Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Indie

Hey guys, or just myself, or future's self, or any software developer like me.

So I went indie since 2013. I quit from a local software development company which I had been working for almost 3 years since 2010. I worked one month after I got back from Tokyo University of Technology in Computer Science. You get the math. By the way, I made app called 'Calc Drill' before I enter the company. So I learned iOS (iPhone OS) since year 4 in the university. I think I made so little progress by learning by myself back-then. Yet still have some progress, like having the 'Calc Drill' app.

I would say that during my work at the company I learnt a lot man. There are geniuses behind the company. It's only you to seek out and ask questions.

I think by having a client, it's really pushed the team to work your ass off. It can be from scale 4 to 10. Sometime it's easy, sometime it's so headache and can hurt you. But you gotta still do it.

But, however, when you are indie, like me, you may divide your work to i. your own product and ii. servicing.

i, your own product, which something that it's up to you to do it, it's your execution, your idea, or emulate someone's idea, your advantage, your liabilities to make it hot, your assets, your time and so on. It's your craft, your baby, it's special. You shall care about it. You learn from it. You make it proper business, which give you financial benefit for you to sustain. Get feedback from your customer, and try to improve your products better.

ii. you work for someone else on your expertise to gain financial benefit. And personal growth and satisfaction, being respected of your work. Follow the stakeholders lead to solve their problems. Sometime they are blurry with software, you need to advise them yea. It give some synergy to work, working with team make your keep update with latest technology trends.

I would like to do some pro and cons, but maybe next time. It would be a long discussion. But in summary, it's important to have both, but you decide what it's the ratio. Like now maybe I am with i:70% ii:30%.

It's been a wonderful journey, and I would say that this is possible because of the audience, app users, iPhone users, Apple Watch users who interested with my or our products. People love the product, use it, having benefit from it, and we provide premium as business model. We help people with their device.

I will keep make new things, I have desire to be more, I must to achieve more. Apple users are like a billion worldwide, which is, 1_000_000_000_000. Good iPhone users maybe like 50 millions. Shall I make your day better guys with my products. Yeah, I will work ass off for that.

ps: May be I should write in Japanese sometime. (時々日本語で書きたいなと思います)

Hijazi,
iReka Soft

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

MY PrayerTimes App for iOS, watchOS and tvOS

Alhamdulillah, I have released MY PrayerTimes app for iOS, watchOS and tvOS.

It's has some good feedback from family and friends when I shared it on my social network. It's quite heartwarming.

Overall the app is simple yet, has a crucial functionality which is can stay offline and the widget can be used all year around without having to sync with main app.

Now, because some other friend has done things like this, they asked how do I implement to get the data. My answer is to crawl the JAKIM website and export it as CSV file then loaded into the app.

And we have some trouble with the data. It's not consistent. And some are missing. By having the CSV files, I do again checked all the data to see the coherency of the data. Since it's format that is not UNIX type I can discern any oddities.

Other thing to use is the spare iPhone to manipulate the time. It's crucial to check on that particular date and time in the future to test the code is it right or not.

Recent problem after I released the app, I realize the some Zohor time can have 11:XX am time. So it's like a hybrid mode. For this, I made a special checking for Zohor if it's hour is 11 then I don't plus 12 hour. As normal, this app assume the data, is in 12hr, if not it will fix from 24hr to 12hr upon putting into the memory.

Also for tvOS I have change the background highlight color so it will be more visible on current time.

OK thanks for writing this. See you on the next post.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Feb Updates, Nightstand, FaceClock Calendar and New MY PrayerTimes App

Hey, let revisit what happening to the world of iReka Soft with App Store. Currently on Apple App Store.

I have updated Nightstand app, it was due 2 years since it's first released. It some so-so in-app purchase, so why not to update it for iPhone X, and importantly to upgrade the mechanism for the alarm. I used UserNotification framework which released for iOS 10, to replace the old mechanism of sending local notifications. I think that is loads of codes to support the app as a alarm clock.

It's because the old API lacks of knowing what are the pending notifications and how to handle it properly. And it's a struggle to write for it, it took longest time to code and test. But still I made mistake / bugs on that. It was not working well, as I heard from reviews.

