Developing Perspective

Show 5


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a near daily podcast

00:00:05   discussing the news of Note in iOS, Apple, and the like. I'm your host, David Smith.

00:00:10   I'm an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number five,

00:00:15   and today is Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011. The format of Developing Perspective is basically

00:00:21   that I will cover a handful of links and articles and things that I found interesting in roughly

00:00:25   the last 24 hours, and then move over into a more general discussion towards the end.

00:00:30   The discussions and links are oriented towards someone who is interested and involved in

00:00:35   things like Apple, iOS development, and the like, which is what I do.

00:00:39   All right, the show will never be more than 15 minutes long and will never include third

00:00:43   party advertising.

00:00:44   So without further ado, let's get to it.

00:00:47   First off, the first link I have is a link entitled "Essential Text-Made Shortcuts, Tips,

00:00:54   techniques. So as I've mentioned before, I'm an avid TextMate user. I've been using it

00:00:59   for years and years since my early days in Rails. And there's basically just a walk-through

00:01:04   of some of the things you may not know that you were able to do in TextMate. Some of them

00:01:09   I've--were surprised to run into myself. It's definitely worth checking out if you use TextMate.

00:01:14   A lot of little things that in aggregate will probably dramatically improve your productivity.

00:01:20   All right, next, over on the giant robot smashing into other giant robots blog, which is just

00:01:29   an awesome name for a blog.

00:01:31   There's an article, I think it's a little bit older, but I ran into it the other day,

00:01:36   called "Streamline Your Git Workflow with Alias."

00:01:39   And it's just a really good sort of walkthrough of, it's an example of how the guys at Thoughtbot

00:01:46   use Git in their workflow, and then they create aliases

00:01:50   to speed that up.

00:01:51   So rather than having to type a variety of operations--

00:01:55   say, for example, when they finished adding functionality,

00:02:00   they get AA.

00:02:01   And that removes old files, adds new files.

00:02:06   Then does it get status?

00:02:07   And then they have one for creating a new branch,

00:02:09   one for Git up, for fetching from origin

00:02:12   and rebasing, those types of things.

00:02:14   And it's just a really clever way of just saving you

00:02:17   a little bit of time, and even probably beyond that,

00:02:19   making it very formulaic and precise about what

00:02:23   it is you're doing when you're trying

00:02:25   to go through the various stages of your version control

00:02:30   workflow.

00:02:30   So for example, rather than having to remember, OK,

00:02:33   whenever I need to get my upstream changes,

00:02:37   these are the three to four commands that I need to run.

00:02:39   You turn that into an alias, and that makes your workflow much

00:02:42   more repeatable.

00:02:43   and you're far less likely to forget to accidentally pull

00:02:46   something in or merge it in the wrong way or something

00:02:48   like that, or miss a file, for example, when you're adding it.

00:02:52   So definitely worth checking out if you're a Git user.

00:02:55   Next, over on Macworld, they published their review

00:02:59   of the new MacBook Airs.

00:03:02   And what's mostly significant about this,

00:03:04   other than just to say the new MacBook

00:03:06   Airs are amazing machines.

00:03:08   I had the privilege of playing around with a couple of them.

00:03:11   And if you're looking for a small laptop,

00:03:13   a really better way to say is if you're looking for a laptop,

00:03:16   definitely get a MacBook Air.

00:03:17   They're just amazing machines.

00:03:19   But it's quite impressive that I thought they gave them

00:03:22   five mouses, which Macworld rates computers and hardware

00:03:27   and software in mice.

00:03:29   And so it's the equivalent of giving it five stars, which

00:03:31   is a pretty impressive thing, given that there's

00:03:33   very few pieces of technology that have been given five mices.

00:03:37   So definitely, if you're in the market for a laptop,

00:03:40   get a MacBook Air.

00:03:41   If you want a really small one, get an 11.

00:03:43   Get a 13.

00:03:44   Doesn't really matter.

00:03:45   It's a great machine.

00:03:47   All right, and next, there's an article

00:03:49   by Nick Farina talking about his experience working on Android.

00:03:54   And this is an article that's made the rounds a little bit.

