My First Mobile App

This weekend I decided I want to start creating mobile apps, for both fun and hopefully a bit of profit too. I spent a few hours while my daughter was asleep creating a basic “baby piano” app. A screenshot of how far the app has got is below:

Yes it is still early and as you can see I am experimenting with shapes. All the clip-art and the piano key tones I managed to find open-source which is very cool.

I made some decisions before starting:

I’m not using PhoneGap. PhoneGap is a tool that lets you design your app as HTML and then port to iPhone, Android etc. In a spike session I found that it is a pig to set up, at least on Windows. Weirdly I found the Android SDK friendlier to get started with, even though PhoneGap is supposed to make things easy.

Secondly I read that the apps you create with PhoneGap never quite feel as good as a native app, you don’t have access to the latest features, and also (I imagine) it will be perform worse than a native app.

I am going to focus only on Android rather than Apple. Android better suits my current skill set, reducing my learning time. It also will cost me nothing in additional hardware. I’m keeping it lean!

Next steps:

This week I plan to finish the app. To finish I need to make the keys look better, support higher number of keys on higher resolutions and perhaps make this an option anyway for those with tiny fingers (the target end users are babies).

I would also like to test it on other phones, so far it has been tested only on a Nexus 5.

Some things cannot be finalized yet though. For instance the icon and app name. This is because I have to learn the spells and curses of ASO (App Store Optimization). This is to give my app a fighting chance of being discovered by lots of parents. I am considering this course by Gabriel Machuret to help me on my way.

Written on June 10, 2014