Category Archives: About Apps Development

Pumped to rep Repped!

It’s almost demo day!

We are busy planning and brainstorming ideas for demo day. Demo day is Saturday April 29! You should check it out and come rep repped! So far we we plan to have 3 “rooms” on stage with dancers or a dancer depending on how many volunteers we can find.  During the live demo when we change rooms in the app we want to put the lights on the room on the stage and the dancer will dance according to the type of music playing. For example, if there’s a hip hop song they will do a hip hop dance or if there’s a slow song we might have a contemporary dancer.

 

This is rough idea that’s dependent on finding volunteer dancers. We will work on a more detailed and live demo plan this coming week.

 

We have one more video to plan! We think we want to something similar to our second video including people listening and interacting with the app in a variety of locations and situations. Now that we have a better looking app we can show closes ups of the app in use. The last one will probably be what we use to show on demo day.

 

We order cute stickers to give away during demo day for people to put on their laptops, cars, or wherever they wish! We want to put Kevin’s DJ setup on the table and maybe some beatbox wine boxes but filled with juice instead of alcohol since we can’t do that.

 

Kevin and Wes are working their tails of to make sure the app is ready and pleasing to the eye by demo day! Here’s some updates on what they’ve been up to:

 

Development updates

  • A user’s rep score now gets correctly updated on their profile screen when their rep increases.

  • Firebase code for the room screen has been refactored so that there are no concurrency issues when pulling from the database. Listener information gets pulled in more reliably now.

  • The UI for the room screen has been updated so that each listener’s profile picture is now displayed.

  • We still need to make it intuitive as to who is the leader.

  • The Jams screen is currently undergoing some major improvements. This included the backend code as well as the the user interface. Our app will communicate more efficiently with the iTunes/Apple Music API after this. Additionally, the screen will have two distinct sections on the screen, one for the recently played songs, and one for a user’s song queue. When the search bar is clicked on, the results will take priority and display on the screen, similar to the way search functionality works on many other popular apps.

    • These changes haven’t been merged in yet but should be by the beginning of the week.

 

We are so excited for demo day and hope you are too! We can’t wait to show you are finished product! Mark your calendars now for April 29! See you there!

-Kylie

Demo Day is Quickly Approaching!!

What’s up fellow humans!

We hope that you all have been doing well and that you had an excellent Easter Sunday! We’ve been working hard to improve Voyce. We want this to be a really great application for you all, and we want it to be something that you enjoy using. The past week we put in some major work on the technical side of Voyce.

First of all, we went through the app and looked for as many bugs and nonworking parts as we would. We created a laundry list of items that needed to be fixed or improved. One of the tasks we had for this week was to fix as many of these problems as we could. We noticed that videos in a thread sometimes play backwards, out of order and/or very fast, after submitting a video before the preview has finished playing, the preview continues to play in the background until it is over, and that the app has hard time synchronizing with the server. We also came up with a list of features we will be temporarily removing from the application. We found that some of these features are causing issues with other parts of the app. Until we can get the app functioning properly, we won’t add the my videos, favorites, or the search feature. Don’t worry! These will be in the final version of the application which will be released by demo day!

Another important task we completed was coming up with a technical plan from now until demo day. This week the computer science members of our app worked on getting the video player worked out. After meeting several times throughout the week they were able to get the videos playing in the right order and at the right speed! It was a big win for them as it took a lot of work to diagnose and fix exactly what was wrong. This week we also looked at getting the app to sync with our server. In the past, the a user would have to close and reopen the app to get it to refresh. It would not sync automatically with the server, so videos that were recorded and added could not be seen by other users unless they closed the app and opened it again. This could be a big issue! We still haven’t been able to get this feature working entirely, but we are working hard to get the issue resolved.

