Author Archives: Wes Draper

The Home Stretch

For the past 4 months, the Repped Team has been working tirelessly to create the best way to listen to music with friends. Through trials and tears, the journey is finally coming to a close. Next Saturday we, as well as the rest of the Mobile Applications class, will be presenting our app to an audience at Demo Day.  To prepare for the Demo day we recorded our last video which will serve as our opening clip explaining at Demo Day.

This week we filmed our fourth video. Our main goal in this video was to portray a prime example of a situation in need of Repped. The follows one friend trying to show another friend new songs and the difficulty in showing the songs and receiving feedback about the song choices, the prime functionality of the application. Watch and be satisfied!

Our plans for Demo Day have changed a little over the past week as we worked through how we want to present Repped. Originally we planned to have props on the stage to portray three separate rooms, each with their own dancer in the room. As the demonstration progress, the dancers in the rooms would sync to dance to the same song. This idea proved to be very difficult to set to sync the demo with the rooms and coordinate a troupe of dancers. Instead, we have filmed short segments of individual dancers dancing to songs and as the demo progress, we will switch the video of each dancer as the song changes on the app.

Now the plan is for us to open with a quick introduction of ourselves and Repped and go start our fourth video. Afterward we will give a short biography of Repped, from its humble beginnings as Pass The Aux, see earlier blog posts, all the way to its current impressive state. We will conclude with the live demo, featuring the clips of dancers. You’ll have to come out to see the magic. Be sure to bring plenty of Kleenex, you’ll be weeping tears of joy.

On the dev side, it has been a mad rush to clean up the UI and add some last minute functionality to the app. On the UI side, we made a priority to clean up the music screen. Now listeners can add to their own queue so that they can have a queue ready if they get made the leader of the room. We also removed the clunky play button for the leaders of the room. Now when a leader adds the first song to an empty queue Repped will start playing that song. We also made it so that both leaders and listeners can see their queue and the recently played songs in the room. So as the leader plays songs off their queue they songs move into the recently play section of the table view. This is also reflected in the firebase entry for the room.

      

We also finally made the popup controller show the correct buttons for leaders and listeners and set up the respective functionality for the buttons. We did run into issues of the leader skipping the song and the correct song would play but the popup controller would not change the album art and song info. But not unlike most problems in a program we found a one line solution to a 4 hour problem. Our latest painstaking effort was spent adding titles on the navigation bar for the room page. Alas, the smallest changes seem to be the biggest pains.

Until the supreme gatekeepers of all thing’s Apple approve Repped to be on the App Store, sign up to be a beta tester and let us know what you think. Until next time stay classy San Diego

 

Rolling Along With Repped

This has been a hectic and productive week for the Repped Team. We have made some serious progress in the development and made what some have said is, “The Greatest Promotion video since the 1980’s apple commercial.”

Our dev team has been cranking out updates like two guys who don’t want to have to do a ton of work over spring break, oddly enough is the case. We have made major strides in four main areas, Facebook utilization, Global variables via singleton classes, a pop up view for the music, and we bought an apple developer account. For the sake of speed we have been primarily focusing on developing the features from a functionality viewpoint; read it doesn’t look cute yet. In doing so, we have gone through and created most of the scenes we were hoping to make in this first iteration of the application and have the extensibility to add a much larger feature set later.

The one of the biggest steps take was a much more full utilization of the Facebook API. previously we only pulled a user’s name from facebook, so that it could be listed in the listener page as opposed to the user’s uid. Now we pull the user’s name, facebook id, picture, and list of friends who use the app. This has allowed us to do a variety of cool new things. For starters we now have a profile page for the users, and a profile page for the user’s listening in your room. We also switched the uid for the users from a random key generated by firebase to the user’s facebook id. With this change and the list of friends that have authorized the application we are now able to populate the room table by the users friends, and look them up in firebase by that id.

The most enabling changes we made was adding a singleton class to the app that enables us to refer to variables used throughout the app without having to pass them through segues continually. WE have moved the current room object, current song object, song queue, current user, and media controller to the singleton class. This saves us a lot of error prone segue passing code. It also helps to reduce repetitive code. We previously created or copied these objects across multiple scenes. We also suffering from concurrency errors as objects would change on one page and write to the firebase db, and simultaneously a copy of the object would be written, cause many errors due to race conditions. However the largest benefit is the extensibility this singleton class brings to our project. We plan to move the some of the firebase listeners into the singleton class reduce the number of network calls, the main source of lag in our app.

