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      - coding for mobile iphone/android apps
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atila
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  Date Posted #1 Monday, October 28, 2013 08:01:59 PM   

So I am finishing up the design for a mobile app and just barely getting into sketching out the app wireframes.

After initial sketches, we will probably hire someone to do a more detailed wireframe for us... but after that, I want to get the prototype made.

My question is when I go to a coder/programmer/etc what requirements are they going to be looking for from me? For example, do they want me to address possible ways the app can be abused so they can code some rules for that? Do they need to be provided with a 5 year plan so they leave "room" for future additions to the program? Outside of design and exactly how I want every button/screen to work, what additional information would they want from me? Do they want me to explain how I see the prototype working in 5 years or just how I envision it working right now? I wish my partner or I had some background in this, but hopefully we can get more familiar as the process continues.

I'm reaching out in a few places, but I remember there were some smart tech savvy people here, so I figured why not ask.
 
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  Date Posted #2 Monday, October 28, 2013 09:09:30 PM   

Quora(.com) would probably be an excellent site to ask this type of question on (from answers to other questions I've seen).

The tough part to your question is that the answer to most of your questions will be, "It depends." It depends because each firm, or individual sole-developer, all have different ways of doing (and processing) their work. Different workflows breed different types of requests from the client. Some may ask you to create a story to explain how the app will be used; some may create the story for you and ask if it's correct. Some may not do the story thing at all - some may just put their head down and start coding with whatever you give them and come back up for air once it's completed, to whatever specification they thought it would need. (Note: This is, by far, a wholly incomplete list of possibilities.)

You'll probably want a company that can walk you through the process and keep you informed. Many companies may ask for half of their rate up front with the remaining half when deliverables are provided. Some may request payments incrementally as progress is made, some may not request anything until the end. Many will not be able to give you a rate until they've gone over the project in quite a bit of detail during a, or a few, meetings. Some companies may even reject your project. Just be aware/prepared.

So...unfortunately, with software development, there isn't really any set standard on what to expect, or how things are run. It really just boils down to, "Do you feel comfortable working with this company?" and vice-versa. Be aware that they can fire you as a client too. ;)

I don't have a whole lot of experience (note: any) working in a firm or with clients since I work for an organization that doesn't deal in direct clientele, I can only guess from what I've heard of other people that I associate/network with who do.

The only thing that I can most likely say about what they won't care about would be a 5-year plan...unless you think development (or ongoing maintenance) will take 5 years, then they might. 
Captain Tightpants
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  Date Posted #3 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 05:11:15 AM   

I'm a little unsure on what you mean by those questions.

If you mean "Will they need these things": Usually No. If you don't care, they don't care. They'll just try to make sure it's not an embarrassment to have their name on it :)

If you mean "Will they handle these things for me": It depends. The more information you can give the better. Especially the 5-year plan if you have one. It's horrible trying to add functionality you weren't expecting. But if you only have a rough idea, at least some companies will work with you to flesh it out.



Then again, I've mostly worked for crappy companies so what do I know :) 
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  Date Posted #4 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 07:49:40 AM   

he's trying to make a mobile app so he can quickly activate their sleeper cell 
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Godsend
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  Date Posted #5 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 09:28:13 AM   

Phil, do you really think a 5-year plan would be something they'd be interested in? That sounds like scope creep and premature optimization to me.

Perhaps if the intention is to develop this further, but this is only a first stage to determine appeal, then discussion future goals would be good. Curious what you think about that, Phil. 
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  Date Posted #6 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 09:52:05 AM   

philek is 2 busy playing worms 
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  Date Posted #7 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:35:11 AM   

Best game ever. 
Captain Tightpants
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  Date Posted #8 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:44:26 AM   

actually.. watching Pacific Rim (bleh) at work.


Maybe I'm not understanding the "5-year plan". I thought it would be a rough outline of future goals. What functionality he would see added. How the app would evolve if it proved popular.

Or is that a more in-depth document outlining specific goals, milestones and deadlines?


Edit:
I also realized that you might mean that if he gives them all his ideas that might be defining the scope. So then any later ideas aside from that would be scope creep. However, trying to work without a decently defined scope kinda sucks. Just trying to make code expandable without any idea what that might mean never seems to work for me. Then again, I'm pretty noob.
It also depends on what he means by prototype. Is it just going to be a quick and dirty POC, later to be discarded and redone properly. Or does he want them to do it right from the start.


