Developing Perspective

#213: Showing Up and Shipping Apps.


00:00:00   Hello, and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:03   news of note and iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:07   an independent iOS developer based in Herne, Virginia. This is show number 213. And today

00:00:12   is Thursday, April 2nd. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes. So let's

00:00:18   get started. All right. So if you are a regular listener to Developing Perspective, you probably

00:00:23   noticed that the distance between the previous episode, 212, and this episode, 213, was a

00:00:31   bit longer than normal. It was certainly longer than I typically strive for, and was longer

00:00:34   than is probably good for if you're trying to have a regular show with a regular audience.

00:00:39   The time, in fact, I think it was 33.9 days since I last released an episode as I'm recording

00:00:45   this now. And that's a long time. You know, a lot's happened in the last month in terms

00:00:51   of news of note style of things. And so it's a bit odd in some ways that it's been that

00:00:57   long. And so I wanted to talk a little bit about why there's a longer gap than typical

00:01:01   and just generally kind of think, unpack that a little bit. And then I also have just we'll

00:01:07   talk a little bit towards the end about the process of submitting WatchKit apps because

00:01:11   those opened earlier this week. So anytime you do something on a regular basis, like

00:01:19   And I guess, you know, I've been doing Developing Perspective on a regular basis for a very

00:01:24   long time at this point. The first episode of Developing Perspective was July 13th, 2011,

00:01:31   which was a little over three and three quarters years ago. You know, a lot has changed in

00:01:39   that period. It's, and a lot is, you know, I'm very glad in many ways that I have Developing

00:01:45   as a record of those. And I actually went back and did a, just like, took a look at

00:01:50   how frequently I have posted and how consistently I've posted during that period, you know,

00:01:55   over that last three and three quarters years. And the average time between episodes has

00:02:01   been 6.4 days, and the median is five days. So I've been pretty consistent about it. And

00:02:09   that makes me pretty happy. Like, I'm very proud of the fact that I've been able to show

00:02:14   up and consistently put something out, something that I think is fairly good and fairly useful

00:02:20   for so long. And in some ways it's nice that I feel like it captures the history of the

00:02:24   App Store in an interesting way, certainly only from my perspective. But a lot has changed

00:02:29   since 2011 to now, and I like that I've recorded that. But sometimes you get blocked in a way

00:02:40   that, you know, if I was a writer, it'd be writer's block, but it's podcasters block,

00:02:43   I guess, where in the last month, I've found myself in a weird place where I sometimes

00:02:50   have ideas for things I wanted to say on the show, but then I'm like, "Oh, is that really

00:02:53   useful? Is that really going to be helpful? Should I do that?" Sometimes I feel like,

00:02:58   "I just don't know if I really want to do the show. Should I keep doing it in general?"

00:03:02   And there's a lot of things that come into that. And if you've listened to Developing

00:03:09   perspective for a long time, what I often try and do is turn situations that come up in my work,

00:03:14   things that I struggle with, things that are challenges, into topics. Because more often

00:03:19   than not, the feedback I get is that the best feedback, the best help that I can give to people

00:03:25   is when I share my own experiences and share how I deal with them. And so that's what I'm doing

00:03:30   today. I'm not really sure what developing perspective's future is. Unless I'm not

00:03:34   certainly not announcing anything at this point, or certainly not anything dramatic.

00:03:38   But increasingly recently, it's felt like it's maybe approaching the end of its life.

00:03:45   It's been going for so long, and I'm glad I've been doing it, and I will likely keep

00:03:49   doing it at least a bit more. But at a certain point, I feel like there might be something

00:03:55   better or some other venue that might be better to explore for me to continue to find a way

00:04:01   to give back to the community. And I don't know exactly what that looks like or what

00:04:04   timeline that is. But it's funny, I feel differently about developing perspective now than I have

00:04:09   in a while. And so we'll see. But in the meantime, what I want to talk about, though, is how

00:04:15   do you get unstuck? Because this happens so often in development, in any kind of activity

00:04:22   that you're trying to do for a long time. You will go through sort of cycles of motivation,

00:04:28   cycles of ability, cycles of interest, in ways that can be very disconcerting and worrying

00:04:36   and depressing even. If you get used to doing something, you have these great periods, these

00:04:42   great highs where you are firing on all cylinders and really doing great work. I found that

00:04:50   you can have, in the blink of an eye, you can completely turn around and have a period

00:04:56   where you just feel like you can't get anything done. That all your work just doesn't quite

00:05:01   work right, your productivity's down, your motivation's down. And that can be really

00:05:05   scary. That can be a really odd thing, especially if you're doing something where your livelihood

00:05:11   depends on your ability to execute at a high level. But this is something that happens

00:05:15   to me regularly enough that I'm just used to it now. That I know that I will go through

00:05:22   in a typical year, probably three or four periods where I am just on fire. I'm cranking

00:05:30   out good apps, good updates, good blog posts, good podcasts, whatever. I'm really doing

00:05:38   well. And there'll be periods of time where no matter how hard I try, I'm getting hardly

00:05:44   anything done. I'm not really feeling like I'm able to do what I need to do. I get discouraged.

