Looking back on my app development journey

Looking back on my app development journey

In the last 12 years, I have been on a journey that I never actually thought possible: the journey to create software. It all started when I was just 10 years old. I went to my dad and asked how to make a website. His response was to look up how to make a website and go from there, so I did. And about an hour later, I made my first website. That was 2011, and I had an explosion of websites over the next two years, making all sorts of random websites for people, and discovering what it truly means to create software in that sense. I wasn’t writing code, but there was this thing called HTML that the websites used, and it didn’t seem all that complicated.

As time went on, I continued making websites for other people, helping them to not only have a successful online presence, but also to give them an identity, and to help fulfill their dreams. I even made several iterations of my own website, with each one reflecting new technologies, ideas, and simplicity that I desired for my own website. However, website development wasn’t the only thing that I worked on over the last 12 years, as most of my website development didn’t involve writing much code.

In 2014, Apple released the Swift programming language as a successor to Objective-C, and in doing so, opened the floodgates for a new era of software development on Apple’s platforms. This new language was fast, secure, easy to learn, and has been embraced by app developers, server developers, web developers, and those who want to learn how to code. I have seen Swift used for websites, servers, apps, and scripts, and it is simply amazing to think that this language is getting around to its tenth birthday. Quite frankly, I did not think that this language would contribute to my overall success in the future, but when I saw the language, I knew that this was something I needed to learn.

It’s hard to understand what the future holds when we embark on learning something new, but I definitely knew that there was a plan for this, and that this plan would take many years to come to fruition. As I write this post, I’ve had time to reflect on the fact that I have not only produced an app written 100% in this language, but I’ve written multiple apps written in this language. Sure, only one of those actually shows up on the App Store at the time of this post’s publication, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that since I started to really embrace Swift as a programming language, I haven’t stopped working with it. I know over a dozen programming, scripting, and mark up languages, but the one that has made the greatest impact to date is Swift.

My understanding of Swift helped me to land a very successful internship, it helped me to receive a full-time job offer from the internship, and though I am not currently at that job due to a slight change in plans, I can say with upmost certainty that my work in Swift is not done, and I will continue to work with this language as long as it is around and relevant for software engineering.

If you are not familiar with the mobile app development process, especially for Apple’s platforms, there is a set of guidelines that each developer must adhere to when publishing an app. These guidelines exist not only for the protection of end users, but also for the protection of developers and to establish minimum security standards. Typically, when an app is published for the first time, it is rejected for noncompliance with at least one of the guidelines, and is why I am still a bit shocked to be writing this with an app that was approved by App Store Review without any initial rejection.

The app, called Memorare, is distinct enough from similar apps on the App Store, not to mention the fact that I adhered to Apple’s design principles as best as possible throughout the entire development process, but even then, I am surprised that I didn’t even have one negative piece of feedback or something that needed to be changed. There was also a part of me that thought the app would be rejected because of how countercultural it is for the post-Christian society we live in. People have absolutely loved the app so far, and this is only the beginning. Additionally, the 1.1.0 release came out last week, and the reception has been great so far!

Looking towards the future, I plan on really stretching my abilities as a developer with this app and other apps that I have worked on in the past. Most of those apps do not exist on the App Store because they ended up in development hell, but I nonetheless still desire to see them on the App Store, and whether I end up publishing all of them or some of them, these are projects that I care about and hope to see when I type in my name on the App Store someday.

I am passionate about creating software for people not because I want to make a ton of money, nor because I want to be the center of their attention, but because I truly believe that people’s lives can be positively impacted with the power of software. We live in a time where so many people distrust news, media, and even software. The good news is that writing software isn’t about sitting in a dark basement drinking 20 cups of coffee for days on end, but instead is about communicating with users, being open with them, and responding to feedback, ideas, and suggestions. After all, if we are to actually write code that helps people, it seems fairly obvious that it should actually help them.

My goal is for most of my applications on the App Store to be free with either the option to subscribe, donate, or otherwise contribute to the success of the app in the future, or if it is a paid app, keep the app as inexpensive as possible. I do not currently expect all of my revenue to come from building apps on the App Store, but for all of the cups of coffee, late nights, grades that suffered, and friends and family who had to toil through hearing my various bugs over time, it is a nice way to see the value of all the time spent on development.

I can’t wait to see what 2024 will end up looking like, and if you are someone who uses any app I developed and released publicly, the greatest way you can support future development is by sharing the app with others. Thank you so much for your support!