Sunday, January 3, 2010

Updated website, finally

It's been needed for a while now, but I finally got around to updating my website. Funny thing about websites, they don't seem to take the priority they deserve, since we're usually about doing things to make money. However, what we often fail to remember, is we use the web to drive sales. In my case, I use sites to drive people to buy my iPhone apps. I've had little success with this, but that's probably because my sites were, well, horrible ;)
So, after lots of time researching tools, I picked one that I think will do the job quite well, one called RapidWeaver, which I bought from, and saved $30 over The new sites look great, and now have a uniform look and feel throughout the entire site.
So, here's the sites and products they promote:
The first iPhone App is for the iPhone Bracket Manager, a tool I created almost by accident. The funny thing is, I never intended it to have more than about 10 downloads, so I used it to learn Objective-C; basically just hacked together an app, and put it on the store for free. I built it because one of the guys I bowl with was doing brackets by hand, and using playing cards to create pairings for those brackets. As you can imagine, using 8 playing cards (A - 8) to determine a random shuffling of numbers 1 - 8 can be complicated, and as a result, we often had the same people bowling against each other in different brackets. So, I started out to build just a number randomization to do the shuffle, and ended up making a bracket manager. I had over 300 downloads the first week, and about 600 the first month. To date, I've had about 4000 downloads of that first app.
Seeing a potential market, I decided to try to capitalize on the success of the Bracket Manager, but the code wasn't written in a way I could easily extend it. So, I did what any masochistic developer would do. I rewrote it. Completely. Well, not quite completely, but close. I did keep about 15 lines of code. I rewrote it so I could extend it to do other things. The design probably isn't the best yet, but it's good enough, and in development, sometimes good enough is in fact, good enough. The result was a completely redesigned bracket man, and a "Pro" version, the iPhone Bracket Manager Pro. This version took everything I learned while rewriting bracket man, and put it to good use. This time, instead of just a simple single elimination bracket, I also support a double elimination bracket, which was one of the big complaints I've seen in this type of software on phones, lack of double elimination brackets. I figured, as a new iPhone developer, but very experienced developer, it shouldn't be too hard. It wasn't, but the learning curve on more Objective-C did extend my time line a little more than I wanted. The first app took about 6 weeks to get out from scratch. The redesign and pro version, took all of about a month to do both of them, and get them out the door.
The next one, I decided to take on the exciting world of Basketball statistics with the iPhone Basketball Stats Manager. This one, as I've written about before, was a lot bigger than I anticipated, and after a few months of hard work, I finally got it out the door. Sales haven't been stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but they've been OK, about 60 copies in the first month. Not what I'd say is write home about good, but better than I'd expected. I have a couple of updates to get out on this one, one of which is ready and should be submitted to the app store this week. The other will be ready in a few weeks. This should keep it on the "Just Released" section of the app store just a little longer and hopefully increase sales.
That brings us up to date on what's happening in my world, I'll have more posts coming in the next few days with more exciting news from my iPhone development world!

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