On the front end of the app, we made some minor UI changes. We were able to add the logo into the app and we also swapped out the old time lapse video of the UT Tower with a new and improved video. The reason we had to switch the video out is because we found out there could be copyright issues with using the UT Tower! The University of Texas owns the rights to the Tower and we could get in pretty big trouble if we use it without their permission! Have no fear though, the new times lapse is pretty cool too as it features the area in front of the UT tower..

We really appreciate all of your patience with us this semester! This has been an interesting yet fun project for us, as none of us had any experience programming in swift or programming iOS applications. It’s definitely been a learning as we go process. That said, we’ve been trying to do what’s best for you all. Check out our new website that we also created this week. It’s a small, informative site that just gives information about Voyce and about our team. Please share it with your friends and family! To view, click here.

Below is a screenshot of the site.

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Thanks again for all of your patience and input! Please continue to be great in supporting us and reading our blog. We really do appreciate it. We’ll be sure to continue to post updates on our social media pages and we’ll let you know of major news here through this blog. Have a wonderful week everyone! Demo day is quickly approaching!

 

And On The Third Day, Snowball Was Still Not In The App Store.

Happy Easter!

Us after eating too many Peeps:

Just kidding, instead of munching on Peeps we snacked on some delicious XCode and chomped on some TestFlight runs. How did you guys spend your Easter weekend? We are working away at our app and presentation during the last two weeks left before Demo Day! There’s a lot to do and we’re still not in the App Store, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here we come, people! So, what did we do during this past week?

We Prepped For Demo Day
This week, we continued to prepare for the upcoming DEMO DAY! We’ve gone through and budgeted how we will spend our 10-minute presentation slot and have brainstormed some ways to make it fun and interactive for attendees! Want to know what we’re doing for Demo Day? You’ll have to come and find out for yourself! But FYI: There might be candy… and stickers! We would love for you to come meet us and see a demo of our app. We are happy to answers any questions you might have about our app. Plus, if you come you can see four other presentations about four other creative apps by our talented colleagues!

We Made Progress In Development
We’ve changed the joining story screen and managing invites screen to look how we want. Our goal is to have the blocking user functionality done early this week.

We have been speaking a lot lately about features that we have been building to make sure that we can get this thing into the App Store as quick as possible, but we have also been making changes to make the app more enjoyable to use. Our invite system is now completely functional, and the profile page is a little more user-friendly so users can easily access and differentiate between completed and ongoing stories.

Our “Completed Stories” also finally has a completed story:

(For reference, the prompt Jackie and Keun-woo went off of was: “So, a guy walks into a bar and realizes that when the joke ends, his hypothetical existence comes to an end.” h/t Reddit.)

As you may have gleaned, Jackie and her wonderful roommate Keun-woo got a little silly with the story, but we hope all of you feel like you can be silly too. This can be used seriously, or just for a fun activity with friends.

We Moved So Close To Submission We Can Almost Taste It
We are moving closer and closer to trying to submit the app again, and we have only one or two small features left before we can submit again. Since last week we have made our app iPad accessible. This was not a particularly important feature for us initially, but in order for an app to be accepted it needs to properly run on all Apple devices. Also, upon thinking about it further we realized that the iPad might actually be a fairly good place for use of our app because typing is actually slightly easier.

The second set of features we are very close to finishing is the features that Apple requires for User-generated content. Apple is very serious about people being able to control the content they see, which makes sense and so we have been busy creating a system which is easy to use and effective in blocking inappropriate users.

We are going to submit to the App Store again tomorrow once we have our blocking functionality working. We hope this time we will get the green light!

And Now, We’re Headed To HEB To Get All That Discount Easter Candy
Don’t forget to follow us Twitter and like us on Facebook! See you guys in the App Store soon!

Memory Cap Update

Hello MemoryCapers,

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We hope everyone is doing well and enjoying these last weeks of the semester. Here at Memory Cap we have been working pretty hard trying to get our app ready for the public. We have stumbled upon some roadblocks that have set us back; however, we are pushing through and are hoping for a simple and working app. Preparing for demo day, we have a few things we need to accomplish:

On the coding side we are yet to achieve a completed app, but as soon as we check a few things off Memory Cap should be ready to go.

