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Launch an App (danielgauthier.me)
159 points by wallflower 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments

This is cool. Just to give you some product validation, this is essentially what WhatsApp was before it became a messaging service. The 'status' that you see when you look at your WhatsApp contacts was the entire app; launched to ensure people knew when was a good time to text or call a contact. It was free, and more importantly, instant. So what ended up happening was that people started using it to broadcast announcements, have conversations etc. That's when WhatsApp pivoted to a messaging service.

Good luck!

Sounds like messaging would be the next logic iteration for this app to grow indeed. It's async and not too intrusive to solve this issue.

Regardless, very neat project and execution, hope it gets where you want it to!

Really like the look of the app although I can't use it since it's iOS only.

Actually, my wife and I need something like this - we work together, and it's hard to coordinate around periods where I am in programming flow.

If you are the developer of the app, congratulations on your launch! :)

Hi, I'm the developer!

Thanks for the kind words. Sorry you can't check it out – really wish I could get this onto Android too, but I'm a solo iOS developer who can only take on so much at once :(

Congrats on the launch and thanks for writing about your story – it's truly invaluable to me, personally.

How did you cut your teeth with iOS development? I'm traditionally a backend (hobbyist) developer, and am a little lost as to what are good resources to get started on iOS development for someone who's already familiar with programming

I started doing iOS stuff in 2012, so a lot has changed since then! If you're just getting into it now, I'd probably recommend diving straight into SwiftUI, which is Apple's new UI framework, and likely the future of iOS dev. Paul Hudson's "Hacking with Swift" website has a "100 days of SwiftUI" series that I've seen people really enjoying – might be worth checking out!

Thank you! Definitely will!

the big nerd book is generally good and pretty thorough and recommended often. however, it's tutorial form though so if that's your jam it works well. i tend to find that the tutorial form a bit less useful as it's too verbose and storylike.

Thank you very much! Tutorials are hit or miss, but I'll definitely give this a try

Can you elaborate more on the IAP rejections you went through? Were they related to asking for "donations"?

Could you talk about why you decided to go native iOS and not use something like Flutter to allow you to go to both platforms from one codebase? I'm currently trying to figure out what to do for this idea I have for an app. One the one hand I really like Swift but on the other hand iOS adoption in my country is kind of low so not making an Android app seems kind of dumb. I absolutely hate the native Android SDK so that's definitely not an option.

Short answer: I'm a professional native iOS developer ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Been doing this full-time for many years, so that's the area where I'm trying to make a splash with my personal projects at the moment. I'm by no means against cross-platform tools though, if it suits your product and your goals! It's easy for people like me, who are super embedded in the whole Apple ecosystem, to forget that iPhones aren't that common in many parts of the world.

This may or may not be the place, but isn't there something unfortunate about the ever-increasing "need" for public validation (at scale)?

The author mostly managed to extricate himself by defining his own successful launch, but it's not the norm. Our conversations are rated by strangers, and I have friends who go back to old tweets regularly and delete the ones that "didn't get enough likes."

I'd really like to know if there's a place to discuss and advocate against this phenomenon. Or at least mitigate.

sounds like a good medium post. i’m sure you’ll get lots of claps :-P

Love this story. Idea to launch in less than 2 months.

Are iOS devs still shying away from SwiftUI for now?

Also, I find it interesting to start coding on day 1 with just a vague idea in your mind. It's probably my UX influence, but I wouldn't dare do that anymore these days. In the least, I want to hash out my domain/data model, no matter how simple the app might be.

Hi, I'm the dev!

This is a great point, and you're not wrong. This was a pretty unique case where I had a really clear idea in my head of what this would require from the get-go, and it was also meant to be a pretty quick, experimental little project. It seems to have struck a chord with some folks, so now I get to find out if my off-the-cuff approach is going to come back to haunt me soon.

As for SwiftUI, I think it'll be a slow and steady process for most of us. I've been a UIKit developer for the better part of a decade now, so I still feel most comfortable in that domain, but I think most folks acknowledge SwiftUI is the future. Although it's still a bit immature, I'm hoping to start shipping bits of SwiftUI here and there soon.

> I still feel most comfortable in that domain, but I think most folks acknowledge SwiftUI is the future.

As a counterpoint, SwiftUI is easier to grok to me (a student who's done a lot of web work in React) than UIKit (especially storyboards and the constraints system, but maybe I haven't made enough of an effort to learn it). HStacks and VStacks are very similar to flexbox layout.

That's what I figured! If you can hold it all in your head and just jump into the code, that makes sense.

I admire your writing style. Did you take any courses or practice regularly otherwise? English is not my native language but I find your texts incredibly natural to read. Kudos on the launch!

It's a good example of informal but easily understandable technical writing. Most of the progress update phrases are written lightheartedly and don't contain subjects (i.e. the subject is implicitly "I"). This type of writing is appealing because it's conversational: it's pretty much exactly how a native English speaker might tell the story to a friend.

I don't have any advice for nonnative speakers on this particular subject other than to analyze how native speakers write and speak informally (like in movie scripts or text messages). Saying what you're writing out loud before writing it can help as well.

Yep, I think snazz said it better than I could have here! I'll emphasize the last point especially, about saying it out loud – I may not /actually/ read my stuff out loud, but I'm always very focused on how my writing would sound if I was talking to someone. I want it to sound comfortable and natural, while also keeping it well-structured and grammatically correct.

Your sense of design is imo simply impeccable! I was wondering what you used to build your blog? Checked out the code and it seems custom-built! Is that right?

Looks like it's using github pages and jekyll. Here's the source code: https://github.com/danielmgauthier/danielmgauthier.github.io

Yep, I just started with a Jekyll template and tweaked it over time. But, fair warning: I am by no means a web developer, and most of my "tweaks" are just poorly written css changes.

This is really cool. Thanks for posting and congrats to @danielmgauthier for launching!

Probably makes sense to link to https://danielgauthier.me/2020/01/26/indie-intro.html instead of this final chapter, since I don't believe this series has ever been shared on HN before

For the tips screen (May 5 update), can you elaborate on what the app store team made you change about it?

This is quite nice. How do you plan to evolve it once people get back into offices (if ever) ? I can potentially see teams using it in their slack workflow as an integration. But how do you forsee it evolving outside of perhaps roommates or couples wfh?

So far, my approach has been to not think too much about the in-office use case since, in theory at least, there are already tools like Slack that _should_ be able to serve this purpose (though admittedly, they don't always do it well).

It's still very early days with this thing, and I've got lots of ideas bouncing around, but one avenue that might be interesting to explore is to try to better serve the use case of letting friends and family know, at a glance, what you're up to and whether you're up for a chat. I know I've already got users doing this kind of thing with the app today.

But we'll see! I think what makes the app appealing is its simplicity, so I don't want to stray from that too quickly.

Enjoyed the writing style of the post and the clean design of the app. Cheers to launching!


Congratulations on your launch! I like the design


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