PS.
Worms rock. Picked up Reloaded on the humblebundle. Kinda disappointing tho... Armageddon FTW. 
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  Date Posted #9 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:43:52 PM   

I'll play worms with u 
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  Date Posted #10 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 01:30:45 PM   

I can dust off my PC and play Worms...finding a free time we could all play is the hard part. 
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  Date Posted #11 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 03:30:58 PM   

Realm you need to get back to ur roots and start gaming OK. Everything else is second hat. 
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  Date Posted #12 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 03:50:21 PM   

Screw you, women come before gaming. .....often. ;) BADABING! 
atila
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USA
  Date Posted #13 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 08:01:01 PM   

Thank you Realm and Phil - appreciate the comments and advice.

What I meant by 5 year plan is exactly what Phil mentioned - features added down the line. My idea/hope for the prototype is to get out the basics of how the app will work and then in the very near future - within 1 year - introduce a few secondary but important features into the app. I suppose it would be important to give them these ideas immediately so they can see how they would work around it or if it's something that needs more fleshing out etc.

Also, about my questions for the developers, let me give an example:

If I'm writing an app that is based around leaving mobile tips about an business/place, and I don't want the user to be allowed to leave more than 1 tip in 5 minutes on a particular business/place mobile page, this is something I tell the developer, right? So that they can code in some rules for how this is going to work? Or because this is still a prototype are these little rules/details less important?

Also, thanks again Realm for helping to set more expectations, everything helps. 
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  Date Posted #14 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:53:16 PM   

It could be harder (and therefore more costly) to write in something later on to account for specific features than being told upfront. If there are features that you KNOW you will want in the future, I'd suggest to mention it. At least they can be aware of it in the planning phase.

In your example, depending how the system was built, being told after-the-fact on something like that might require a semi-major rewrite of the codebase (again, depending how it was written - it might be rather simple too). So without knowing about certain features, there's little guarantee on how easy (and therefore cost-effective) additional features can be implemented in the future.

I consider a 5-year plan a little silly simply because in 5 years the Operating Systems, user interfaces, and trends will more than likely be rather different than they are now, and may possibly require rewrites anyway. 1-2 (maybe even 3) year plans are much more feasible - at least with how I personally see things. Who knows though. :P 
Captain Tightpants
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  Date Posted #15 Wednesday, October 30, 2013 05:08:03 AM   

In that sense I agree with you completely. 5 years is a very long time. I just didn't take it to mean literally 5 years. Just a long term future outlook in general.


As for the main question.
Give as much information as possible. You obviously should work with them to decide which of the features are important to you now and which will come later, but it is infinitely better if they are aware that such features will at some point be added.
 
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  Date Posted #16 Wednesday, October 30, 2013 09:44:42 AM   

Agreed. 
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  Date Posted #17 Thursday, October 31, 2013 06:25:23 AM   

when you say leave tips, do you mean $$ tips or tips about the business, like "buy this" or "buy that it's great" ???

bc that exists and it is called foursquare 
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  Date Posted #18 Thursday, October 31, 2013 07:45:55 AM   

Just because something exists doesn't mean you can't do it better. 
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  Date Posted #19 Friday, November 01, 2013 04:09:15 AM   

Originally posted by Allustrious
bc that exists and it is called foursquare

but does foursquare have relationship status??? 
Contralto
Hooligans
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  Date Posted #20 Friday, November 01, 2013 04:37:29 AM   

If your app is supposed to be competing with Yelp and Foursquare, good luck.

You've got a lot of issues at hand and hopefully the passion to deal with them. I can't speak much for iOS, but I know enough about the Android ecosystem to feel comfortable giving my two cents. You're a little vague with what exactly you're planning to do, so I'll just list some stuff as if you're new to it.

