Hello Scott is Live!

Hello Scott

In case you are wondering, the picture above is showing what the “Hello Scott” app looks like in the Apple App Store. That means it’s now official, my app is now available on iOS! A big thanks to Apple for approving it! Also a big thanks to Todd Perkins for his useful and easy to follow instructional videos on lynda.com (link will take you to his videos).

Last year I began working on creating my own app. I even briefly considered in majoring in Computer Science in order to improve my app building skills, which turned out not to be my thing. However, before that, I was working on the “Hello Scott” app. For those of you who aren’t aware, the idea came from an April Fools joke about two years ago. The What’s Up Scott? App was one of my favorite joke posts, but it did get me thinking. What about an app for my blog?

Apps are a big deal these days and much like websites, everyone seems to have one. Well, at least most commercial institutions seem to have one. It wasn’t sure how hard it would be to create my own app, but why not give it a shot? Thus the idea of “Hello Scott” was born. At first, I thought the best thing to do was to create an app that gave people access to the main content on my blog. I started learning about the basics of Xcode from Todd Perkins’ videos. Some of the videos were slightly outdated, not a surprise since tech companies update their software constantly. Thankfully, I was still able to get through the videos without much trouble.

I learned how to make a calculator app, which was fun and easy. It’s not really something that people would want to download, but it was a good way to start coding. I was able to learn other aspects of Xcode and I even toyed with creating my own video game for iOS. Haha, that’s more complicated. I did start using Unity, which is software for game designers and I tried Game Maker Studio. Unity seems like a better platform.

Sadly, I haven’t stuck with app or software development as of late, but after working on “Hello Scott” for as long as I did, I realized recently that it was pretty much done. I still need to learn about debugging. Xcode kind of does some of that automatically; it tells you if the app can run or not. However, I think I could improve the code and make it faster and use less memory. Let me go over the features real quick:

First, the app begins with a nice loading screen. It’s a photo of me outside, squinting. In just a few seconds, the app loads the main screen.

Main Screen

 

Here we see the first tab. It shows the main page on my blog. From here, you can see all of my most recent posts and by scrolling down with your finger, you can see older ones. It’s essentially just like browsing my blog with an internet browser. In fact, that’s really what my app is, an internet browser, except that you only have access to certain sites.

There are four tabs in total. One for my website, and the others for Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Each tab is related to me in some way. They are linked to my social media accounts, allowing users to see what I’ve said online. The Twitter and Linkedin pages are my real, personal accounts while the Facebook tab is linked to this website’s page, so not my personal Facebook page.

The app has some functionality. You can easily switch between tabs at the bottom and there’s a navigation bar. On the “Most Recent” tab there are navigation buttons for forward and back. I did have those buttons on the other tabs during the beta test, but I found them unreliable. For some reason, they work fine on the main tab, but when I had them on the other tabs they would not function properly, often times not moving forward or backward. So, for the release version, I removed them. Hopefully I will be able to figure out the issue and update the app in the future.

I think the best feature of “Hello Scott” is that it allows users to log in to their social media accounts right from the app. Tired of using separate apps for Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin? Now you can check your own feeds from one app! I really like being able to check Linkedin without using their app, since it often has pop-ups asking me to find new people, which gets really annoying.

For the Twitter tab, once you log in to your twitter account, you can easily tap the back arrow on the website and see what the latest tweets are from your own feed. And by hitting the home button on the tab, you can go right back to my Twitter feed. Heck, you can even login to your WordPress account and blog from my app!

What’s next? Well I have to update my website to add an Apple Store icon and link to the app. Then I’m going to start working on the Android version of the app. I’ll first start designing the UI and the different tabs. Once I do that, I’ll have to learn how to write the code so the different tabs can work as a “web view.” Hopefully it will be similar to how I did it in Xcode. Once I’ve created the app, I’ll be ready for the beta stage, where I’ll need to test out the app. I’m sure I can get my Android friends to help test it out! But for now, I’m celebrating. 🙂

 

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Hello Scott Update 1.2

 

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The new loading screen.

It’s time for the first major patch to my new app! I’m also happy to point out that there’s a new page on this site dedicated to the app which tells you all you want to know about my app in development. I won’t go in-depth about what the app does, but check out the page if you want to learn about it. I will tell you about some new features coming to the app. What are they you ask?

  • Improved navigation bar – Now has a refresh and home button. Perfect for times when its necessary to reload the current page in view or if you want to go back to the “home” page.
  • Back and forward buttons start disabled – While still not working as intended, the idea is that the buttons should not be usable unless there is a page the user can move to either forward or backward. I think the app might use too much memory, but I’m still looking into it.
  • Loading screen – There’s now a regular loading screen. Subject to change.
  • New LinkedIn tab – Connect with me on LinkedIn!

Working on this app has been on of the most frustrating experiences in recent years, haha. However, I’m enjoying the feeling I get when I figure out how to implement a feature or fix an error in my code. It’s a slow learning curve, but with enough work on this app, I should be well on my way to learning Swift in Xcode.

 

Hello Scott

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It’s time to announce the official name of my new app, “Hello Scott.” The app, as I have mentioned before, is designed specifically for this website. It allows users to view the mobile version of my website and includes a search feature, so you can search blog posts right from the app. There’s two additional tabs that link to my Twitter account and the scottdavidbrown.com Facebook account.

The beta version is currently available to test for the iPhone. If you’re interested, e-mail me at SDBman@cox.net with your name and e-mail address. I’ll add you to my beta program and send you a link. You first have to download the TestFlight app (totally free) and then download my app from TestFlight. The beta test will last at least a couple of months as I add new features and make any necessary changes.

I’m excited to see what happens with this app!