In my prior two posts, I wrote about designing “The Tao of Cupcake” iPhone app, using Mockapp’s PowerPoint templates.
As I said previously, having long ago let my “coding saw” get a little dull – other than the occasional few lines of HTML or Excel macro – I had no interest in going beyond the design into programming, testing, and submitting the app for the iTunes store.
No…for purposes of this experiment, I was satisfied with some quick scanning of app dev and hosting options. There are plenty.
However, back to the whole focus of this series of posts – the importance of design – you have to line up the app that you want with the production options. When you do that, the number of choices may get smaller quickly, especially if you have a tight budget.
For example, while Cupcake is a fairly simple app from a display perspective, my concept of how it would work involved shaking the iPhone (comparable to shaking your Magic Eight Ball), to trigger the “answer” sequence to the question.
In order for this to work, there would need to be at least two little events/actions that would have to be in the app: one for motion detection and a second one, triggered by the motion, for a random number generator providing a result that would be interpreted as one of three responses by Cupcake:
Yes – random number divided by 3, with a 0 remainder
No – random number divided by 3, with remainder 1
Perhaps, Maybe, or Indecisive Cupcake – random number / 3, remainder 2
I may have missed it in my admittedly quick scan of interweb articles about app hosting options, but those two functions were not part of the templated services offered by most providers. Instead, what you more commonly get for the quick DIY apps are mostly standard picture and text content, with common lists and functions (for example, dialing and maps+directions), like those by Appbreeder for example. Good stuff, for sure. But, not for Cupcake.
So, while I chose a 1st-draft design as my stopping point, I’ll admit I did go with tiny step further with my faux app. Since I had the Cupcake mock-up looking like I wanted, I had to get it over to my iPhone, just so I could see what it looked like on a live device and show a my kids.
After a bit of searching for iPhone document readers, I settled on using a free app called FileApp by a group called DigiDNA. I’ll have to confess that I was a bit freaked out from a security perspective about giving an app – whose developer I knew nothing about – the ability to wirelessly connect, using a pre-set IP address to my laptop’s file directory.
Also, although the FileApp file transfer worked fairly effortlessly, the PowerPoint mock-up itself doesn’t render properly in FileApp. The main problem seems to be that certain formatting gets lost or over-ridden (like text that is centered in the original gets left-justified in the FileApp rendered file) and certain objects display incorrectly.
But, for my experimentation purposes, it wasn’t worth investing more time in searching for a better rendering, free app, like I would have if I were demo’ing the end result for a customer.
So, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed The Tao of Cupcake and picked up a few helpful tips along the way. As always, we’d love any feedback or additional sources of note.