  • Fix backpack page

  • Change photopicker

  • Add favorites feature

  • Allowing for some interactivity between users is important so adding a feature where a user can like other people’s time capsule is something we are aiming to accomplish. Originally we wanted to create an interface, where users can comment and react to other people’s capsules; however at this point we are going to add a like feature.

  • Have on TestFlight by April 16 at the latest

  • Add logout button

Communication Efforts

  • Video 4

  • Ideas: We are hoping to shoot our last promo and show the app working on a phone. Ideally for this video we want to record a montage of different people creating capsules and setting them to a location. If we are not able to get this idea going, then we still want to get as close as possible in showing the app and depicting the central theme of app: making time capsules.

  • Send out invites for testing

  • Getting feedback from potential users on how they like the functionality of our app is very important, because it will determine any adjustments we have to make to the app.

  • Demo Day presentation

  • 3 Blog posts (one each by journalism students for rest of semester)

Overall we have come a long way since the beginning of the semester and we are proud of what we have created thus far. We have definitely overcome serious obstacles and learned a lot during this process. Bao, our head coder has developed Memory Cap on his own, without previous experience coding an IOS app. That is very impressive and we send him a round of applause.

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The journalism students took on a bit of designing in Xcode, which was very interesting and definitely gave us insight as how much work goes behind building an app. The three of us took on a different screens that needed to be added to the app. We did the login page, icon bar, and create a capsule page. We hope that our efforts helped Bao out in the coding process.

As we near demo day–April 29–we are really doing everything possible to reach a point where wen can present a nice looking app that works. All of us at Memory Cap really like our app and are excited to show everyone what we spent the semester creating. We hope to see you at our demo day so that you can witness all the work we have done.

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Dresser hits the App Store

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Dresser is finally available on the App Store. Apple approved our final version of the app earlier this week, so the team met up for margaritas in West Campus to officially release it. We had to wait 48 hours before the app became available to others to download, but we were finally able to push it out on Wednesday. We’re going to spend the rest of the month sharing Dresser on social media. There will also be an updated version of Dresser before Demo Day on April 29. The final version will include stars on the three of your highest rated outfits. It will also allow users to find their friends through Facebook. It’s pretty difficult to find friends by their username right now. We’ve noticed that some people will download the app and then stop using it when they realize they can’t easily find friends.

During our initial launch of Dresser, we realized that people were unable to upload their profile photos. Ben immediately fixed the code and updated the app. He also made the thumbs up and down icons the same colors. We had a couple comments from people who were confused by the two different colors – some said that the teal thumb looked like it had been pressed. Then, Ben sent out a push notification to our users to let them know that they should download the latest version of Dresser to upload their own profile. It was an easy and quick fix for something that could’ve been a bigger deal in an initial app launch. Now, we have matching thumb icons and profile photos.

Our other biggest barrier so far is because the app is pretty hard to find just by searching “Dresser” in the App Store. We’ve had to direct people to the link in our Instagram bio so that they can download it. Hopefully it’s just because we need more downloads, but it could be because of our short app name. Let us know if you’ve had any experience with this.

The Dresser team is really excited about updated emojis and alerts throughout the app. We added a cute tag on the inbox that says “Get Dressin’” when your inbox is empty. The app also gives users an alert when their photo has been sent to a friend and when they rate a friend’s outfit. The whole team is really proud of Dresser! We hope you’re all impressed, too.

Demo Day is getting closer and closer. The team is meeting every week (and sometimes more) until April 29 to plan our script. Our presentation will include a live demo of Dresser and show the judges and audience the way that Dresser went from just an idea to an app that’s available for your iPhone. We’ve been brainstorming fun ways to show off the app before our presentation. We’ll have a photo booth set up so that people at Demo Day can meet the team and promote Dresser through their own social media account. The week after Demo Day, we’ll post photos on social media. In Austin that weekend? Come say hi!