Third, what i think is best UI/UX change to our app as the addition of a pop controller for the music. We imported and implemented the LN Popup Controller. This helps to provide several key benefits to our app. First it will now provide in-app controll of the music itself, whereas previously we were utilizing the slideup music controller native to IOS. We now help to contain the functionality of our app within our app. Secondly it will provide continuity of the music page to both listeners and dj’s. They will both see the popup with slightly different controls. Lastly, It helps to add a very modern UX element to the app. Previously we didn’t implement and complex ux element to the app, focusing mainly in tableviews. In contrast we now have a very dynamic UX element, that utilizes swipe interaction, but is very common with other music interaction in other applications.

The final progress made by the dev team this week was purchasing a Apple developer account. Though not very work intensive, it s allowing us to roll out a testflight beta in the next week, to allow for more user interaction and testing. We plan to roll out a test flight invite in the next week or so.

Finally our team created a fantastic promo video for Repped. The hardest part of describing the app is trying to create the idea of community in isolation. So we stole a chapter out of the Brady Bunch and shot some fun quick shots of each of us alone, and close head shots to have a 5 view scene with each of us listening to a song together in separate locations. The end result is nothing short of comedic gold and a deeply intuitive explanation of our application.

 

 

 

Repped Promo #2 from Repped App on Vimeo.

Pass The Aux: House Party for Music

Over this past two weeks, our team has been brainstorming to come up with Pass the Aux. After coming up with the initial idea “houseparty for music” we have been working on a set of features, researching competitors, and road mapping the technical needs.

PTATeam

Pass the Aux’s goal is to bring people together in real time, over wifi or using cellular data, in the rooms within Pass the Aux. The app will allow users to share your new favorite songs and artists with friends, and users can listen to music with others in real time through streaming music through Apple Music or Spotify, or users can even use their own music library. The app will allow users to find friends by linking their Facebook profile and/or Contacts list. The “Leader” or “Head DJ” is the person that starts the music listening room. He or she can invite their friends to let them know they have a music room, and they will be notified via push notification so that they can begin streaming as soon as the DJ starts playing his or her music. If the DJ would like to transfer the room to someone else listening in that room or someone in the room wants to play a song, the DJ can transfer the room to that person. Listeners in the room can also actively “like” songs that the DJ is playing so that they can save them to listen to later. Another feature of the app will be to have a chat feature so that users can talk with their friends as they listen to music together.

There are a variety of IOS apps that have a very similar core functionality to Pass The Aux, with differing degrees of proposed uses. Our app actually draws its inspiration from another app called turntable.fm. The app is no longer around, due to financial reasons, but the app showed great traction while it was supported. “When it first launched in May of 2011, the music service seemed to own the internet, growing from zero to over 420K monthly active users only two months later.” Turntable allowed users to join lobbies where someone would dj and all users in the lobby would listen together. Turntable spawned many runoffs.  Most of these apps are marketed as a way to play songs louder in a room by using the speakers of multiple iphones to play the song. These applications also only allow for sharing songs across a wifi network and most require that the songs be downloads in order to play the song. After looking at the current competitive landscape we feel that the best way to differentiate our app is in how we market it. Most of the apps currently on the app store focus on allowing people within the same wifi network to play the same song across all their speakers. Whereas we would market to impromptu listening with friends. We want to accent a more casual fun loving nature to music. Music isn’t meant to be hoarded and listened to in solitude. Pass the aux aims to bring the communal attitude back to music. Likewise, there is a shift to sharing our lives and our creativity. With the success of apps like Instagram and snap chat we saw that people love to show their friends what they are up to. Pass the aux seeks to capitalize on that sentiment but focus it on our music.

Some of the most difficult aspects of the app will be the integration with the music API. Familiarity and integration of the relatively new Apple Music API will surely be a learning experience and as a result may cause development to go slow at times. Considering the basis of our app will depend on the streaming and sharing abilities of this technology, understanding and implementing this correctly will be a top priority.

Lastly, we also started to workshop a logo for the application. We wanted to have something that is both aesthetically pleasing and provided some intuition of the purpose of our app.PTALogo1