Another thing is the FaceClock Calendar. It's especially for iPhone X. iPhone X has new aspect ratio, and the app has a grid system that detect the aspect ratio and will arrange according to a specific rules. Well, when I boot up the app for natively run iPhone X, the clocks and calendar did not appear because there is not stated rules for 4x8 or 8x4 grid. Well I have to added it to make them reappear. Well, that was the story of FC Calendar. I think it's a pretty cool app. But the settings menu is quite boring.

And, and another exciting thing for this month is, I submitted a new app for the App Store. It's call codename 'My Waktu Solat'. It's a prayer time for Malaysia from locations that available from JAKIM. I think maybe this is the first app that I wish to produce for mobile. So it was so long delay, with technical constraint and also soul constraints. I maybe don't have clue how to finish the app. Recently I just had a call on how to have a final look.

This is what the problem, I was not sure how to do the final UI. I can play around with UI but did not realize how to finalize it. Since it's a personal project, I may delay it as soon I get the call. So finally I seems to get the call to finish it. And today I submitted to the App Store. Just wait few days to get approved.

I want to talk bit more about 'My Waktu Solat', the final name will be different, but similar. I make it works on iOS for iPhone and iPad, it also has Today Widget which is cool. On top of that it support Apple Watch. And additionally it has Apple TV app. So by far this is most complete suite of apps for Apple for this title. Even-though the app is simple but wide in term of devices.

OK lets wait for few days to get notified whether the app get approve or not.

Peace out.


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Engineering Difficulties

Hey. It's me Hijazi, from iReka Soft. I just want to write something when I do project, I often face difficulties in software development. And, it's stressful, time consuming, blurred, some dizzyness and sometime become negative like giving up.

I actually face some here, I am updating the 'Nightstand' app. I think I published 2 years ago, but I decide to update for iPhone X, and update with recent API, which is UserNotifications. I wanted to replace the old implementation to the recent API as it's more flexible and predictable.

Back to the title, I am facing difficulties, well I am not want to tell what about is it, but how do I gonna handle it.

I will take more time on those problems. Research it, testing it, write code just for testing this and that to make it work as expected.

If I have difficulties when I with a team, it's quite hard when you being requested for another thing, changing stuff. Well, on this particular time, things can be more stressful, because you are in the time to fix stuff that are not working properly, and being asked to do more other thing, well, this is a disguise cost, if it does not complex at first but quite complex on implementation. It can be trap sometime. So be careful guys.

OK, so I am gonna be debugging this app while enjoying watching YouTube.

Regards,
Hijazi

Monday, 1 January 2018

Welcome 2018!

Hello 2018. Well we have just entered a brand new year - 2018. And it's just like what we have expected, in about 12 months coming we will enter 2019 :)

As business person, it's important to reflect and set better goal for this year and of course to target for more, not to resting our laurels. Like bicycle we cannot stop to cycle otherwise it will fall.

Firstly, I am really grateful with what I have right now. Family, businesses, friends, assets, knowledge, skills, health, mind, network and many other little things.

Next it is to propel the works and make it valuable. Because I am in the international / global business, I am aware that the players and competitor are around the world. It's super competitive business and definitely not going to be easy. People are not in this area are kind of not understand, how as businessman has to withstand the challenge.

Despite all the challenge, we, I still have fun, balancing the hard work with enjoyment, relaxation while doing good work.

# A Lifestyle Device 

Well this is not an overstatement but as a reminder for me that the smartphone is something that people own it to improve their lifestyle in essence.

Smartphone basically trumps normal laptops in sales. Smartphone especially from Apple are quite expensive. And when people bought a 'expensive' smartphone, they will think many times to buy a laptop. Many people will happy just only using smartphone. Well it's a market for normal user want to have more with their smartphone.

# Trends. Character. Maturity of the Mobile Software

Mobile software is super big. In term of usability, features, share-bility, user experience, in general it's getting better and better. Big companies jump in, indies also come in, me included, into bringing best apps to the market.

Trends on software nowadays is providing software as service - or SaaS. Simply put as a subsciption to your software by monthly or yearly. On app store perspective here i can say, well i make an app that i sell out outright for $1 forever, I can make more money by charging $1 / year. So I make more money every year people are keep subscribing on it. However to create a software that people willing to subscribe is a challenge. There is a way to do that.

Another thing to mention is characteristic of the app. Some app can be funny or have animal-related theme like Bear or Yak. I am not sure why but it seems to easier to pick up by Apple. I can do some experiment on that as well. Fire-up some illustrator.