00:05:48   I'm like, "Oh, should I even, you know, should I just pack up and, you know, go home?" kind of thing.

00:05:54   And in the early years, you know, back in 2011, when I started off from perspective,

00:06:01   when those periods happened, I think I was very, I was more profoundly discouraged by it.

00:06:06   It was something that would really worry me that, "Oh, goodness, you know, what have I done? What

00:06:12   have I gotten myself into? Now, you know, what am I going to do?" If you kind of, when you're down in

00:06:17   that valley, and you're looking up the side of the valley in terms of where you have to

00:06:24   go to get back to where you were, it's discouraging because in some ways it's easy to fall down

00:06:31   the hill, but it's harder to climb back up it. But the funny thing is, I've gone through

00:06:38   this cycle enough times to know that I will get back up to the top of the valley. And

00:06:44   there's something just reassuring about having done it so many times that you just kind of

00:06:48   at some point get used to it. And that doesn't make it be any less discouraging or feel any

00:06:54   worse. It doesn't make it feel better at the time, but it is nevertheless encouraging to know.

00:07:00   You know, it's like the sun will always rise kind of a thing. No matter what you do,

00:07:05   as long as you have at least a basic interest in what you're doing, and some level of motivation

00:07:13   that you can hold onto, I think you can get back in there. And something that I want,

00:07:18   part of why I'm doing this episode today is as a result of something that I've learned,

00:07:24   even the very least about myself, that I thought would be worth sharing. And that is the important

00:07:32   thing more often than not is to just keep at it. You know, keep showing up. And there's

00:07:39   maybe one way to say it. And that's not to say it's like you want to force it. Like,

00:07:42   Sometimes it's good to take breaks. Sometimes it is good to get some distance from your

00:07:47   work. And that can be constructive. And if that's intentionally done, like, that is awesome,

00:07:51   you know, do that. But when you're in a position where you, you kind of have this strange feeling

00:07:56   of your one, like, productive work feels within your grasp, but just beyond it, like, you

00:08:04   can almost feel what it's like to be in there and be productive, or to, you know, sort of

00:08:08   making, a lot of what I find is that I just need to do it and try it. And I'll just sit

00:08:14   down in Xcode and do something. And you kind of get back into it. And that's sort of what

00:08:21   I'm doing today. I didn't think I had a great topic for a show today. And this morning when

00:08:26   I was like, you know, I really should do it in a developing perspective, it's been a very

00:08:29   long time. I didn't, the reason I'm doing it is because I know that if I don't do it,

00:08:37   And if I don't do it for longer and longer, it will get harder and harder to come back

00:08:42   into here.

00:08:44   And that's just a lesson that I think I've found applies so generally to creative work

00:08:51   and to being productive in whatever you're doing.

00:08:54   And I imagine this applies to a lot of different people doing a lot of different things that

00:09:00   you just need to keep at it.

00:09:03   could like the old try thing of, you know, fake it till you make it kind of thing. But

00:09:09   that seems to work. And the funny thing is sitting here in front of this microphone now,

00:09:13   I'm able to get this episode out. And I think so far, you know, to be a bit meta, like,

00:09:17   I think that's, it's going pretty well. And, you know, the day the me of a few hours ago,

00:09:24   when I was thinking about doing an episode was like, Oh, no, it's not very good. It's

00:09:26   not going to be very interesting. But you won't know until you try and you won't be

00:09:30   able to really explore how to get out of the funk unless you try to get out of the funk.

00:09:38   And the act of trying is often the thing that gets you over the hill in the first place.

00:09:43   So hopefully that's encouraging.

00:09:44   I don't know.

00:09:45   Anyway, the second topic I wanted to talk about today is watch Git apps are now open

00:09:52   for submission.

00:09:53   I think submission's open on Tuesday, if I remember right.

00:09:55   It's been a bit of a blur because I have been, as you might imagine, submitting lots and

00:09:59   and lots and lots of apps.

00:10:02   And thankfully, I was pretty prepared for today.

00:10:04   I think I had originally estimated

00:10:05   that submissions were going to open on, I think,

00:10:08   March 20 was my original estimate a few months ago.

00:10:13   And so roughly, I was ready to go.

00:10:15   I had the things that I wanted in a pretty good shape.

00:10:19   I felt pretty good about what I had.

00:10:20   And I'd even gone through a lot of the putting together

00:10:24   screenshots and all the stuff that you

00:10:26   have to do in terms of submitting an application.

00:10:29   And so I felt pretty good.

00:10:31   It's been a pretty long couple of days, though.

00:10:33   One thing that I've learned about submissions to the App

00:10:37   Store or just in general, everything always

00:10:40   takes longer than you expect it to.

