7th January 2020

I’ve been talking about this for a few years, but refining my App Store offerings has always been a target of mine. And today I’m taking another bit of action on that.

Which means my list of 8 products on the respective App Stores will go from 8 down to 5, by retiring Pretty Regular Expressions for macOS and iOS, and Tap Gap:

  • Text Case iOS/iPadOS
  • Text Case macOS
  • Pixels Sticker Pack (iMessage Sticker Pack)
  • SOLID – Wallpaper Generator
  • Qwiki
  • Pretty Regular Expressions iOS
  • Pretty Regular Expressions macOS
  • Tap Gap – Fast Paced Accuracy Game

The reasons behind the three of them are slightly different but are essentially due to a lack of focus from myself, and a desire to not have any lingering apps anymore. Especially if I feel like they’re offering a substandard experience.

Pretty Regular Expressions is an app that is arguably still useful, but I haven’t used it myself in quite some time, and it’s fallen way behind its competitors on both platforms. And it’s just in a good state, it hasn’t really been adapted to the new devices over the years, and there’s tons of work needed to bring it back to a good level. There’s still a chance that I’ll revive this in the future, as I plan on working on a fresh app this year, but I can’t make any promises.

And for Tap Gap, this is a really simple game that I made while at university. It’s wasn’t ever a great game, and it was last updated December 2016, so I’m not even sure it works on the new devices. That was an easy decision.

There’s also question marks over my solid colour wallpaper app, SOLID, and my Wikipedia Menu Bar app for Mac, Qwiki. However, these still function correctly and attract new users.

That leaves me with arguably one active product, Text Case, since the macOS app is built with Catalyst, meaning it’s essentially one codebase. And three passive products with the sticker pack, Qwiki, and SOLID.

23rd December 2018

Yet again, I’m getting to a point where I think the number of projects that I have active, is getting too high. I had similar thoughts last year, when I wrote an article titled “My App Store Clear-out”. I explained how some projects weren’t getting any time, some we’re hard to maintain, and others were just stale.

Back then, I reduced my number of projects to 5:

  • Hydrate – A work in progress iOS app to track water intake.
  • Qwiki – A small Mac menu bar utility for searching and browsing Wikipedia.
  • Pretty Regular Expressions – An app to test regular expressions in a simple UI, for iOS and macOS.
  • Tap Gap – A very simple arcade game for iOS, that was made free, as no further work is going to be done on it. But there were still people downloading it.
  • Pixels Sticker Pack – An iMessage sticker pack that features a small amount of pixel art.

In the year since I wrote that, I’ve given up on Hydrate, and developed two new applications – Text Case, and SOLID. Text Case being the iOS utility to format text, and SOLID being another utility to create single colour wallpapers on iOS.

That leaves me with this:

  • Qwiki
  • Pretty Regular Expressions
  • Tap Gap
  • Pixels Sticker Pack
  • Text Case
  • SOLID

I’d very much like to get that down 4 or 5, with 5 being an ideal maximum. However, I would like to start a new project next year, so I should restrict myself to 4.

Of course, I will keep on the latest apps, which fills out one half. But there’s tough decisions to be made on the rest. Tap Gap is certain to be pulled, that’s already decided. But the future of Qwiki and Pretty Regular Expressions are currently unknown to me. I like both of them, and I think they’re good apps. But I just need to work out if they are realistically going to get any updates in the future.

So this is where I am right now:

  1. Text Case
  2. SOLID
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. 2019 Project

I don’t want to annoy users by making a product unavailable, or officially cancelling all future updates, but most of them have been growing stale anyway. And I think I’d rather sell a limited amount of products that get regular attention, rather than a whole bunch of them that are near-to-never updated.

24th July 2018

Matt Birchler:

…if you want the best Google software, iOS is really the place to be.

That sounds crazy, and maybe for some people it is, but as someone who relies heavily on Google’s software in both my personal and professional life, iOS has been a great platform for getting everything done that I need to do. Not only that, but a shocking amount of Google apps are updated first on iOS or are totally exclusive to iOS for months before going to Android. And with new apps like Files and updates to Siri intents, Google’s apps can interact more closely with iOS than they could in earlier versions of iOS.

I can’t say I’m well versed in the Android ecosystem, but I am aware of it. I pay attention to Google I/O announcements, and of course, there’s an Android developer at work so I have at least some perspective.

The only, or at least the biggest issue I can determine, is the obvious levels of fragmentation. This used to be the argument of app design, and quality, where iPhones used to be just the one size, and Android already had loads of variety.

The fragmentation I think causes these problems is the multiple Android vendors and mobile networks, that introduce needless bottlenecks to the whole platform. Whether it’s a small update that will get ignored by certain manufacturers or a major release which will take extra time for a company like Samsung (just picking one at random) to add their software on top, before shipping it to consumers. I just don’t think the wide varieties of Android phones combine to make a stable ecosystem.

That’s a whole lot different with iOS though because there’s less device variety, a higher percentage of users are on the latest version of the OS, and the App Store is a widely known success. I think this is why Google do so well. Because they can leave the foundation work to Apple, and that leaves them with just the software. And I can admit they can make pretty good software.