Wired* sits down with the team behind Snowball for Q&A

Q&A with Snowball – Collaborative Storytelling
Wired* sat down with the folks in Austin behind the coolest new collaborative storytelling game to get a quick update on their progress.

*We wish. This is us asking ourselves questions and us answering them again.

We heard you guys have an exciting announcement!
We do! Big news: Demo Day is in two weeks! We’ve been inviting everyone we know to the Facebook event. We really would love to see you guys there! We are going to show off our app to a panel of judges and the public and then answer any questions you might have. We will briefly explain how we created the app and show you how it works live on one of our phones! We hope to see you there. Invite your friends, your roommates, your classmates, your mom, and anyone else you might think of.

Bigger news: Our third promotional video is live!

OK, so this isn’t really bigger news, since this was a deadline that we had to meet anyway. But this still felt big, because we changed our video style a bit.

How did you do that?
This third video marked the first time we relied entirely on strangers, silent acting and editing to illustrate how Snowball works. From one day at Thunderbird Coffee, we were able to ask enough people to star in our Very Exclusive Promo Video, and also got a few followers through that. (Marketing and audience expansion hack: feature strangers in your campaign, and at least they will pay attention to the app!)

Jackie learned Adobe After Effects for the first time in her life, and though video is still not her strong suit, she’s definitely learning from this experience. We also learned that coming up with stories is really fun and not everyone gets your sense of humor, but that’s why you collaborate with friends on Snowball – Collaborative Storytelling.

So, are you guys in the App Store yet?
No, we still are not officially in the App Store, as we want to avoid another needless rejection and cover all our bases first. This week the app made steps toward much greater usability. A common pitfall in app development we’ve realizes is simulator syndrome.

What is simulator syndrome?
Simulator syndrome is a problem that happens when developers rely too heavily using the simulator at the expense of checking how their app functions on an actual phone. As a writing heavy app, Snowball obviously relies heavily on the iPhone keyboard for much of its content, as that is the only way for people to write down their ideas/entries. Since we suffered from simulator syndrome, we accidentally tested the app far more than we should have on the simulator. So we did not take into account the software keyboard and are now paying for that mistake. We have been going through the app and writing code to move the screen up and down to avoid being blocked by the keyboard and make the writing experience much smoother.

What else have you guys done?
We’ve also made steps in adding one of our final features. Users can now manage their invites to join stories through the profile tab. On the “manage invites” screen, users are presented with a list of invites with an option to accept or decline them. This invite feature essentially gives our app a social networking aspect to it as friends can now have a direct way connecting with each other. For an even further exclusive experience amongst friends, authors of stories could have an option to mark stories as private upon creation and others could only join by invite.

We also polished some of the screen on the profile. A new custom segmented control shows user’s stories that fit the app’s theme. The profile screen now shows a brief first few sentences of every stories regardless of user’s choice of using precoded prompt or not (before it only shows if user uses a precoded prompt, but not their own story). We enhance user’s profile picture with more accurate scale, but it’s still not perfect. The bug in the “all,” “complete” and “incomplete” sections of the profile page we discussed last week was also fixed, and we rescaled the measurement of all the tables and cells to enhance readability and clarity.

We can’t wait to see you at Demo Day when we, the people of Wired, will totally, for sure be there!
Thanks! We can’t wait to show you all our app!

Repped submits to the App Store!!

This was a big week for Repped! We submitted to the app store! We were nervous as of Monday morning because our TestFlight had been a bit buggy, but Kevin and Wes muscled through it and we were able to submit to the app store on time! We haven’t heard back on whether or not we’ve been approved, but we’re thinking happy thoughts about it :) Hopefully we’ll hear soon.

