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So the app that I have been blogging about for some time now has finally been released – it’s called My Day Todos an iOS app and you can download it from the app store. This post this post won’t be about me presenting a solution to a problem. I will just be talking about what the entire experience of releasing was like.

What was iOS App Store review like?

So I had heard heaps(lots) of stuff about how tough the app store review process is, so I was obviously a bit wary of it, so I just wanted to see how that process turns out to be for my app. So after I submitted the first build for review, I immediately a found a bug in the app, which I fixed however I did not remove that build from the review process just so I can see if the app gets rejected for any reason. What was the bug? ahhh, it was a really annoying bug and it was only there because, I had not covered all test cases when the app is first installed on a device. This was mainly because I had been using the app for months before submitting it for review. Anyway, that build was approved to be released and I was like hmmm, wow this is awesome, so the first build I ever to be submitted to the app store has no issues with the review process. However I did not release that build, because I wanted to fix that bug I mentioned before I release the app. So I cancelled the release on iTunesConnect and submitted a version which did not have the bug. This build too was approved to be released and I released this version, however I did not tell anyone about this, just yet.

The reason I did not tell everyone about it is because I did not feel the app was very presentable at this point i.e. it did not do a really good job of educating it’s users how to use it’s various features. So I wanted to provide some form of tutorial in the app that can show users how to use the app before I start promoting it. So it took me a little extra to be able to achieve that.

So what sort of help does the app provide to it’s users?

At this point, the app provides links to various YouTube videos of how to use different areas of the app. So you can think of it as video tutorials, and this is how I… yes I, made them

  1. Hold the camera in my left hand and hold my iPhone in my right hand and record myself using the app
  2. Transfer that video to my mac
  3. Use iMovie to edit the video – this would involve removing unnecessary frames and adding a text overlay i.e. text appearing on certain frames to explain what is happening in the video. My iMovie skills were the most advanced when I made the video of how to set and configure todos in the app.
  4. Then export the mp4 file and upload it to YouTube
  5. Then the last step was to add clickable links in the app – at this stage I have added a bunch of buttons in the app, clicking on which would open the YouTube video in mobile safari
Seriously Step 2 to 4 were video editing and when I was doing it, I totally asked myself, “this is what I signed up for, didn’t I? when I wanted to start my own thing” and I also tweeted something at the time, if you can’t open the link this is what the Tweet was,
“Being an #indiedev feels like being dropped behind enemy lines without many weapons and asked to find ways to defend yourself and survive”

Anyway despite all that imaginative and thoughtful distractions, I did get to the point of finishing all 5 steps and releasing the app and making an app website. The website was something that I made in a hurry so it something that I will keep improving on, but I like the name, it is so simple and easy to remember: mydaytodos.com

App Store review times

So like I mentioned, 3 of my builds have gone through the review process and all of them were approved and the review times were
  1. Build 1: 7 days
  2. Build 2: 8 days
  3. Build 3: 6 days
So at least for this app, I did not have any problems with the App Store review process and part of the reason maybe because I had read that seriously long document i.e. app store review guidelines, quite thoroughly.

App roadmap

I have a bunch of things planned for this app finishing all of it will take me a couple of months, things like,
  1. Try to get some user perspective: So with this what I am after is just to get some feedback from normal users i.e. people who are not overly technical and see how the react to the app. As I have mentioned here, one of my main goals with this app is to reach a large audience across the world by providing an easy to use, more obvious user interface. So how will I find people willing to help me out with this? Well once I have a proper idea of it, I will write about it. 
  2. Add better onboarding: I have thought of a nice way of proving in-app tutorial to users so they can learn how to use the app
  3. Improve the app landing page: So this is what the app website looks like right now and well it could look a bit better i.e. less text heavy and maybe with a bunch of images or moving animations or so.
  4. A free version of the app: I will give this some thought, but the idea is to take out a few features from the paid version and make a free version such that I do not eliminate the essence of the app from the free version.
  5. Research ways of marketing a paid app: This is uncharted territory for me, so should be fun!
  6. Unused features: So I had to eliminate a lot of features from the app during the  course of my development because I wanted to release something complete rather than release something with a ton of cool but not fully tested features. 

Conclusion

All in all getting to the point of releasing the app was a fun journey and I am looking forward to begin work on some of the things on the app roadmap. Lastly, I will be talking about my app and how I used Ionic framework at the this meetup on Sept 28.


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