How many iOS developers get their first paid app on iTunes’ “New and Noteworthy” list? We’re guessing not many! But Ian Blue, who graduated from Mobile Makers Academy in March, was pretty psyched to see “Full,” a productivity app he built, prominently featured.
“That was kind of crazy. It was one of my first apps, so I didn’t know what to expect.” We asked him how he did it. “I think the name is awfully simple, the artwork looks good but is also simple. And it features swipe gestures, which Apple’s going to use in iOS 7.”
Full is one of those apps that does one thing really well: Say you want to start running regularly: You type in “Go running,” set your target frequency for the month (8 times), and then each time you run, you swipe the activity and it keeps track of your progress with stop-light indicators and a pie chart display. Simple.
But even Ian admits he was surprised when it made the list. “When I submitted Full, it got rejected right away because originally it was going to use in-app purchases, and Apple thought it was still supposed to have that feature. I appealed and before I knew it, it was approved and they were asking for promotional artwork.”
Although he didn’t have any coding experience prior to Mobile Makers, right after he finished the program, Ian went to work in his hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for Lemon.ly, a company that specializes in info graphics. The owner had some ideas for paid apps, including Full, so he brought on Ian for a four-month stint as their first app developer, working closely with an in-house designer.
“I don’t have internal resources because I’m the sole app developer, but Mobile Makers taught me what to look for, so I can figure things out, like Core Data. I used what I learned at Mobile Makers and took it one step further. Rather than a simple database, I turned it into a relational database so that each swipe gesture is tracked with its own timestamp, so for instance we could build graphical views showing daily progress. The database is much more robust that it appears.”
Now Ian’s staying on for another four months while they look at additional ideas, including designing apps for Lemon.ly’s clients. And he has some work to do on Full, too, as he continues to add features. Ian’s not saying much about what comes next, but you can be sure we’re keeping track of his progress.