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I'm a lone developer hacking away on a couple of Mac apps. I also have a few iPhone apps, but these generate little to no income. The Mac apps are better. Most notable is InstaDesk (http://www.instadesk-app.com) which generates my main income and I can live off it thus living the dream (i.e. right now I'm sitting outside in a small cafe, enjoying the sun, watching people, and fixing a couple of bugs for the upcoming 2.0.2 update; after that I'll head to a green park which features fast wifi).

I'd say it's a lot easier if you're working alone and have little costs. I have a small flat, and I don't have any employees. Also, I do the website myself, the customer service, the one or other ad campaign, the graphics, etc. So apart from my small rent and hardware (which is where I do invest, since I do think that good tools are really, really important) I have almost no expenses. Living in a small student town also helps since good and healthy food is really cheap here, too (like 3 eur for a solid and healthy lunch).

I just looked at http://www.instadesk-app.com and noticed that you forgot to add

to two of your slider image containers. That causes the padding to be off and the images overlay the text. Just thought I'd tell you.

Thanks a lot! Fixed it right away :)

I've noticed, correct me if I'm wrong, but pirates are more abundant in Windows users than Mac users... I did a quick search and there's barely anything available for download on TPB for Mac (Just the usual big company name stuff), and tons for Windows.

Seems Mac users have no problem paying for the software they use, considering that it's not overpriced crap that costs $60. But decently priced like $4.99

The times when I used to erm "research" pirated software are long gone, so I naturally can't really say much about piracy differences between Mac and Windows. Back in 2002 when I switched after many years of Windows to the Mac, there was certainly far less.

It may be a question of price, though I also think that it could be a bout ease of buying. With the App Store people really only have to click twice to buy something. On Windows if you need a product as a solution to a problem, you need to go to different websites, compare their offers, everybody has a different payment provider, then you have to download and install. Really, I think that for many people pirating is not only cheaper but also far easier. And, since usually only good software is pirated, and not the crap, you don't even have to do so much research and cognitive burden to decide which offer to take. Other people already did that for you when they decided which one to pirate.

There're also studies though, where people find out that Mac users seem to be more inclined to pay for software. Maybe it's a question of initial price: When I pay a lot of money for a really good meal, I don't mind spending another 5 bucks for a great wine to accompany the taste of the meal. So if you spend quite some money for good (or perceived good, I don't want a Apple vs. others flamewar here) hardware, you might also want to spend a bit more on software.

3 eur for lunch...five bucks for a great wine?? where exactly is it that you live? i'd like to visit ;o)

Right now in M√ľnster, Germany. Being a small student city prices are really reasonable. In the student's cafe you can get a complete meal (example: pasta with chicken and yoghurt and salad) for 2.20 Eur. Add 70 cent for a water and you have a 3 eur meal. Now, they also have high quality wok food or special foods, these are usually 3 Eur or 3.50 eur :)

In most european countries, student's food is state subsidized, that explains the fantastic prices.

I believe it is the history of the Mac. Mac users want good software and since the number of Mac developers is equal to the ratio of Mac:Windows users you had fewer choices so users were incentivized to pay developers, or else development dried up. On the other hand since there are so many Windows users and Windows developers it's a perpetual race to the bottom.

For example, you have no shortage of Windows text editors that are free. For the Mac your only real option is TextWrangler.


Both your examples are paid apps, the OP talks abou free text edtors for Mac.

Ah, OK. I need to read slower.

VIM ftw

Even though I think that VIM is the best text editor (please no Emacs vs VIM now) it is not a good editor for the casual user and doesn't blend into Mac OS X too well. Most of my coworkers in my old company didn't touch it with a ten foot pole - even though they were programmers. They used TextMate or Sublime or Coda. I tried to sell them on VIM but in the end the learning curve was too high and they settled for something where everything was easily reachable through menus.

So I think VIM is not a good example of a good free Mac text editor.

> So I think VIM is not a good example of a good free Mac text editor.

You should qualify that with the demographics at your previous company. VIM (and Emacs) are perfectly good free editors for the Mac or any other platform.

Although I do like Vim, and MacVim, I agree, it just doesn't fit the Mac persona and I personally use TextMate.

There's also Aquamacs for emacs fans.

TPB isn't the right place to look for mac piracy. All pirates usually need is a serial number. You get the application by downloading the demo version. (There are very regularly updated serial databases available.)

Do you mind if I ask how you go about learning how to build Mac OS apps? I've seen a ton of tutorials for iOS but hardly anything for Mac OS.

Not much to add, the other comments are pretty good. I learned the most from Apple's sample source code, and from reading through open source projects on GitHub. Also, my former company send me to WWDC and the sessions are pretty insightful, too. If you pay for an Apple Developer membership, you get free access to these videos, and many of them are worth it. Though nowadays it's mostly iOS. In 2007 or 2008 there were lots of introductory Mac development presentations.

It's probably best to start with a small project and tackle one project after the other.

I also read this book which helped since it tackled all the basics that one needs to know for a full Mac app. It's german only though (http://www.amazon.de/Objective-C-Cocoa-Nachfolger-Tiger-XCod...) alternatively the aforementioned Hillegas (http://www.amazon.com/Objective-C-Programming-Ranch-Guide-Gu...) which is really good.

Are you interested in becoming a passive mentor for someone who has a decent grasp on core obj-c/cocoa concepts? I'm looking for someone I can bounce ideas and questions off of. I think InstaDesk is fantastic!

'Become an XCoder' free eBook that is a fairly basic introduction to Objective-C and Cocoa programming.

'From C++ to Objective-C' is also good eBook. http://pierre.chachatelier.fr/programmation/fichiers/cpp-obj...

I also bought 'Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X' http://www.amazon.com/Cocoa-Programming-Mac-3rd-Edition/dp/0...

Cocoa is quite different than anything I had programmed before. Once I wrapped my head around nibs, IBOutlets and IBActions it was fairly easy. Once I got going, the apple developer docs were all I needed, but learning I found easier to do from a book than the docs.

There is a ton of documentation and example applications on Apple's developer website. Most major parts of the API have example applications.


If you already know how to program then this is a pretty great resource.

There are also some introductory articles to help you get started. For example: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/Gener...

The books by Aaron Hillegass are good. I also like the Cocoa book by David Chisnall.

Would it be okay to share some information on sales channels for desktop apps? Could certainly use some help there.

Hey, I'm really concentrating mostly on the App Store. In addition to that I did a StackSocial sale once (https://stacksocial.com/) and apart from that whenever a blog or any guy asks for promo codes for a competition / contest / event to host on his blog / site, etc, I always give them redeem codes so that people that get the app for free may hopefully share their love by telling friends. Also, once I gave away 120 licenses for a big instagram photo contest in NY. That gave the app a lot of traction since all the people that got the license were really good photographers who used Instagram a lot. So they in return told many friends and tweeted about InstaDesk, etc.

But that's really it. I do have a non-app store licensed branch of InstaDesk that would work with a license file system, but I'm only keeping that alive in case the App Store becomes too draconian. Just so that I always have a way out. Though that's becoming more difficult now with the iCloud integration.

Hope that helps a bit.

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