This is what it means to be Amazon’s Free App of the Day

This is what it means to be Amazon’s Free App of the Day

When we released Distant Suns on the Kindle over a year ago, one of my hopes was that it would be selected as Amazon’s Free App of the Day. And suddenly a couple of months ago I was contacted by Amazon and told that they wanted precisely that and to expect between 75K to 100K downloads! In theory it would generate thousands of new users who would hopefully show their friends Distant Suns and inspire future purchases later on. After...

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Lessons Learned 2: Stay away from “green buttons”

Lessons Learned 2: Stay away from “green buttons”

“Green buttons?” you say? Eh? I was working on my own product, Distant Suns for Windows, and thought it would be cool to have some green, retro-type of buttons instead of the usual ugly Windows controls. So I spent about a day crafting some little green buttons only to realize that in the time spent making one window slightly cooler, I could have spent adding a real new feature or squash some real bugs. In other words: I wasted time doing cool...

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Renaissance 2013: The iOS App Maker’s Conference

Renaissance 2013: The iOS App Maker’s Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of attending version 1.0 of a new kind of iOS developer’s conference, Renaissance: The Art and Science of Apps. Billed as “the iOS app maker’s conference,” it spanned three days from Monday to Wednesday at the University of California, San Francisco. What made Renaissance so special is that it combined engineering (of course) with artistry and the business of being an app maker. We knew this was going to be...

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iPhone programming 101, part five

…Or I have an awesome app! But now what?? Two years ago last month, I uploaded my first app to Apple for review. About 20 hours later I received that magical email saying “Your application has been approved for sale.” And the latest version of my once-Amiga/Mac/PC application was now available to millions of potential customers. And then I got my first sales, 8 downloads that day. Wow! So what is the actual process of finishing up your...

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iPhone Programming 101, part Four: Designing your app

So now you know a little about the toolset and the language Objective-C. Trouble is, that is just the beginning. It is as if you have a hammer, a saw, the book “House Building for Dummies,” and maybe even an idea of what you want the final house to look like, while facing an empty lot. And as Robert Redford’s character said at the end of the film, The Candidate upon winning a hotly contested election: “Now what?” Designing a major piece of...

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iPhone Programming 101, part Three: Languages

Another in a very occasional series of columns covering the craft of programming and what it takes to create one of those app things. Even though this article is about computer languages it is not meant at all to teach one how to “speak” in any of these languages, for that is light-years beyond the scope of this article. A computer program is likened to a recipe. A recipe with potentially millions of steps that could come crashing down in a...

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