Befehle können dabei helfen, genau solche Probleme zu finden. Zunächst gilt es die Schlüssel zu ermitteln (cut …), danach nur die Schlüssel und alles andere Verwerfen (grep…) und zu guter Letzt noch sortieren (sort…).

cut -d= -f1 <Spracheverzeichnis>/Localizable.strings | grep -e ^\" | sort > <sprachdatei>.txt

Das macht man für alle Sprachdateien und kann diese dann vergleichen (diff).

diff <sprachdatei1> <sprachdatei2>

Heraus kommt dann u. U. sowas

12a13,14
> "authemail"
> "authname"

Aktuell durchleben wir gerade einige der oben geschilderten Probleme. Wir sind aber fast durch und hoffentlich bald mit den Übersetzungen fertig.

Putzich wird es zu Beginn in Deutsch und Englisch geben. Wir möchten gerne weitere Sprachen integrieren. Falls uns jemand hierbei unterstützen möchten, dann bitte kurze Kontaktaufnahme und wir können alles weitere besprechen.

Kurzes Update zu putzich

Lange war es etwas still um putzich. Das liegt zum einen an der Firmengründung, die sehr viel Organisatorisches mit sich bringt.

 

Der Hauptgrund jedoch ist die Tatsache, dass wir die komplette App umgeschrieben haben. Nahezu jeder Bereich wurde neu designed und angepasst. Wir haben viele Iterationsstufen durchlaufen. Neue Ideen mit reingebracht und teilweise wieder verworfen. Leider sind dadurch an einigen Stellen Konfigurationen und Ansichten entstanden, die vom Kontext dorthin nicht passen oder generell nicht mehr relevant waren. Um den Code möglichst sauber und wartbar zu halten, haben wir beschlossen anstelle eines refactoring, die Codebase neu zu schreiben. Vieles konnte aber auch wiederverwendet werden, sodass der Aufwand sich in Grenzen hielt.

Herausgekommen ist eine intuitivere Anwendung, die in sich klarere Formen hat und noch mehr Spaß macht.

Aber nicht nur die App sondern auch im Backend wurde ordentlich gewerkelt. Andere Datenbank, mehr Tests und optimierte Requests sind das Ergebnis. Auch das Thema Sicherheit ist uns wichtig und daher wird das Backend nur noch über https angesprochen.

Die App wird in den nächsten Tagen unter den Testern verteilt und läuft intern als Release Candidate 1.

Die Landingpage wurde bereits aktualisiert.

Für die Detailverliebten unter euch hier eine kurze Liste der Änderungen:

  • neues Icon
  • fast jeder Bereich wurde neu bzw. umgeschrieben
  • Ansichten überarbeitet
  • Einige Bilder der Aktionen ausgetauscht
  • Neues Statistik Framework (selbst geschrieben)
  • Neuer Fataler Fehler Screen hinzugefügt
  • Wartungsmodus aktualisiert sich nun selbst
  • Neue HTML Emails vom System
  • Meldungen vom System in der Timeline je nach Zeit und Aktion
  • Ausgewählter Tag wird in Timeline und Aktionen angezeigt
  • Möglichkeit Aktionen für vergangene Tage hinzuzufügen
  • Neue leere Timeline mit Animation
  • Beschreibung für jede Aktion und neuer Screen auf Long Press event
  • Erfassen einer Zeitdauer für die Aktionen
  • Backend komplett auf andere Datenbank umgeschrieben
  • Backend neue Requests erstellt und Fehlerbereinigungen

The next big thing….

The key for our next project came from two instances that happened within a week of each other.

Sitting down with Daniel and talking over a couple of beers, we started to talk about simply visual (although we didn’t have the name yet) and what we should be doing. As usual for what tends to happen in such conversations, you start talking about the great successes and ask each other, whats going to be the next big thing?

Now I don’t have a crystal ball, otherwise I – like millions of others would have invested in amazon, apple, Facebook, google & co over a decade ago. On top of that, In the mean time disruption as a word seems to be now so commoditised that I have to physically stop myself from rolling my eyes whenever I hear it now being mentioned. But disruption still happens. Every. Day. So whilst sitting down with Daniel we’re talking about this and that and I say the standard sentence, that all these things are obvious in hindsight – so what really we need to think about is the obvious. What is sitting in plain sight, what do we do every day, and just don’t see?

Ha! A simple throwaway comment in a conversation with a good friend over a beer. Nothing special, everyday occurrence, no longer thought about.

A few days later something else happened. I got into an argument with my wife. But before I go any further a few things.

First and foremost:

  • I love my wife and my children to bits, have done, still do, will continue to do for all my future.
  • I travel, a lot, Currently this means i’m away from home one week in two
  • I’m not an easy person to live with. I have issues (alot), like everyone else.
  • Somethings drive me nuts and others I simply can ignore. Even with the people closest around me.

So this particular argument, like arguments often do, began about something small, but escalated quickly.
It starts about cleaning something away, probably a throwaway remark from either my wife or me. The remark though is taken with offence and deviates into how little the other does in the house. Ending somewhere around how not enough respect is given for the amount of housework done.
Knowing I should be better, but still not able to keep my mouth shut. I repeat the stupidest sentence in worlds history.

„I do just as much as you do!”
Oh – God! No!! I didn’t just say that now out loud did I?
Its a miracle that I wasn’t thrown out onto the pavement right there and then.
Afterwards when cooler heads prevailed, I went to the kitchen whiteboard and created a list of things that are our household chores. With a simple afterhought added the days of the week to make columns. The idea was simple, if you do a household chore, add your initials to the board. So make what you do visible for the others to see. Count up the initials at the end of the day and you can see who did what, important for my wife, and who did more (a big ego thing for me.)

Then looking at the board, satisfied with such simple solution, I knew this was an ‚obvious thing’. I think lots of partnerships suffer because of what people do, or do not do around the house. A quick call to Daniel was all it took to confirm my theory. Subsequent conversations with other partners gave me a real insight to how widespread these feelings are shared.

A couple of weeks and 100 iterations later we’re getting ready to produce our first app. The name has changed repeatedly, before getting something derived from my wife. I can’t wait to show you all and hope that the understanding for what housework actually is, and who does what is finally visible for all.