Even though we submitted to the app store Monday, Kevin and Wes have continued to work on updating the app. Here’s some of their coding accomplishments from this week:

  • Fixed some concurrency issues in the home screen

    • Even though we cache user info now, we check the database for any updates on their friends-list

  • Fixed a couple UI bugs in the home screen

  • Planning to delve into the room and jams screen this coming week

  • Put together a detailed list of functionality goals, UI goals, and bug fixes we want to accomplish before demo day

This week we also shot our third video. This one was a bit more serious than our first two, but we’re really excited about it because it’s a demo of the first version of our app. We think the audience will get a much better feel from this video what using Repped would really be like for them. Hopefully it will make people want to download our app too :) You can check it out here: https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos .

We had a big week in class too, as we had our end of sprint 3 demo due on Monday. This one felt super important as it was our last demo in class before the public demo day.

Wednesday in class we did a cool exercise with the other groups where everyone took a turn pitching someone else’s app. It was really fun hearing other people excited about pitching our app. Here’s a peek at what a few people described Repped as:

As we continue on getting closer and closer to demo day, here are some of our goals for sprint 4:

  • Despite already submitting to the app store, we still have a lot of bugs to tweak and functionality to improve. Our main focus will be to work on the Room/Jams section of the app to ensure it is robust and operating correctly. With that said, we will be pushing up new builds of the app to TestFlight often and updating our version of the app on the App Store.

  • As we continue to improve the app, getting more users outside of our team to test our app is becoming increasingly important. We hope to follow in the footsteps of Snowball in getting more active testers for our app.

  • We will continue to improve the front-end user interface of our app. We will take into consideration some of the feedback Jeff gave the class, as well as possibly leverage some third party frameworks in order to speed up our development progress in this area. Our main goal is to improve the UI as much as possible by the time Demo Day arrives.

Overall we’re very happy with our accomplishments this week, relieved to have finally submitted to the app store, and excited for the coming weeks and demo day!

 

 

 

Voyce was approved!!!

What’s up everyone!

We are very excited to tell you that the build we uploaded to the app store was approved! Unfortunately we aren’t quite ready to release it, but at least we now know how to get everything uploaded properly! We don’t want to release just yet because we know there is a lot more work to do. We here at team Voyce want you all to have the best first impression of our application as possible. You all should be expecting us to release an updated build by our next blog post. Be sure to watch our social media accounts as we will post information about our releases there.

This past Monday we crammed and worked hard to get Voyce uploaded and submitted for app review, so we took a very short break from working on the app. It was a well deserved break and I know our computer science team who has been working so hard on the app really enjoyed the day off.

That said, we were back working hard on Wednesday. The team came up with a long list of all the technical items we would like to complete before our next build release. Some of those items include integrating the UI from our mockups, making sure every button within Voyce is functioning, changing some of the aesthetic looks of the video information screen, implementing a better functioning back button on the video viewing screen and adding a block feature so that users can block other accounts they are not comfortable with.

On the marketing side of Voyce, we will be creating an informational website about the application, what it does and all of its features. We have not purchased a domain name just yet, but as always, please stay on the lookout on our social media for updates. We will post it there as soon as we have the information! We also created another commercial for Voyce. This one is our favorite so far! You can view it below!

We have our Demo Day coming up very soon. This will be a day where we show off all of our hard work on Voyce. Members of the public and of the UT community will come together to see all of the apps our class has created. We hope to see you all there! We will be busy these next couple of weeks not only getting Voyce ready, but also preparing for Demo Day. The date is set for Saturday April, 29 from noon to 3 p.m. Join us and be entertained by not just Voyce but other apps from our classmates including Dresser, Snowball, Repped and MemoryCap.

Where has all the time gone?

It’s official, we have submitted our app to the app store and we are awaiting approval from Apple. We have come a long way since day one, but we still need your help to ensure we make the best app possible. The following is list for you to help better our app.