00:10:43   That's like rule number one in life, it seems.

00:10:46   No matter how much time you think

00:10:48   something's going to take, it almost always takes more.

00:10:51   It very rarely takes less.

00:10:52   And so in the submission process,

00:10:53   there's all these weird things that will happen.

00:10:56   And I'm not going to go into all of them now,

00:10:58   but I'm going to talk a little bit about the things

00:11:00   that I do to get around them and my sort of process around it,

00:11:03   because I think that might be helpful.

00:11:05   So the developer forms are your friend around this time.

00:11:08   Whenever something new is happening,

00:11:10   whenever there's a big new version of Xcode

00:11:11   with a big new submission process or a big new anything,

00:11:14   the developer forms are a great place, because people go in

00:11:17   there-- and I do this, and I benefit from other people doing

00:11:19   this-- we go in and we talk about the problems we're

00:11:22   having, and then hopefully the solutions we found.

00:11:24   Like, I ran into a really weird code signing bug.

00:11:28   where all of the apps that I'd created, who I'd added the Watch Kit part to it in a particular

00:11:35   beta-- I'm not sure which one exactly, but it seemed like only a certain subset of my

00:11:40   applications were doing this-- wouldn't submit. And they had this really cryptic code signing

00:11:44   problem. And I go into the forms and look around, and eventually I find someone who says,

00:11:49   "Yeah, I ran into this." And you have to do this weird dance where you create

00:11:55   an app ID for the app, the watch app part of the app, not the watch app extension, the

00:12:00   watch app itself. You create that, you create a profile, and you go in to download and install

00:12:05   the older version of Xcode, X.6.1.1, and using that you can update the profile for that build

00:12:12   target to the new profile. And I don't know if that made any sense to describe it. It

00:12:17   was a crazy process, but it worked. And I was able to keep submitting processes, you

00:12:21   know, submitting apps. And I wouldn't have probably been able to work that out if it

00:12:24   weren't for the developer form. Or there's weird issues where a bunch of people have

00:12:28   found that there's a limit to how big your watch app can be and still be installable

00:12:31   on your watch and it'll be rejected if it isn't. Or people go and they talk about the

00:12:35   things they've been rejected for. Because a lot of this process is just a learning process

00:12:40   for all of us. That we're building, we're submitting things to the store and there are

00:12:45   as you know, we don't think we have review guidelines yet for the watch. But even when

00:12:50   we do, so much of the review process and so much of the submission process is this collective

00:12:57   knowledge that you just build up over time. It's like, "Oh, I shouldn't do that. Oh, if

00:13:01   I do that, I'll get rejected. Oh, if I do that, this will happen." And you kind of build

00:13:05   up a vocabulary of problems that you know to avoid. And this is the time for watches

00:13:12   where we're developing these all together and discovering people having weird issues

00:13:16   where if they capitalize Apple Watch wrong,

00:13:19   their metadata will be rejected.

00:13:21   Or there's issues where people, if you don't correctly

00:13:25   set the product name for your application,

00:13:28   and so the companion app for the watch doesn't show up,

00:13:30   the names don't correspond correctly,

00:13:32   then you might be rejected.

00:13:33   There's all kinds of things that people are running into.

00:13:36   And so I'd encourage you, if you are submitting watch apps,

00:13:39   if you hit weird problems, to share about them in the

00:13:41   developer form.

00:13:42   And if you're hitting problems, the first place to go

00:13:44   is to go and look there. But hopefully, it's going well. I'm very glad Apple gave a very

00:13:50   long lead time. It's between now and I guess it will be three weeks tomorrow the Apple

00:13:56   Watch will be actually released to the world. And so that's quite a long runway they've

00:14:01   given themselves for app review. Even with a few rejections along the way, my suspicion

00:14:06   is if you submit an app this week, or start that submission process, start the review

00:14:11   process this week, three weeks is probably going to be enough to get the vast majority

00:14:15   of them through, at least the ones that aren't pushing boundaries or doing weird things.

00:14:23   And so that's pretty cool.

00:14:24   I think there's going to be a ton of apps.

00:14:25   I did a bit of math this morning, and it looked like if the same ratio of watch apps exists

00:14:31   that were compared to the iPad when it first launched.

00:14:34   During the iPad launch, there were 3,000 iPad apps.

00:14:37   If you apply the same ratio for the size of the store, it'd be like 30,000 watch kit apps.

00:14:42   And I think we're probably going to exceed that dramatically.

00:14:44   And that's pretty exciting.

00:14:46   Anyway, that's it for today's show.

00:14:48   As always, questions, comments, concerns, or complaints, you can email me, david@developingperspective.com.

00:14:52   Otherwise, I'm @_davidsmith on Twitter.

00:14:55   Thanks.

00:14:56   Happy coding.

00:14:57   I'll talk to you next week.