Friends, as of about 6:30 last night, my apps have been submitted to Apple for review. Someday soon I'll post about (the highlights of) the long journey from the fateful day in late January when I decided to download Xcode to the point of finally submitting my binary.
But not today. Today, I'm going to talk about the idea.
It was a very simple idea.
Like many people, I am in the habit of making lists on paper - today's to do list, grocery lists, simple things like that - because it is fast and easy and I can cross things off when I finish them.
And crossing things off feels good.
It also looks good, in that it is really easy to tell at a glance what is done and what is still left to do.
But good old-fashioned paper and pencil mean I'm re-writing lots of the same things over and over again, and wandering around with dog-eared lint-collecting sticky notes.
Thinking there must be a solution to this problem, I looked through a bunch of apps but none of them were quite right. The grocery-list-specific apps often require you to pick from pre-installed items (tedious) to make your list. They also tend to have a lot of extra stuff cluttering up the screen. Like cute graphics, or places to enter the price of every banana you've ever bought (I do not care). 'To do' apps let you type your own thing, but are often more complex than I need or want. And pretty much all of them mark something "done" by putting a boring little checkmark over in the left margin. Or whisking your item off to a "completed" area.
I wanted to cross things off and revel in the satisfaction of having accomplished something.
And then I thought to myself, This idea is pretty simple. And people keep saying programming for iOS* isn't too hard. And you took, what? 5?... 6?... 10(?) courses in Computer Science. Why not try writing it yourself?
*(that's the operating system that runs iPhone, iPod, and iPad)
As Mr. Right said last night, after sipping a celebratory beer and staring into space for a few moments, "Yeah, this has really taken something out of us." (He'd already said, "Congratulations!" and "I'm really proud of you!" before pouring the beer.)
And as I kept saying, with a kind of manic wide-eyed grin, "I can't believe I actually did it!" and, "That was SO HARD!!!"
And that, my friends, is (I think) the reason this "simple" app did not yet exist. Because it SEEMS simple, but isn't.
There are infinite perfectly nice apps you can build with Apple's extensive provided code modules (difficult enough, I might add, for the total beginner), kind of like there are infinite perfectly nice constructions you can build with the extensive variety of manufactured Lego bricks. But then there are some things that Lego bricks just won't do and you're going to have to get out the hack saw or the blow torch or, as a last resort, build a mold and pour your own plastic.
And if you've only kind of dabbled in Legos previously and really haven't much handled a hack saw or a blow torch, nor ever tried molding your own plastic... it's going to be REALLY hard. And messy.
The truth is, it's often NOT simple to make any app SEEM simple to the user. I worked really hard to make this one as intuitive as possible. So, you can just tap the screen and start typing. Hit "Next" where "Enter" usually is on the keyboard and start typing the next item. That kind of thing - the kind of thing I'm pretty sure you would not notice without me telling you.
But, enough rambling for today. As a reward for all your patience with me, YOU, my dear loyal readers, are the first to see the official description of Cross It Off! and some screen shots. You can't buy it yet, but I really really hope you will be able to within a week or two (it's going to be $0.99, but if that's too much for you, there's also a free version, and I'll be running a contest once it's released with a free download as a prize! Woo hoo! 99 cent prizes!).
Ultimately, don't worry, you will DEFINITELY be hearing from me as soon as it goes up for sale.
(And if, instead, I come back to you in a few days or weeks and tell you my app has been rejected due to an unknown crash that I cannot for the life of me find the source of or some other painful calamity, please say nice comforting things to me.)
Left to right: A sectioned list (you don't have to use sections, though, if you don't want to), a list in editing mode (for deleting and rearranging items, you can edit the text from the normal screen), the screen for deleting and rearranging whole sections, and the main menu list of all your lists (you can edit the titles by tapping on them, view the list itself by touching the blue arrow).
Also, that icon at the top? That's mine. I designed it. With Illustrator. It was hard. I love it. (Mr. Right suggested the pencil concept, to be fair, and kept reminding me to put in a shadow, which I kept forgetting.)
And the icons across the bottom in the second screen shot? (I know they're hard to see at this size.) Those are mine, too. And I think I'll be writing about them here later this week.