  1. Test our app using TestFlight – even though our app isn’t yet available, we have a demo that you can test. The sign up is simple. Fill out this google form with your name and email and we will send you an invite to our app.
  2. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates – Want to know when our app is going to be available in app store? Twitter is the go-to place. Not only is that where you can find the latest news surrounding our app, but you can also reach out to us for any questions you have.
  3. Leave us feedback – Our app can only be great if you like and enjoy it. For that, we need your feedback. Let us know what works and what doesn’t. Even if that means letting us know what’s missing, we want to hear what you have to say. When you sign up to test our app on TestFlight, a follow-up email for feedback will be sent to you.

Introducing our newest video:

For our third video, we wanted to take the next step towards revealing our app. If you remember, in video one we introduced the idea of our app. In our second video, we showcased the possibilities of our app and the memories you could save. In our latest video, it is all about the memories. We all have that special memory we wish we could have encapsulated. Share yours on our Twitter in short video to be showcased at an upcoming event.

Demo Day 2017

On April 29, we will be introducing our app alongside fellow classmates who have been working hard on their own apps. Other apps include: Repped (a unique way to share music and listen to music with friends), Voyce (a social discussion app), Snowball (a collaborative storytelling game) and Dresser (an app that allows you to vote on your friends’ outfits)

Be there to meet the team, learn about our app and see a live demo. A scavenger hunt using our app is in the works and there will be a prize for the winner.

Directors Cut: Karla Benitez takes you behind the scenes of her editing of video 3

“This week we filmed and edited our third promo video. We are serious about following through the share your favorite memory campaign, which is why we deiced to film people sharing their favorite memory with us. Overall, we wanted to create a quick and simple video that could possibly encourage viewers and potential users to engage with us. MemoryCap has come a long way and as we reach demo day, we hope to continue creating content that will inspire the public to take an interest in our app. We really hope you enjoy our promo and watch this space for our last promo.”

From all of us at Alternative Apps we hope to see you at our demo day.

 

Dresser launches promo video, completes beta testing

Dresser is just days away from being available in the App Store! We don’t have an exact date, but we’ve submitted our final version to Apple. This was after a full week of user testing. Shoutout to our eight testers who took to TestFlight this week to check out Dresser. We had a fun time using Dresser with our testers to send outfits and vote on our favorite clothes. It helped us figure out what was making the app crash and gave us inspiration for the design of the app. For example, our testers discovered that Dresser would crash if you clicked on an old notification of a deleted photo. The code was immediately corrected and now Dresser is bug free!

Check out three main pages below which show the user profile, photo ratings and notifications.

The middle photo is what the user sees while reviewing a photo they’ve sent to friends. The teal and white boxes keep track of how users are rating each photo. We hope this will help you decide whether or not to wear an outfit. If you’ve been following along with our blog posts, you’ll know that the user profiles are private. You won’t have to worry about your friends seeing how others have voted on your outfits!

The newest updates to the app are the result boxes on private photos, updated emojis on every page and credits within the settings page. Our beta testers won’t see some of these tweaks until Dresser is live.

In other news, our latest promo video is available for your viewing! We were finally able to show people using Dresser in the video. Hannah shot and edited the entire video this week. She used a royalty free track and no voices again, which make the video a little more professional. It’s also much easier to edit and get online in a short time period. This video shows four different people using Dresser before they go out. They take photos of their outfits, get ratings from their friends, and then walk out the door in their clothes. We know, we know, the “Available in the App Store” tagline at the end of the video is a little premature, but we’re pretty sure that Apple will approve Dresser this week. We’ll push the video out more over social media when it’s available. Check it out:


The entire team is thrilled about this video, and it could potentially be the video we show off while promoting Dresser on demo day. We still have one more video coming, though. Our fourth and final promo video will be posted in a couple weeks. We’re expecting the last video to be an iPhone screen that’s recorded while someone using Dresser. A lot of brands do these kind of “walkthroughs” for videos so that viewers know exactly what the app can do. What do you think? Send us an email at dresserstyleapp@gmail.com or reach out to us on social media @dresserstyleapp. We have plenty of new friends on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t miss more content from the team on those sites!