Last night I pulled the first application that I ever wrote from the App Store.
Craig Glaser and I (mostly Craig) came up with the idea of creating heat maps for players in MLB. We thought it would be a cool visualization, and were convinced we could sell thousands of copies and be App Store rich.
I took to writing it. I took to rewriting it. I took to rewriting what I rewrote, only to discover, hm, I’m not a very good programmer. Objective-C being so foreign didn’t help… But in the end, it got done.
We didn’t quite sell thousands, but we definitely made enough to recoup our money for the App Store fees, but not enough to recoup the hundreds of hours I had put into it. I didn’t care though, I had an app in the App Store, Craig had some rep in the sabermetrics community which he is now helping push forward.
Then I rewrote it again, a new version, with a new UI. This was my first lesson in redoing a project completely. What took me 2–3 months to write the first time took me 2–3 weeks this time. I had a good base, I added networking, a database instead of flat files, daily updates which taught me Python, and a new design that was more in line with what iOS apps were now doing. It was originally all standard controls, but I added gradients and textures (which iOS 7 is now banishing).
Then it just sat around, sold some copies, and I didn’t do anything. We were then approached by one of the bigger sabermetric sites about doing a partnership, where they would get own the branding of the app, and we would share revenue with them for the exposure. That didn’t go anywhere past an initial phone call and a few emails. The app just sat around some more, for another 6 months or so, and here we are now.
Batting Goggles is out of date stylistically and statistically. There’s no real reason to keep it up, nor the desire to. In fact, when iOS 7 comes out, it’s not only going to look bad by iOS 6 standards, but it’s going to just look plain wrong and not fit in with the OS at all. It’s just not worth the couple bucks a week that it gives me, to tarnish my portfolio since I don’t plan on updating it any time soon.
Joe Fabisevich is an indie developer creating software at Red Panda Club Inc. while writing about design, development, and building a company. Formerly an iOS developer working on societal issues @Twitter. These days I don't tweet, but I do post on Threads.
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