# Motivation

Motivation is motive + action. This part it's bit scary but we will through it somehow.

OK, now just let expect 2018 to be a great year. Here now I am still Apple huge customer. I bought many last year latest products. And this year Apple definitely launch yet new products like new iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apple Watch etc. It's a testament that they are keep improving even-though we thought their products already the best. They keep do the RND and produce even better product. For me it's something that I am learning from them and I do that.

OK, have a awesome year of 2018, I love you all, keep smiling :)


Saturday, 30 December 2017

Moving Forward: 2018

2018 is just around corner and definitely what we will have by next year is determined by what we plan and the knowledge and skill we acquired by far.

iReka Soft has learnt so much thing in mobile apps development, but yet many more things to learn.

Overall I always wanted to create world-class mobile apps that can be enjoyed and loved by many people in the world with matured and exceptional products.

The revenue for iReka Soft are servicing, paid app, in-app purchase and also ads, in mobile apps development iOS (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV), Android and also macOS.

For year 2018, iReka Soft is expected to deep dive into Apple ecosystem, which are iOS and macOS. Android experience is something great but I have to decide to focus more into things that I personally enjoyed and need more focus until it's really a success.

I think developing Android app was a incredible journey. I made severals Android apps for Google Play with Android Studio, Android Studio is better than Eclipse, and I scored some jobs on Android, developed and published Android apps that garner 4~ stars with 10k downloads for local-targetted app. But personally, I appreciate what I have learnt, maybe someday I will open back Android chapter or can collaborate with more skill person in Android. I love Android, but it's a decision for more focus on Apple technologies.
Let's talk a little bit more into techs.

## Swift / Objective-C

Although I love Swift 3, 4 but I need to maintain still profitable yet veteran apps, I must keep using Objective-C. Alongside with Swift, which is clean and simple to moving forward.

## Laravel (PHP)

On the other side, I will also keep coding for backend with Laravel and with front-end code with HTML/CSS.

With internal system IRIS, I will use that for managing mobile apps backend. Which is important to get feedback or give the data to the mobile apps.

I will also maintain WordPress for iRekaSoft.com website.

Firebase is in my sight to use it. It's so crucial to combine with Google stack for mobile development. Firebase can do many things nowadays.

## Google / Firebase

Will keep using AdMob and also will do research on Facebook Audience Network.

## Video marketing

Well this can be skill I can say, video marketing is crucial to promote apps nowadays on social media. I don't want to say more but wait for more quality video and good audio coming from us.

## App Design UI/UX

Something that I keep doing this is to have a good UI. With iPad Pro, I will sketch down the idea with some good fidelity to have the good result.

Alright that's for now for 2018 forecast write up. There is still a lot to learn and to capture market by bringing good value to the world.

Peace out.

Thanks 2017!

2017 is a best year so far for us at iReka Soft. Although it's a mix between up and down but overall and revenue wise it's still some of the best year.

Here are some highlight:

- Expense App released early this year, iterated throughout the year with Apple Watch app and iPhone X support.
- FaceClock Analogue continuous improvement.
- various cool iOS projects
- Android project, however I decided will close shop for Android development. Will collaborate with other developer for Android development. I will focus on iOS development.
- Teaching Laravel course to MAMPU
- MyHolidays app for iPhone and iPad with 2018 data.

And also some stuff happened in 2017:

- Taught iOS for 2 classes with DevCon in Magic, Cyberjaya.
- Collaboration with REKA, Xfero and Etikaf.
- Strengthen developer community in Cyberjaya.

Courses that I have attended:

- IMKK
- Design Code 2
- ARKit Course
- WWDC17 (videos)

In summary:

In mobile development, the competition is worldwide and it's huge. Although the development and publishing become easier, but to have the quality on the bar it's a challenge. iOS has the platform that is more controllable in terms of quality, therefore I will go from iOS to another platform step-by-step. It's not to mention Android has more user base but it's also super fragmented and hard to cater all of the devices. So I will go deep and deeper with iOS development and content creation.

With collaboration around my logistic, it's clear that having more right people can make the development for client can be less painful.

I am so grateful for this year of 2017, it's something that I have the result from what I have built for the past couple years and also paving ways for the next years to come.

Thanks 2017. I will end this year by chill out with family.

Indie

Hey guys, or just myself, or future's self, or any software developer like me. So I went indie since 2013. I quit from a local softwar...