1. Since you're paying someone to program for you, be prepared to have to update it again (and again) in the near future. A 5-year plan is a good idea, but it's not going to stay relevant for that long no matter how well thought out it is. Kit Kat's been officially announced and with it will come more changes, recent examples from newer versions of Android being Dash and Google Now. Google likes to tweak their design guidelines on release and design trends come in and go out with power-users quickly. Right now we're seeing a lot of Holo, #33b5e5, #0099cc, #00ddff on Android. (Check out the differences in UI from Gingerbread - Honeycomb - Ice Cream Sandwich) For the love of god, do not make it look like an iOS app or port over the design of your iOS app, and don't forget widgets.

2. Fragmentation means you'll have to optimize for a lot of devices running on different versions of Android. Remember that you'll have to adapt to version, hardware, screen size, physical features (menu buttons, physical keyboards or lack thereof). I'll assume you did sufficient research + are ready for this, since you worked for Yelp.

3. What I think is probably your biggest hurdle: getting users and businesses to want to take advantage of your app. A lot of popular Android apps are only popular by sheer luck, and you're going to be dealing with the big two, Yelp & Foursquare, as well as a shit load of other startups who want to be just like you. Businesses already have stickers in their windows asking for reviews on FS, Yelp, or both, and users are already invested (often years in now) in whatever site they're using. Your best bet is to aim for the aforementioned power-users who are more adaptive and willing to take a chance on and possibly migrate to a new app if it looks and runs better than apps on the market now. You're only going to reach the average Android user on a well-established app with a lot of users and a few people they know.

I assume you're not worried about money needed to put the app on multiple app stores, etc, so I won't go into that.

I honestly think you should be passionate about app development itself if you are aiming for success, as there aren't a lot of first-app success stories. There are a couple of great subreddits like r/androiddev and r/androidapps to ask questions. Either way, good luck. 
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  Date Posted #21 Friday, November 01, 2013 04:45:53 AM   

didn't I see this episode of Shark Tank already?

jk already know u got 2 angel investors 
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  Date Posted #22 Friday, November 01, 2013 05:56:16 AM   

the only tip ur getting is the tip of my dick 
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  Date Posted #23 Friday, November 01, 2013 10:04:12 AM   

...and you don't even have to buy him dinner first. 
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  Date Posted #24 Friday, November 01, 2013 03:17:04 PM   

I knew it

Jesse, disillusioned by a difficult marriage. Brendan, the frustrated bachelor, weary from his search for a serious connection. Each need release. Neither in the mood for games, though that is where they met. One weekend of passion. A lifetime of memories. 
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  Date Posted #25 Friday, November 01, 2013 06:05:36 PM   

LOL^^ +1 
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  Date Posted #26 Friday, November 01, 2013 06:44:52 PM   

Originally posted by Cruel
I knew it

Jesse, disillusioned by a difficult marriage. Brendan, the frustrated bachelor, weary from his search for a serious connection. Each need release. Neither in the mood for games, though that is where they met. One weekend of passion. A lifetime of memories.


Name that movie .. -The Longest Dock-  
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  Date Posted #27 Friday, November 01, 2013 07:51:10 PM   

Does anyone else feel that it seems like an incredibly poor strategy to be outsourcing what presumably forms the core part of your business

What exactly are you & your employees actually contributing to the business 
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  Date Posted #28 Friday, November 01, 2013 09:14:32 PM   

$$ 
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  Date Posted #29 Friday, November 01, 2013 10:24:05 PM   

great post cruel lollers 
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  Date Posted #30 Saturday, November 02, 2013 10:17:34 PM   

I must admit, I actually did laugh out loud when I read Cruel's post. 
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  Date Posted #31 Saturday, November 02, 2013 11:53:52 PM   

If it's not something done before get a NDA/Non-Compete agreement before you say anything... 
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  Date Posted #32 Monday, November 04, 2013 06:08:55 AM   

shh THIS IS DOGESCRIPT

so dogeudle
so boring as wow

very dogescript is 'such messy; very doge-friendly'

such woof much foo bar bat
plz console.loge with foo
such nested
plz console.loge with ['so', 'wow']
wow
plz nested
wow bar

plz woof with 'multiple', 'doge', 'properties wow'

very cat is 'not a doge'

many woof is 'doges only' and cat not 'doge' or cat is 'not a doge'
plz console.loge with {such: 'doge'}
wow

rly woof is 'doges only' and cat not 'doge' or cat is 'not a doge'
plz console.loge with {such: 'doge', wow: 'dogee'}
wow

much very woof as 1 next woof lesser 3 next woof more 1
plz console.loge with {such: 'doge'}
wow

shh chaining
very canvas is plz d3.select with 'body'&
.plz append with 'canvas'&
.plz attr with 'width', width&
.plz attr with 'height', height

very regex is new RegExp with keyword, 'g'
very regex2 is new RegExp with 'doge', 'g'

very arr is new Array with 0

obj is new Object

module.exports is woof

shh example http server

so http
plz http.createServer with much req res
plz req.writeHead with 200 {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'}
plz req.end with 'so hello\nmuch world'
wow
 