00:03:57   But it's just a really honest and in-depth discussion

00:04:00   of what it's like at a tactical level being an iOS developer

00:04:04   trying to get into Android, talking about some

00:04:05   of the challenges of Eclipse, some of the different API

00:04:10   changes, using an emulator rather than a simulator, and some of those types of changes that are

00:04:15   just really interesting.

00:04:16   And I think his experience is fairly consistent with my experience where it's not necessarily

00:04:22   that either one of them is categorically better than the other at an engineering level.

00:04:27   There's some sort of things I'd like to see, you know, which I'll actually get to later

00:04:31   about some of the marketplace and the actual, you know, the ability to make money on either

00:04:35   platform.

00:04:36   From a technical perspective, it's not necessarily that one totally is better than the other.

00:04:40   There's some things like, for example, the way that Android does layout is far more consistent

00:04:46   and scalable, which you'd expect it to have to do because of the fragmentation screen

00:04:51   issues.

00:04:52   But it's definitely just something that versus what you see on iOS that Android really wins

00:04:56   on.

00:04:57   But overall, if it's just something if you're thinking of doing any amount of Android development,

00:05:02   I definitely recommend reading this article

00:05:04   to get a good sense of really what it's like coming from iOS.

00:05:09   And lastly, there's an article called

00:05:12   Face Planting, an app launch horror story with a twist.

00:05:16   This is over on TapTapTap, the makers of all kinds of things,

00:05:20   Camera Plus, Classics.

00:05:22   Basically, it's probably some of the people who've made the most--

00:05:25   the single company other than some of the large game vendors

00:05:29   who've made the most money in the app store.

00:05:31   And they're talking about how the launch of their most

00:05:35   recent app, Faces, didn't quite go as they may have hoped,

00:05:40   versus some of their other things.

00:05:41   On their first day, they only sold 750 units,

00:05:44   which for most developers would be a great day.

00:05:46   But for them, it's in contrast to things

00:05:48   like the heist, which on its first day

00:05:50   sold almost 90,000 units.

00:05:53   So it's just kind of an interesting walk-through.

00:05:55   Even people with that kind of marketing reach,

00:05:57   with that kind of resources, still have challenges.

00:06:01   Things like they launched it-- it turned out

00:06:02   they launched it on Lion Day, which

00:06:05   has a variety of challenges and problems with it,

00:06:07   because I think people weren't as

00:06:08   interested in new applications.

00:06:10   But definitely just an interesting walkthrough

00:06:13   to kind of discuss and see what it's like.

00:06:17   Even if you have all of those resources,

00:06:19   you can still make mistakes, and hopefully there's

00:06:21   something there to learn from for the rest of us.

00:06:23   All right, and lastly, I'm going to talk a little bit

00:06:26   about probably the biggest bit of news

00:06:28   yesterday, which was a blog post that

00:06:31   was made by the Shifty Jelly guys who make Pocket Casts,

00:06:35   which originally I believe was an iOS app.

00:06:37   Then recently they ported it over to be an Android app.

00:06:41   And this talks about some of the challenges and problems

00:06:43   they've recently run into, where basically they

00:06:46   were presented by Amazon with an opportunity.

00:06:49   Would you like your app to take part

00:06:51   in our free app of the day feature placement?

00:06:55   Which essentially means that for one day,

00:06:57   their application will be given away for free to anybody

00:06:59   who wants it.

00:07:01   And in return for that, Shifty Jelly

00:07:04   agreed to give Amazon 0% revenue share, or essentially,

00:07:09   Amazon is going to give away their app

00:07:10   and they will receive $0 for that.

00:07:14   And it talks about just some of the challenges and things

00:07:16   they ran into with that.

00:07:18   There's increased support costs and all of these things.

00:07:23   And just generally how it's just a bad experience for them,

00:07:28   where they were all of a sudden--

00:07:31   they had 100,000 copies of their app given away,

00:07:34   and they didn't make anything from it.

00:07:36   Now fair enough, they decided to do this.

00:07:38   It wasn't that Amazon went behind their back to do it.

00:07:40   But still, they had basically a whole bad experience,

00:07:44   and it's definitely a sour taste in their mouth about it.

