Publishing Apps on Google Play Versus Apple App Store

A Rage Comics Infographic

This is why, when you’re crossing the great platform divide and producing both iOS and Android versions of your app, you should trial run on Google Play first. Then, when all the kinks are worked out, you can submit it to the time-consuming Apple process. We find that if you need to make revisions to the app after publishing, the time involved in the Apple process adds up.

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publishing apps on google play versus apple itunes - a rage comics infographicPublishing an App on Google Play Versus the Apple App Store: a Rage Cartoon Infographic by your friends at Sherprog

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Cover of Frog and Toad Together

We’ve had a long, tiring, but remarkable, couple of weeks in our corner of the microISV universe. I feel as if I am buried in ToDo lists, beginning with that perpetual task: update ToDo lists.

Does anyone else have fond memories of reading Frog and Toad Together to your children or, since it’s been around long enough, having it read to you? All the Frog and Toad books were a treat. But Together’s story The List about Frog’s day being totally controlled by his ToDo list also had a sort of resonating bite for me.

Anyway, it’s too easy to get caught up in the un-done and the not-done-quite-well-enough, which will be always with us. I’m here this Friday afternoon, instead, to celebrate real accomplishment. The ToDo lists can wait till tomorrow.

The RNFamily of apps

Yesterday, Hokan and I finally published the Android version of PasswordRN. It had been hung up on little finishing touches: a bit more testing and tweaking, a few screenshots, getting the merchant account set up right so we can receive payments. There was really no reason not to push it out the door. And last night, in the middle of the night, the very first copy was purchased and downloaded. What a thrill. And a responsibility.

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Your application is Ready for Sale

An email from Apple with the above subject line was waiting for me when I got back to work on Friday after spending most of the day at the WyBiotech conference.  PasswordRN is live in the iTunes store!

The conference was way off topic for me but fascinating (especially Randy Lewis’s talk on spider silk  and goats and cotton seeds, oh my!) and a good time that I got to spend with daughter Becky who is in town for a few weeks between school terms.  I do wish the Wyoming bio-tech industry all the luck in the world.  But I’m going to stick with software and count my blessings as a microISV.  There’s really no such thing as a viable  microBiotech company — although you clearly can do quite a bit of early work as a virtual company before you get to the scaling-up, need-VC-funds stage.

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When total submission is a huge triumph

At last -- PasswordRN is submitted!

I have spent all day, literally, working on getting the first version of  PasswordRN submitted for app review in iTunes Connect (the developer’s side of the iTunes marketplace).  Sheesh.  Talk about  a process that is TOO HARD!

The morning wasn’t bad.  I wanted to re-organize the initial master password screen.  I thought it would be friendlier to have both password text boxes high enough that you could type in both with the same keyboard instance and not have to hit done after the first entry and bring up the keyboard again before you could type the confirming version.  So I did that and also added a bit more instruction text.  Nothing is easy for me on a Mac, but I knew what I was after and the design environment is just enough like Visual Studio that I could git’er done.

I used that exercise as a way to work through my version numbering scheme and be sure that updating the app didn’t destroy the old password list (kind of important).  At least as sure as anyone can be given that you can only test via ad hoc provisioning and not via the iTunes store.  I HATE that you can’t really test what you are going to release or test installing/updating what customers are going to install/update.  How totally contrary to all good software development practice.

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Icons and software and phones, oh my!

I’ve fallen down on my commitment (to myself) to post about once a week.  But better to have a busy and productive three weeks and not quite get them narrated than to write a lot and get little done.

Just before the middle of June, I contacted a local graphic designer, Michelle Miller of Sheridan Design to get the ball rolling on some icons for the phone apps and web sites.  However, Michelle isn’t really a “get the ball rolling” sort of person; she’s much more of the “git’er done” type.  With a flurry of emails back and forth and in less than five days start to finish,  I suddenly had a whole suite of logos  for the ChecklistRN website, the PasswordRN phone apps, and the CalculatorRN webapp that Hokan is developing.  I’m delighted with the results and the work fit inside the budget numbers I initially laid out for Michelle.  I’d like to think that the fact that I had a very clear idea of what I needed and am a decisive and appreciative customer had something to do with the speed of the project.  But, frankly, as far as I can tell, Michelle is just plain good at what she does.  You can see one example of her work in action at the top of the ChecklistRN blog.

About a week ago, Sara delivered her first batch of Android enhancements, fleshing out the security features for the master password and the system passwords.  I haven’t had much chance to test them yet.  But, this afternoon, our Android Developer Phone walked in the door — so I think I’ll combine testing her new features with seeing my own code run on a real phone for the first time.  That experience will be both cool and humbling (UI not being my forte).

(For anyone paying attention to the details, I did get Mercurial and BitBucket working after my last post although I temporarily abandoned the Eclipse plugin and went to TortoiseHG which worked out of the box and very intuitively.  So the Android sources ARE checked in to a central repository although I’ve just been getting zip files from Sara, merging her code with my own locally,  and checking in from here.  We aren’t quite up to speed on the D word in Distributed Version Control yet :-}.  But the BitBucket wiki that comes with my account has already proved handy for documenting some process things for Sara, so I’m quite pleased with that. )

The word from Laramie on the iPhone version of PasswordRN is also all positive; I’m supposed to see an initial version running on an iPod near me within the week.  It will be an incredible experience to sit at a table with the Android phone on one side and the iPod on the other and walk the same app through its paces on both.

Speaking of which, Mark agreed to a) help with some competitive analysis and b) get up to sped to do QA for our own apps.  He’s been running one of the popular iThingy password managers, which shall remain nameless for the moment,  and HE HATES IT.  Not the app, itself, so much, although he has found some quirky things about it.  But the whole iPod app-running experience.  The screen is small.  The touch screen is, in his words, “just not made for a hand with calluses on it.”  It’s not as if he has huge hands but he finds typing on the virtual keyboard is a painstaking, error prone experience.  We’ve bought him a stylus and we’ll see if that helps.  Plus, more instructive for me, there are some definite usability features that seem obvious to him — features for the over-forty crowd but also frankly for anyone in poor light or under stressful conditions.  I fear that simplicity and BIG FONTS may not be very Apple-UI-guidelines-compliant but I think they could be very much appreciated by folks trying to use a phone to help them get real work done.