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Show HN: My 1st mobile app- A parasitic,anonymous,remixable img app for android
31 points by daveganly on July 15, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

Hi, this is Yarrly - my first android app, backed up server side by a mongo & node.js backend. It’s a two-panel image generator, and quite a fun experiment in a no-login (‘anonymous’) app. You generate two panel images using photos or gallery pics, and add text, then it’s uploaded to Yarrly.com - creating an instagram-like link.

For example you create http://yarrly.com/y/4hhs6ryyq73da533d, then android intents mean that if you open that link on a device that has Yarrly, you can view the image, but then also remix it. Remixing downloads the component parts of the yarrly, allowing the new user to edit them, add new images or text, and upload again. This means you can create chains, like this: http://yarrly.com/c/4hhs6ryyq73da533d

So part of the interesting idea is that it’s anonymous, so the links are as private as you make them. Share the link on email, and you can have a nice two way conversation with a friend. Share it on twitter, and anyone who finds the link can remix your Yarrly. That’s what I mean by ‘parasitic’ - it doesn’t have any concept of users, friends or anything else; it relies on being shared on other platforms to spread.

Why was it made?

I needed to learn mobile development and android seemed a bigger challenge than iOS - also a fun challenge to try something properly in nodejs and mongo - my last project (http://vvx.io/) was a ruby/rails web app sitting on postgresql.

Why no holo theme?

Meh, wanted to do something more unique and playful. This is an experiment more than anything, so why not pirate theme?

Who made it?

I did the code, my girlfriend came up with the idea and the fantastic design. Everything was arrived at through experimentation and discussion.

Thanks for the comments and upvotes. We have just had a review on TechCrunch which, we think, is very flattering http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/18/yarrly/

Really nice execution.

Are you able to give a bit more detail on your backend stack and the reasons for your choice or technologies?

Will this stay Android only or are you planning on porting it?

Sure! This started as a learning exercise, so to get the maximum learning, CHOOSE WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW AT ALL. (No really.)

So Android, (full disclosure: I've done a bit of Java, I'd rate myself as not beginner but nowhere near experienced). Android is hard to develop well for, it's activity lifecycle took a long time to get my head around, and once I hit real-world testing with different devices it was just a roller-coaster of debugging that was highly, highly challenging. Also, everyone is doing things iOS first, and that's boring. We wanted to give Android users an awesome, fun, show your friends app that was hilarious, silly and pushed things forward, even just a little.

Nodejs - I'd wanted to do something in anger with node for ages, and this was the perfect opportunity. Also no proper nosql experience, so mongo!

Full disclosure: It's on top of heroku, to save time.

Id like to say there were more deep seated reasons, but they are the most honest - try something you don't know, then just focus focus focus until you nail it.

Love to port it to iOS, of course - but that's a whole NEW learning experience. Let's see how we do android first!

Android more difficult than iOS - really? Having learned Android first, I am currently struggling to pick up Objective C. Any suggestions?

Hi, I was developing for Android first and am now doing iOS. I do think that Android is a bigger challenge than iOS, primarily because you have to cater to many different screen sizes. Sure, you have the iPhone 5 which is taller than the other iPhones, but it's more about "clipping" the content for the smaller ones rather than "scaling" the UI up or down for a screen size and Android OS version. It's also heaven how you can have arrays and dictionaries (maps in Java) that contain different data types in Objective-C, even blocks of executable code!

I used to do just Java and knew no C or C++. Below are the references that best helped me to understand the programming philosophy of Objective-C (it's easy to learn the syntax, but why code is being written a certain way is different).

Programming in Objective-C (5th Edition) by Stephen Kochan http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/032188728X

CS193P: Developing Apps for iPhone and iPad (Stanford, via iTunes U) https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/coding-together-developin...

Are you trying to learn Objective-C alone or learn Objective-C and also how to build an iOS app? I know Apple has a ton of resources (videos, documentation, sample code) for almost everything you can do on iOS.

Nice work!

Do you generate the images in the app and upload it to your servers or on your server & download the image to the app?

Generated in-app, and uploaded.

The UI looks fantastic. Did you do all the design(i.e images/logos and etc) yourself?

Thanks! All the UI elements were made by my own hand/mouse. It took a while, and a lot of iterations until we had something we were happy with. However, after only dabbling in design before, I'm now totally hooked on making icons, cartoons and microinteractions. Already started work on another illustration project.

Really nice looking UI. I'll have a play with it in a bit. Good work!

Thanks! (I made the graphics) I'm really proud of the wheel UI which makes sure any action you might want to take is in one megabutton. Micro interactions are something I get huge kicks from too so check out the like the wheel rotating on upload, and the loading spinner; if you look closely they're sharks swimming in circles. This keeps me endlessly amused.

brilliant idea and perfect execution. Consider putting "Made by Yarrly" text under Yars( I would like to call pictures as Yars) and there could be a paid option to remove it.

Haha! Nice monetisation idea! We just have 'Yarrly.com' - going for high viral-coefficient first, but not going to overpower people's output with advertising/watermarking --> USER FIRST! ...but we'll keep it in mind!

Looks neat. Kinda reminds me of Rando.

We love Rando. The humour UsTwo put into the design makes it really human, something we hope to achieve too. The difference here is that Yarrly doesn't distribute your image for you; that's down to you sharing it. Plus you can remix and form chains, creating less of a snapchat/rando immediacy and more of an image message board effect.

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