So now i’m a blogger…

SnapHack

I’ve wanted to start blogging for quite a while, however it kept being put off. I’m not the greatest writer (I flunked English in High School, so this should be fun) but there’s been a few things over the past few years that i’ve wanted to share with the world.

So why now?

Last week, questions came up on twitter about Apple’s new TestFlight service. As i’ve been using the service since day one I thought I could help by putting everything in one place, so I was eager to get a blog set up.

Also, a few days ago I was mocking up some sample app icons for my new upcoming app (Too be announced shortly) and thought it would be good to share my method for installing many icons onto an iPhone/iPad at the same time, which is great for sampling and selecting which icon to use.

But first, a bit about me:

I’ve been a self employed App Developer for the past 2 years. I have no team, no designers, no marketers, just me and my Mac. Does that make me an ‘Indie’?

I’m 100% self taught in everything needed for app development, from Objective-C to Photoshop.

All my app idea’s have come from a personal need for the app and I hope to keep that philosophy going forward.

My first app iBet&Win was an experiment to help out with my slight gambling obsession (I wasn’t addicted and just don’t bother any more). It is basically a calculator to work out how much you need to place on a bet to recover all your loses. A very dangerous game to play.

After a family Christmas get together, iCharades was born, as all the charades apps at the time were far too complex for what was needed. There’s no need for logins, names, teams etc.. All that’s needed is a large list of charade you can quickly flick through until you find one you want to perform.

Although these 2 apps are very basic and slightly cringeworthy as I look back at them, I learnt an awful lot from building them. Big credit needs to go to @rwenderlich who’s tutorials are just in-dispensable to anyone starting out in app developing.

 

iSmoke2Much
iSmoke2Much

 

 

 

As an ex smoker, iSmoke2Much seemed the most logical way to help cut down. It schedules your cigarettes throughout the day, and tells you when you CAN have a smoke.

 

 

 

DD-WRT Today View Widget
DD-WRT Today View Widget

 

Next was my most long running app that I still maintain and enhanced today. DD-WRT & DD-WRT Lite makes maintaining your DD-WRT enabled router a breeze. This is also the first app of mine that will be getting a Today View Widget (Currently In Review). A simple slide down action from the top of your screen and it shows you who’s connected to your WiFi. Great huh?

 

 

 

Next up came Iconical.

Iconical came about because of something I was doing in DD-WRT. I’d added url scheme’s to DD-WRT that let users run ‘Wake On LAN’ and ‘Reboot Router’ commands across their networks from a URL and I thought, why can’t I just add these URL’s to the home screen? After a few days looking into it I’d found a way. I added a featurescreen322x572 to DD-WRT that created home screen shortcuts to launch several features and at the same time, Iconical was born.

Iconical’s release gave me my first look at what it’s like to create an app people actually want to talk about. Waking up to many press reports, blog posts and even YouTube video’s talking about my app was pretty exciting. Then suddenly as the support emails started arriving, I realised i’d made a fundamental mistake in the UI. iOS 7 was only weeks old and one of the radical changes Apple had made was the use of the ‘borderless button’ which I totally embraced and totally confused all my users who didn’t know where they were supposed to press! Luckily there were already several YouTube video’s I could send them to for more direction and I quickly packaged up an update ready for Apple approval.

The same day that i’d started so excited and happy, ended stressed, miserable and angry. As is becoming all too common recently, I received that fateful phone call from the Apple App Review team that put the future of Iconical in jeopardy.

Then came the big one…

SnapHack

I’d only heard about Snapchat a couple of weeks earlier and started SnapHack as an experiment. There was already lots of information on the internet about how the system worked and all I needed to do was piece it all together.

SnapHackThe day SnapHack launched was one of the most exciting yet scary days of my life.

I had members of the press getting in touch with me. I had the BBC wanting to interview me on air, LA Times asking me questions and even Bloomberg wanting me on air! Erm…. I don’t think so sorry. That’s just not me. I have always hated public speaking.

The scariest part was everyone’s main question, wanting to know what Snapchat had said about SnapHack. Before this day I hadn’t even considered that the app might get me into trouble. The whole SnapHack saga could easily fill it’s own blog post in the future, but for now i’ll say that after months of very high legal bills, SnapHack was finally removed from sale. My most successful app that i’d ever created was no more. Since that day, many developers have jumped on my band wagon, stole my name ‘SnapHack’ and even stolen my apps artwork. I guess trying to get Apple to remove apps that steal artwork could also make it’s own blog post. Anyone still looking for the original SnapHack, take at look at this copy by Steve Murray which seems to be a total clone and me even be the same app. (Steve Murray is the only developer that asked my permission to use the app icon).

 

 

Club Alert
Club Alert

 

My most recent app was part of a collaboration with my father and his friend. They’d been trying to bring a device to market and thought utilising bluetooth and mobile phones would make it much more user friendly. The device is called Club Alert and aid’s golfers in making sure they don’t leave a golf club around the green.

Club Alert was a challenge as I had to learn to write the software for the actual bluetooth hardware and also learn to write my first Android app. The iOS version can be found here.

 

So that’s a bit about me and how things have progressed in my App career. What does the future hold?

 

It would be great if you’d subscribe to this blog to receive all future posts.

 

Thanks

Darren

 

 

  • This is intriguing. I would love to get in touch with you for another app but with no legal fees :). Not sure how to get a hold of Steven Murray but I am always a fan of the original vs. the knock off. You have my respect. 100% self taught is very impressive.

  • abech

    How do I get in touch with Steve Murray? I can’t login to Snap-Hack. It says Error code: 400?

    • Darren

      Through the App Store support link?
      I believe SC switched off the API that all the Snapback type apps where using.
      I guess your going to have to wait for them to be updated.

  • Moviebox

    Good blog, long term user of snaphack, I still use it and can’t wait to try your future apps

    • Darren

      Thanks. If your in UK and have Sky Broadband, you can test out my new upcoming app?

      • Moviebox

        Yep I’m testing it at the moment and love it