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  Date Posted #33 Monday, November 04, 2013 09:11:50 AM   

LOLCODE is so much better. 
atila
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  Date Posted #34 Wednesday, November 06, 2013 10:34:14 PM   

Thanks for the additional posts...

Haley, thanks for all the great info but we are definitely leaning to go iOS to start. 
Contralto
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  Date Posted #35 Thursday, November 07, 2013 05:46:04 AM   

That's a fairly bad idea, have fun! 
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  Date Posted #36 Thursday, November 07, 2013 10:30:15 AM   

Except for the marketshare, why would that be a bad idea?

Android is known to have a substantially higher rate of hacked applications (if he's not making his app free), and you even eluded to the issues of hardware fragmentation which is a massive pain. From an outsider's perspective with a little knowledge, I'd say that iOS has a better ROI for a first app to see how it works out. 
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  Date Posted #37 Friday, November 08, 2013 07:49:22 AM   

I don't see him gaining enough traction + users from iOS alone to sway others away from Foursquare/Yelp. It WOULD be much faster and probably more reasonable to release a stable iOS app first, but he'll really need to bank on getting more than a couple hundred unique installations and word-of-mouth to continue gaining (active) users.

If he's not making his app free, it better look and behave pretty god damn well and be exponentially more "fun" to use than Foursquare/Yelp. That's practically a death sentence for his first app. Pay for ad removal, at most.

 
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  Date Posted #38 Friday, November 08, 2013 08:20:40 AM   

I did a Porter's Five Forces analysis on Atila's business and found that he literally is in the most horrible position ever. and then i did a SWOT analysis and realized he has no strengths.

gl  
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  Date Posted #39 Friday, November 08, 2013 09:04:45 AM   

I dont mean to jump on the bandwagon, but unless you really have some killer feature that will significantly differentiate and attract users to your app, then you should really reconsider your ambitions.

Despite the sarcasm, I think Rainer's post above is actually surprisingly educated & worryingly accurate. You're entering a market in which you have plenty of weaknesses and no real strengths -- you've neither first-hand experience in developing apps nor do you have anyone on board who is really vested in its initial or continuing success. In fact, on the contrary you're effectively offering up your only real contribution (an idea) to someone who you seemingly do not know, will most likely be underpaid (if it's really as killer as you're hoping), and actually has the power to make money from it. Law may be on your side, but that's not gonna make you any less fucked when he/she does decide to steal it or, at some stage, part ways.

Overall I would have to conclude that Honey Bunches of Oats are in fact better than Honey Smacks. 
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  Date Posted #40 Friday, November 08, 2013 10:39:27 AM   

Perhaps I'm assuming too much in opposite reaction to the comments made, but atila has not actually stated what he's creating. 
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  Date Posted #41 Friday, November 08, 2013 02:07:35 PM   

A mobile app.















+ it's atila 
Detrimental
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  Date Posted #42 Saturday, November 09, 2013 02:57:03 AM   

It's a porn app 
atila
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  Date Posted #43 Thursday, November 21, 2013 09:38:33 PM   

Rainer is just a bitter hater of everyone, so that can be ignored. But I'm kinda disappointed with Volv immediately being a douche bag about something he knows nothing about. I didn't know you were so cocky?

Anyways, it's a mobile app, and I'm not sure if I stated above, but this is more of a hobby than anything for me. I have a full time job and am bringing this along slowly because I know that the odds are against me (and that's putting it lightly).

Some of you really want to bring others down, I don't know if it's cause you're joking around and maybe I've just disconnected from that, but maybe some of you are just negative cause you don't want to see/hope others do well. I don't know, but there really is no reason to add negative bullshit when I haven't said a god damn thing about it other than it's a mobile app.