00:07:48   And generally, they talk that the Amazon App Store is just

00:07:51   awful place to do work. I have some apps in there myself, and I couldn't agree more with

00:07:55   that. I sort of have a blog post on my side talking about sort of some of the challenges

00:08:01   about it. But I think at the end of the day that I think is most striking is just that

00:08:05   there isn't really a market on the Amazon side. If you look at, for example, there on

00:08:10   their blog posts, they talk about, oh, we have, you know, sort of what their sales were

00:08:14   to date. And they have, you know, two sales, two sales, 14 sales, 20 sales, and then the

00:08:20   it was featured, they had 100,000 sales.

00:08:23   So fair enough, at the high end, with the most visibility

00:08:27   in the store on a free app, the best you could do

00:08:30   is 100,000 downloads.

00:08:32   That seems pretty small.

00:08:34   I mean, I think, as best I understand,

00:08:38   many of the top 25 paid apps on the App Store

00:08:42   do that kind of volume every day.

00:08:44   And so if that's the best you can do as the most featured

00:08:47   app for free on the Amazon side, you're

00:08:49   of getting a sense of just how small that market is

00:08:53   and how likely as a developer it's not really worthwhile.

00:08:56   Especially some of the other challenges

00:08:57   that I think you're going to run into,

00:09:01   the actual terms of the developer agreement with Amazon

00:09:04   is very restrictive, and specifically

00:09:06   in relation to how you can then do things on Google Market.

00:09:10   Technically, if I remember correctly,

00:09:12   in order to remove your app from one,

00:09:14   you'd have to remove it from both.

00:09:15   So if you add an app to the Amazon App Store,

00:09:18   You then, in theory, need to-- you cannot remove it unless you

00:09:22   move it from all marketplaces, which is a pretty rough thing

00:09:26   that Amazon can exert that much control over you.

00:09:30   Similarly, Amazon has some crazy things where

00:09:32   they can adjust your price however they want.

00:09:34   You say, oh, it's a $10 app.

00:09:36   And they can say, actually, maybe it

00:09:37   should be a 99 cent app.

00:09:39   And you really don't have any control over that.

00:09:42   So it's definitely just something that I would say,

00:09:44   at this point, if you're a developer,

00:09:45   if you're thinking about getting into Android

00:09:47   and you're thinking about Amazon and Google Market, at this point, it's just stay away.

00:09:53   It's just not worth your time, your effort, you're not going to make nearly enough money

00:09:55   from it to for it to be worthwhile in general. And then moreover to that, unless Amazon is

00:10:03   able to expand its reach, it's just not going to be worthwhile. If the absolute max that

00:10:08   you can from a volume perspective is 100,000 copies a day. So when you get towards the

00:10:14   a long tail of that.

00:10:16   If you're not all the way at the peak,

00:10:18   you're looking at very small revenues for your application.

00:10:22   And so it's just not going to be worthwhile.

00:10:24   Maybe if Amazon comes out with an Android device, a tablet,

00:10:27   something new comes out in this holiday lineup,

00:10:30   and so they start having a bit more pull,

00:10:31   like all the new Kindles have the App Store on them

00:10:35   or those types of things, it may be worthwhile.

00:10:38   But at this point, I would just say stay away.

00:10:41   If you're going to do Android, focus primarily

00:10:43   on Google Market, which has its own problems,

00:10:45   but is at least generally a lot better.

00:10:48   And in general, I would just still say,

00:10:50   if you're starting out, if you're like,

00:10:52   hey, mobile development's what I want to do,

00:10:54   just stick with iOS.

00:10:55   You'll have a far more nice time,

00:10:58   higher chance of success, and generally just probably

00:11:00   be happier.

00:11:01   Unless Android's the thing you like for other reasons.

00:11:05   Anyway, so that's my general discussion

00:11:07   talking about my thoughts on their experience.

00:11:10   If you have any sort of thoughts, comments, corrections, hit me up on Twitter.

00:11:14   I'm @_davidsmith.

00:11:15   Otherwise, have a good day.

00:11:17   I'll talk to you tomorrow, and happy coding.

00:11:19   Bye.