dasdom

1. Aug 2019

Phy Update

tl;dr: I put an update of my first app to the App Store. 10 years after it first got approved.

Story Time

10 years ago my first app got approved in the App Store. This changed my life.

At the time I worked at the university as a physics teacher. And I needed a physics formulary on my new iPod touch. There is an app for that, right? There had been formulary apps in the App Store. But they didn't fit my needs. So I tried to build my own.

Back in the days apps had been written in Objective-C (ObjC). So I tried to learn ObjC and failed. A few month later I met a former colleague who showed me his app in the App Store, a rain radar.

I thought, if he can do it, I can do it. This time I bought a book about development of iPhoneOS apps. Fortunately an example project in the book was kind of what I liked to build. From that example I hacked the first version of my formulary.

And with hacked I really mean hacked. The example in the book only had one view controller for a list of items stored in a plist. I needed several lists. So I put all the code for all the lists in that one view controller. This was my first massive view controller. I guess creating a massive view controller is some kind of initiation ceremony.

Then it was time to put it into the world by submitting it to the App Store. All good names had already been taken and I'm really bad in naming stuff. So I chosed the name Phy. As expected a bad name. :D Strangely enough the app was successful. I made a lot of money from it. At least for my standards. (The best month was about $1500 before taxes.)

Changing Careers

I loved my job as a physics teacher. But it bugged me that I only could code in my spare time. What if I could write code 8 hours a day and get paid for it. That would be awesome!

My girlfriend lived in an other city and we finally decided to move in together. I applied for different jobs related to teaching physics but also for a few job offers as iPhoneOS developer.

Luckily I got an interview with a small agency creating apps for other companies. I proudly showed my formulary in the interview and got the job. Mainly because there was no one else who could write apps for iPhone and iPad. I'm very thankful for this opportunity especially as I know to day how bad my code was at that time.

What Happened To Phy

Years went by and Phy started to look bad on new iPhones. I tried to rewrite it from scratch several times but lost interest early each and every time. And finally a few years ago I had to pull it from the App Store because of the quality initiative by Apple.

Last year I decided to try to get it back to the App Store. But this time I used the old and really bad ObjC code. I fixed the bugs I knew of and rewrote some view controllers using ObjC.

This time I made it! I got Phy into a state where it could be resubmitted to the App Store.

The Special App

Phy is special for me. It made me a developer. The code was (and partly is) really really bad. But this is not that important. It allowed me to become an iOS developer. Today I'm able to support my family by coding ObjC and Swift. That is awesome!

What I Learn From The Update

Nice and clean code doesn't count much if you don't finish it. Sometimes it's easier to work with what you have. Bad working ObjC code is better than Swift 2 code not compiling anymore because it's older than 2 years.

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