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Author Topic: Help me think of a small ipad app idea to code  (Read 13015 times)
mouser
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« on: June 13, 2012, 11:15:11 PM »

Hi all,

I have a long and entirely negative history with Apple, especially with coding for apple devices.  In high school I had a programming job that was smooth sailing until it came to porting code to a first generation macintosh, which was pure hell.  And I am definitely not a fan of the company.

However, I have been gifted an iPad, and after a few decades my curiosity has gotten the better of me and I want to experiment with coding an ipad app that could actually go into the app store for a buck or so.

Any small app ideas?  I'm not looking for anything groundbreaking or large -- chances are high that I'm going to dislike the process of developing for Apple as much as ever and not want to spend much time on it.

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Deozaan
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 11:43:36 PM »

DonationCoder forum browser app.

But then all the Apple hipsters would be here on DC ruining the place. Cry

tongue
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barney
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 11:48:22 PM »

Baby Daughter has an iPhone ... complains that the movie apps available don't much suit her (don't know why, but suspect it's locational ... she wants to know what's playing here not what's being currently released).  Might be worth a look ... movies for a certain ZIP/locale, city, maybe even particular theatre conglomerate.  Just a thought.

(Yeah, I know it's not an iPad, but the basics are, to the best of my knowledge, the same.  Only difference is screen size  tongue.)
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Renegade
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 01:24:04 AM »

Hey! I have a great little idea for you!

Make an app that:

1) Opens up a song in the music library.
2) Lets you select a few seconds of the music, e.g. A line in the chorus, etc.
3) Fade in/out on the clip.

Sorry... That was naughty of me... Of course you can't do that because you don't have file access to the media library in iOS. You would simply bang your head against the wall in frustration as things are locked down to insane levels. tongue

How about a custom browser that lets you surf Apple Hate sites? tongue

While that would take you around about 10 minutes in Visual Studio, you'll quickly find that it takes a day or more in Xcode...

Man... I gotta come up with better ideas... Sad

Ok, how about this...

Nah... You'd just pull your hair out again...

Ok! I've got it!

A comprehensive hello world app that demonstrates multiple screens that maintain state with different widgets/controls on the various pages, does a few nifty things, like animate Cody or something, and links back to the tutorial page on DC~! cheesy

DC iOS Hello World~!

It would let you explore things and write up an article on it all.

In any event, good luck.

Oh, and you might want to look at MonoTouch as you can use C# instead of Objective-C, which may lead to less hair loss. (And you're not forced into Xcode... where everything takes 3x as long... on a good day...)
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justice
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 04:32:20 AM »

Now you have an ipad feel free to ignore Renegade tongue
From what I hear, use Xcode not other frameworks, as you will still have to learn the API's anyway but debugging becomes a lot harder, and other frameworks need to be updated after new OS releases to stay in sync. Apparently in a few days you will get used to the different syntax. Most of the time goes in learning the APIs.

Possible miniapp idea:
Lazy workday clock - A clock that runs slow in the mornings and fast in the afternoon. Always wanted one on the wall, but an interactive one would be fun. Take your time in the morning and finish early.

Good luck, let us know how you get on.
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Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 05:14:06 AM »

From what I hear, use Xcode not other frameworks, as you will still have to learn the API's anyway but debugging becomes a lot harder, and other frameworks need to be updated after new OS releases to stay in sync. Apparently in a few days you will get used to the different syntax. Most of the time goes in learning the APIs.

One of the core issues with Xcode is that it forces an MVC methodology on you, which turns the simplest tasks into something far more involved and complicated than they need to be.

It's not that MVC is bad or anything - but for simple things, it's overkill and completely counterproductive.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 05:30:29 AM »

"How small is small"?

Are you looking to spend more of your time on internal logic or pretty graphics? For better or worse, what the i-device generation did well was bring shiny graphics to the masses.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2012, 06:49:50 AM »

Avoid any hair pulling ... Consider the demographic ... And then cater to the lowest common denominator...
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40hz
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2012, 09:01:04 AM »

How about a good RSS reader that has:

  • a workable "find RSS feed link on webpage" discovery feature
  • doesn't crash every 10-15 minutes - or once you get more than 20 feeds or a hundred article links in the database
  • has a button to save directly to InstaPaper and Pocket (formerly: ReadItLater)
And most important of all:

DOES NOT require a Google Reader or another web-based reader account in order to work.

AFAIK there is only one iOS reader that isn't using Google right now. It's called rssrunner and it's by Golden-Apps.

It hasn't been updated in ages despite endless promises of great things in the works. It's also flaky and crash/lockup prone.

I would pay good money for a genuine standalone RSS reader running under iOS that works as advertised. (And yes, I think "known crappy quality" is the main reason why so many iOS apps are offered for "free.")

I'm told RSS readers are not that complicated to code. Many times they're supposedly given as an optional assignment in intermediate level coding courses. No that I'd know. So if it turns out something like this isn't "small" please feel free to ignore.
 smiley

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Renegade
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2012, 11:35:13 AM »

+1 for 40hz

An RSS reader would be good.

One of the most complicated things for a GOOD RSS reader is scheduling threads to download stories. I heard Nick Bradbury talk about that once and the extreme effort it took, and that he'd tucked the option away in a tiny little menu item because the UI usability was so very important to him, and despite the effort, that's all it warranted. (The topic was actually about good UI design.) (Nick wrote Homesite way back when.)