I'm not claiming to be Steve Jobs, I'm trying to do something, something with my money, so go fuck yourself. 
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  Date Posted #44 Friday, November 22, 2013 01:27:10 AM   

Gladly. But anyways, I hope you can find someone to help you :D 
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  Date Posted #45 Friday, November 22, 2013 04:28:30 AM   

I want to be an alpha tester! 
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  Date Posted #46 Friday, November 22, 2013 04:50:05 AM   

heh 
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  Date Posted #47 Friday, November 22, 2013 11:20:07 PM   

look here napoleon namaste i said good luck.

not that you need it with piles of blood diamonds from hollywood to fall back onto but the sentiment is there 
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  Date Posted #48 Friday, November 22, 2013 11:31:13 PM   

Originally posted by rainer
look here napoleon namaste


LMAO... okay, that just made me laugh out loud...no offense atila. 
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  Date Posted #49 Saturday, November 23, 2013 05:42:52 PM   

Rainer doesn't offend me... dude is 5'6 thinks he's 6'5... it's people like Volv who get under my skin.

I actually thought that was funny, too. 
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  Date Posted #50 Sunday, November 24, 2013 10:46:54 PM   

5"8(10 in heels)*

ftfy 
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  Date Posted #51 Monday, November 25, 2013 10:09:53 PM   

Originally posted by rainer
look here napoleon namaste i said good luck.

not that you need it with piles of blood diamonds from hollywood to fall back onto but the sentiment is there


i loled 
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  Date Posted #52 Thursday, November 28, 2013 07:44:33 AM   

is it a taco app?

 
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  Date Posted #53 Tuesday, December 03, 2013 11:19:39 AM   

atila, have you considered learning how to build it yourself? At least just enough that you won't get ripped off by someone you end up hiring.

You don't even have to learn Objective-C, just start with Javascript/HTML/CSS: http://phonegap.com/
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  Date Posted #54 Tuesday, December 03, 2013 11:54:41 AM   

Not a bad suggestion, neophi.

Phonegap benefits:
- easiest for barrier to entry
- fastest to get a simple working version/prototype (storyboard an idea with an actual app)
- free to download/install

Phonegap problems:
- difficult to access advanced device features (camera, gyroscope, storage)
- worst efficiency of all universal app creation software (but also easiest/quickest)
- most developers eventually have to rewrite the app once they want/need further features



Phonegap is good. It gets you started and it helps with cross-device development. Just be aware that there are problems with it too that may not be easily overcome (just like any tool, really). I'm not trying to write it off. A developer friend that used it recommended people use it in order to get started since it helps get things moving quickly, but be forewarned that it may not suit all problems well. 
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  Date Posted #55 Tuesday, December 03, 2013 12:32:32 PM   

u can call ur app sixteen bc play on words bc it will b like foursquare which already exists lmao and four squared is 16 lol 
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  Date Posted #56 Tuesday, December 03, 2013 12:46:37 PM   

I know it's lunch time, but did you really have to open the bottle of scotch from your desk drawer during your lunch break? 
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  Date Posted #57 Tuesday, December 03, 2013 06:10:16 PM   

...or...there's this. lulz

http://apppresser.com/#apppvideo 
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  Date Posted #58 Wednesday, December 04, 2013 12:48:36 PM   

Originally posted by Realm
Phonegap is good. It gets you started and it helps with cross-device development. Just be aware that there are problems with it too that may not be easily overcome (just like any tool, really). I'm not trying to write it off. A developer friend that used it recommended people use it in order to get started since it helps get things moving quickly, but be forewarned that it may not suit all problems well.


Yeah, I've never actually done anything mobile, but PhoneGap seems like something that could work for 90% of apps. Better to start with PhoneGap and rewrite later if necessary than not having anything at all. :)

One thing I probably wouldn't like about PhoneGap is having one UI for all devices. e.g. with Mono you share your core business logic (in C#) cross-platform, but you build separate UIs (i.e. one for iOS, and one for Android) so that your app sticks to the UI/UX guidelines for each. 
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  Date Posted #59 Wednesday, December 04, 2013 04:55:58 PM   

Agreed with neo, unless you're worried about only one platform, then it's not a big deal.