App development

We started our first mobile app called putzich. To get a feeling about development we decided to try the ionic framework.

The results are quite good and development speed is as expected. We are now at a point where we discuss the first redesign and new features. Adding plugins in ionic is not the easiest part when using version 1.

But. Ionic released Verison 2 of the framework which is awesome. Lots of new features we want to use and play with but there is one thing which hits me really hard.

ionic 2 is based on angular2 which is a complete redesign of the framework. But not enough ionic and angular now selects typescript as their preferred programming language.

So a lot of new stuff needs to be learned. I have a sideproject which is quite small and seems perfect to get into the topics.

Stay tuned…

Update:

I played a lot with the new frameworks and struggled in dozens of error screens. All works perfect in emulation and on web but fails hard on the device. Additionally there are some real limitations on storing data on the device and handle the data. For my sideproject I will start now with real iOS development using swift. Don’t get me wrong. Hybrid app development with ionic is fun but has limitations.

Landing page for putzich

As already mentioned we have started to work on our first mobile app. A lot of iterations took place to get the final name putzich.

We also created a small landing page for you to get the idea behind the app and give you a short overview of the feature set.

Additionally we would like to have more tester to get more feedback on this. You can sign up as beta tester on the landing page at the bottom.

The landing page can be reached here: http://putzich.simplyvisual.de/

Making an app

We often discussed about creating an app. The last idea was perfect to make an app out of it. To be honest, we have not much experience in that but challenge accepted.

So we started to make some wireframes and storage concepts. To get quick results and see how things work on the device we decided to start with ionic. Experience in web application exists but things work different on a mobile device. We often discussed really great new ideas but then have to throw it away because it won’t work on the mobile device. But we also try to find a way to rethink the idea to make it work.

We use Testflight to bring beta versions  quite fast to our testers. It helps to make first experiences on the device and if the app works as expected.

Stay tuned…

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.

A fresh start

So, good things take time. Mistakes get made and lessons are learned. What started out as a fantastic adventure ended quickly because…. what?

And why should this new thing be any different?

Fortunately there is no magic bullet that promises success. If there was, everyone would do it. I also prefer the learnings that come from reflecting on the personal mistakes. These are the things that keep you awake and help understand more what needs to be done to make it better. Sometimes there is no option left than just to begin again, and if thats what you believe in, take the courage to make the cut and start again. So here we are, from three to two. Daniel and myself ready to try again and see where we can go from here.

Now if this sounds down, its not meant to be. Without knowing exactly what you want, its very difficult to move in any direction that feels actually like going forward. This is where I previously got caught, because soon enough there are discussions about what is the right thing to do and in an effort to try and keep everybody on board and please everyone, you stand still.

Which funnily enough helped. Because with staying still and becoming more and more frustrated with the lack of movement, I focused again on what it is exactly that I want to do, going back and reflecting on what was good in the first project and using that to refine the initial idea. Then sharing that with Daniel to see if that feeling is mutual. Thankfully it was, and an old idea on car price evaluations (ha old, this thing was only six months old then) was revisited and polished a little further, and while we were looking at that I had a simple thought for something else. This got us going again, but as smaller team. Ideas and conversation flowed quickly, and in the end, a product was created in a really short space of time, that even after being finished 3 months ago. I still look back at it and think, wow! we did that! Thats simply great! (Something highly unusual for me as, a) I rarely look back at previous work b) almost never have a feeling of complete satisfaction – there is always something you know in the back of your mind where a corner was cut, or something done on the quick and dirty, and although the customer might not know it, it enough because you know its there.) This is different. It made me feel proud and confident, that what we have is together is better, far better, than the sum of parts.

With that project then in our pocket we both want more. So here we are, a new streamlined team, ready to take on the world.

Bring it on.