My latest app is now on the iTunes App Store. The app, 2Calc, is a two’s complement calculator, so it isn’t exactly a mainstream thing. However, its release is part of a “clean up” I did with my apps. It was also a chance for me to try building an app in Swift.
About The App
The app is a two’s complement calculator, which is the type of math the CPU on your computer actually performs. In real life, we do “decimal math”, but a computer doesn’t understand that natively. It works with binary numbers, and it takes software to make a computer do math in a way that’s useful for normal people.
So who would need or want this app? I expect the main users will be people new to computer software and computer engineering, who are learning the in’s and out’s of computers. Some veterans might find it helpful (if only because it can also help with conversion between different number bases). It is clearly a technologist-oriented tool.
As part of building this app, I also decided to take some of my older apps off the app store. They really weren’t selling anyways, and I haven’t updated them in years. I may circle back and revisit one of them (the app for calculating compression ratios and such for engines), but I have other apps I want to work on first.
This app was also a chance to work with Swift instead of Objective-C. While I generally like the language, I’m not convinced some of the newer elements are as big a deal as Apple and others make them out to be (frankly, some look like a way to try to get “multiple inheritance” without actually calling it multiple inheritance). It’s a topic for another day, but I will say that working in Swift is pretty good. XCode needs some work to better support it (you can’t refactor class and variable names automatically the way you can in Objective-C).
Oh, and for those wondering: yes, this is the app where I found the iOS bug that I recently discussed. At first I thought it was a problem related to Swift or Core Data, but when I saw the same problem in an Objective-C version (and not using Core Data), it was then that I realized it wasn’t the language environment or Core Data, it was something else.
Reviews Are Now MUCH Faster
Now, some iOS developers are probably wondering “how much faster is the app review process?” Apple recently announced they have streamlined reviews in an attempt to get apps reviewed, with either feedback or approval, within 2 days from submission. It appears to be a push to try to make the app store experience better for developers, and to help Apple continue to increase app store revenue.
Well, it is definitely faster. As in a lot faster. My past apps, about as simple functionally as 2Calc, would typically require 5-7 days from submission to approval (with the review process taking 1-2 of those days). I submitted 2Calc for approval Friday afternoon. Apple started reviewing it about 10:15am today (yes, on a Sunday) and it was approved by about 11:00am today (yes, Sunday!). The total time from submission to approval was less than two days, and the approval time was about 45 minutes.
Now, some of this shouldn’t be a surprise. The app itself is pretty simple, with the bulk of the UI involving the “calculator” bit. It doesn’t use any extra libraries or extensions, and doesn’t require anything like Bluetooth, iCloud or GameCenter. Had it included more sophisticated functionality, I expect the review might have taken a little longer.
On To The Next Thing
My next thing is to get a handle on building apps for the Apple Watch, and then the new Apple TV. I have an idea for a game, and I think it needs to be on those platforms, as well as on iOS and the Mac. After that, we’ll see. I may look at a Mac version of 2Calc, and I may also explore putting some of these apps on Android. But for now, it’s about learning about a popular wearable device and continuing to explore Swift.