One cool thing would be a feature to snag RSS feeds from sites that you visit in the browser (from the history) then offer frequently visited sites as choices to the user. (And good ****ing luck in doing anything like that in iOS or any mobile platform where things are so horribly isolated that almost every cool integration is impossible unless your name is Apple, Google, or Microsoft...) That I would really like in an RSS reader. Sometimes finding RSS feeds on a site can be a PITA, and having it done automatically from stuff you already visit? That would be cool.
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40hz
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2012, 02:26:07 PM »

One of the most complicated things for a GOOD RSS reader is scheduling threads to download stories.

Apparently it is. I've had to turn off the autocheck feeds feature in rssrunner to keep it from having problems.

But I wouldn't even care if that wasn't included. I'd just as happily have it only update when I selected an individual feed. It's pretty much what I do with most feed readers anyway since I track a few hundred threads and I'd just as soon not keep being reminded how many things I want to be looking at.

Oh yeah - a mark all as read button would be great too. With the amount of feeds I track I don't read everything (obviously). So it would be great to be able to go in, manually tell it update, cherry pick whatever catches my interest for reading, and then mark the entire collection as read to clear the decks for the next download.
 Cool
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zridling
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 01:39:29 AM »

Isn't this the worst problem with iOS -- that it can only update one thing at a time? Android/google can update everything constantly, from apps to widgets to schedules, email, calendar, alarms, etc.

If the RSS idea doesn't fly, how about a simple calculator that doesn't suck? Most calculator apps are designed for specific fields, such as finance or stats or trig. Or perhaps a better loan calculator, for when you buy a car or anything else? (Both have been done a thousand times over, but not with a simple UI and inputs.)
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justice
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2012, 03:51:00 AM »

Isn't this the worst problem with iOS -- that it can only update one thing at a time? Android/google can update everything constantly, from apps to widgets to schedules, email, calendar, alarms, etc.
No that's incorrect, have a look at this:
http://speirs.org/blog/20...out-ios-multitasking.html

Also now you can geofence your location so that your app can do things when you arrive / leave at a certain location (home / work etc).
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 04:18:04 AM »


Possible miniapp idea:
Lazy workday clock - A clock that runs slow in the mornings and fast in the afternoon. Always wanted one on the wall, but an interactive one would be fun. Take your time in the morning and finish early.


A related mini App that already exists for iPhone is the 25 hour clock. It goes in reverse - makes the morning go fast, to help quell the tendency of some offices "not to get rolling" while everyone spends an hour getting coffee, so it adds a little urgency up until about 2PM (including finishing lunch.) Then a couple of places I worked at had "5PM fever" where things would suddenly appear about 3PM and "have to get done today". So then you turn it off, and poof: It's only 2:25, so you get an extra half hour to finish the mayhem.
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2012, 05:30:29 AM »

DonationCoder forum browser app.

But then all the Apple hipsters would be here on DC ruining the place. Cry

tongue

+1 from me!

And when you've done that, port it to Android too Thmbsup
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« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2012, 06:31:34 AM »

mouser, are you still looking for ideas?

I want to know how difficult it would be to create a simple app that just receives notifications. How complicated is the app itself, what infrastructure or services are required to push notifications to the app?

For example, much like you do for the RSS feed, every time you see a story of notice on DC, push a notification to the ipad app which of course has a cody icon.

anyway, food for thought.
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2012, 05:10:28 AM »

How about an app that does facial recognition on images and warns the user before uploading an image with duckface? Grin
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2012, 06:54:28 AM »

mouser - any updates on what you're planning/thinking?
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mouser
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2012, 08:19:17 AM »

I haven't heard or come up with a simple idea that seems really great to me yet, so I'm still looking.  Since my experiences with apple coding have all been negative in the past, and since i don't intend to spend too much time on ipad/iphone coding, I'm definitely looking for a small idea to get my feet wet -- a snack if you will.  I'm considering possibly making a small game.
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Renegade
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2012, 09:42:11 AM »

A tower defense game maybe? Little mice running around with mouser & Cody towers~! cheesy
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mouser
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2012, 10:19:20 AM »

Yeah a tower defense game would be a natural choice, since those are the casual games i like.. just don't know if that's a larger project than i have an appetite for at this point -- was hoping for something smaller.  Though i could do a proof of concept one i suppose.
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Renegade
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« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2012, 10:22:56 AM »

Codies & mousers? (x's & o's) Should be very small.
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« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2012, 06:54:02 PM »

You might want to make an iphone game with the toolset Stencyl.
There is even a tower defense tutorial at
http://community.stencyl....dex.php/topic,9984.0.html
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2012, 08:27:40 PM »

Yeah a tower defense game would be a natural choice, since those are the casual games i like.. just don't know if that's a larger project than i have an appetite for at this point -- was hoping for something smaller.  Though i could do a proof of concept one i suppose.

I played Runestone Defense
http://magigames.org/runestone_defense.html

and thought it was very well done. It also leads me to think it's NOT a "Small" app because the engine really has to get the parsing right for all the moving sprites. It would be very easy for the machine to "cheat" because some effect didn't work right.

« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 03:26:13 PM by TaoPhoenix; Reason: spelling fix » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2012, 11:27:00 PM »

For those that like to hike in the woods, how about an app that will scare bears away. Don't know what it would have to sound like, but I've asked around and haven't heard of one.
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