MyPrayerMap update v2.0.1

Small update to MyPrayerMap in the iOS App Store: improved location efficiency. Basically up until now, the app would ask you for you location and then track it until you closed the application. That really wasn't necessary, as the location function is only there to help you zoom into your area to easily help you add a prayer request in your local area. (Note: Six Five Software, LLC does not keep any location data or any personal data whatsoever. Please see our Privacy Policy for more info)  What changed in v2.0.1 is that it will grab your location (if you allow it), and then it will completely stop polling for location updates, and the the time it takes to grab your location and update the app is a few seconds, rather than the entire length of time you use the app.

As always, thank you for buying MyPrayerMap for iOS! Your support is greatly appreciated. If you have questions about the app, please feel free to reach out, or see our FAQs. Thanks!

MyPrayerMap 2.0 submitted, with new updates

I recently submitted MyPrayerMap v2.0 to Apple for review, and it comes with quite a few changes that I wanted to outline here, as well as add some entries to the FAQ page. Here's a list of updates:

  • Now requires iOS 7 at minimum. iOS 6 users can still use their existing version of the app as normal, but will not be able to upgrade to 2.0 unless they have iOS 7
  • iCloud syncing! I had not originally anticipated using iCloud for synchronization, but with iOS 7 came some improvements, and so I restructured the data storage to be able to handle it, and it works pretty well
  • New iOS 7 look and feel
  • Custom visual menu I open-sourced (https://github.com/SixFiveSoftware/SFSCollectionMenu), using the new blur effect from iOS 7
  • Pins now change colors according to the last prayed date. A pin is purple upon creation, or if that prayer request has not yet been prayed for. A pin is red if the last prayed date for that request is greater than 7 days, and a pin is green if you have marked that prayer request as prayed for within the last 7 days
  • Items in the list now reflect the iOS 7-esque swiping gesture, from right to left, revealing a menu of options to perform for that prayer request
  • And lots of little bug fixes and slight performance enhancements. This version is smaller and leaner, and I hope you enjoy it

Thank you for your support of MyPrayerMap, and please forward any feature requests or suggestions you may have. And if you wouldn't mind, please rate the app in the App Store, it helps new buyers get a better understanding of the app and how people like it. Thanks!

New open-source menu control

As if the world needed yet another open-source menu control for iOS, I created another, called SFSCollectionMenu. The source is on Gitub, please feel free to peruse, and if you feel you can contribute, please send me a pull request. The control is iOS 7 only at this point, because it utilizes new APIs which create a blur-effect, as seen in Apple's WWDC sessions for creating "engaging UI". The menu will take a snapshot of the screen as it is, blur it, and then display the menu. When it dismisses, it removes itself and the blurred view, and user interaction resumes as normal.

The control is meant to be easy for developers to plug into their projects. There is a protocol to implement, which defines several required and some optional methods. By providing the code in the delegate methods, there is little extra that needs to be done to make it work; simply call alloc/initWithDelegate:, and then -showMenu when you want to display it. There will also be a CocoaPod for it soon.

For the README and screenshots, check out the project's page at https://github.com/SixFiveSoftware/SFSCollectionMenu

Pre-iOS 7 Sale for MyPrayerMap

MyPrayerMap is now on sale for $0.99 USD from now until at least the release of iOS 7. While we want to ensure that the money from the app goes towards providing support and new features to the app, we also want to make it more easily available for people to download and use.

We have received some fabulous feedback from people all over the world about how they are using the app and it has warmed our hearts to know that we are helping make a positive impact in people's prayer lives.  Our goal is to keep this positive impact going. We hope that this price adjustment will help us find the balance in sustainability and providing a quality product for people to use.

We also thank you so much for your support thus far, you've been amazing! Thank you all very kindly.  Please share this experience with someone you know, please click the Download on the App Store link or copy its shortcut and send it to someone you know.

Cheers, 

-BJ

Today was a good day

Even though I didn't see the lights of the Goodyear blimp, today was a good day. Today I received a push notification from Apple stating that the app I've been working very hard on for the last several months was approved and ready for sale in the iOS App Store. I know there are 850,000+ apps in there, and the 50 billionth app was just downloaded, so apps are old news for some, but this was a first for me, and I cannot describe the feeling I felt. There was a smile plastered to my face the whole day. My passion for developing software has turned into a tangible thing that can reach the hands of millions, which I remember saying was a dream of mine in 10th grade. Not necessarily "to have an app in the Apple App Store", but to have some piece of software I wrote positively affecting someone's life.

MyPrayerMap is a young app, obviously, with more room to grow, and more features to come. The response I've received from it over Facebook, Twitter, and in person so far, in just one day, has been incredible. I have a smile on my face while writing this. I am happy to be able to provide something so useful to people. This particular app has truly been inspired by a great friend of mine, and pastor, Dan Anthony, from Rock Point Church. It's here buddy.

Thank you to those who tested the app during its pre-release stage, and for all the kind words along the way from family and friends. Thanks, also, to a very encouraging Mac/iOS developer community. I have to thank Matt Drance, whom (who?) I had the pleasure of meeting in Los Angeles in October at MacTech, who encouraged me to "just do it. You can do it." It may have seemed like a trivial meeting for him, since I'm sure he meets people all the time who say the same thing, but I believed him...thank you, Matt.

So now it's back to Xcode and the legal pad of view controllers and database schemas, for more ways to improve the app. One of the ways I can show my appreciation to all those who believed in me, the idea, or have purchased the app so far, is to keep building it up to be even better.

On that note...

A moaning dog

I heard a story one time of a farmer who had a dog who loved to lay on the front porch. The dog would lay there all day long and watch the farmer work. Occasionally, the dog would shift its weight around, and when doing so, it would give out a long, howling moan. When the farmer was asked why his dog does that, and does it day-in and day-out, he replied, "That's my dog's favorite spot, and he loves laying there. There's a nail sticking up out of the floor boards just enough to poke him in his belly, that's why he yells." The other person asked him the obvious question, "Wow...why doesn't he just...get off the nail?" The farmer replied, "I guess it doesn't hurt him badly enough."

I realized after uploading the MyPrayerMap for iOS binary to Apple that I neglected to fix an issue that I knew about, but it was not pressing at the times I was thinking about it, and it wasn't a "major" issue, so it frequently slipped off my radar. The issue was that after adding a prayer request via the long-press touch gesture, it would let you add one (or you could cancel), but then the opportunity would go away upon dismissing -- and it was only on the iPad.

While mowing my lawn today, the solution hit me like a ton of bricks. Why didn't I think of this before? What I was doing (for those technically inclined) was checking to see if the UILongPressGestureRecognizer object's state was in the Began state, and then it would go about it's business of calling the modal segue. If the state was Changed or Ended, it would remove it from the view, to prevent other erratic behavior (it would get re-added in viewWillAppear, which is why it worked on the iPhone and not iPad). This seemed contrived, and I thought there had to be a better way. ...and there was. UIGestureRecognizer's delegate method, -(BOOL)gestureRecognizerShouldBegin: was the key, and allowed me to check logic to either return YES or NO, and allowed me to remove the lines that removed the gesture recognizer in the Changed or Ended states.

Lesson learned: take care of those pain points when they come up, so they don't come back to bug you later. Pun intended.

MyPrayerMap v1.0 on it's way!

Today's the day...shipping my first app to the Apple App Store for iOS. It's been an incredibly interesting few months, full of learning, fun, late nights, more vitamin B12 than I should have had, and a huge appreciation for the entire process from start to finish. I hesitate to say "finish", because it's never really "finished"...I should say "from start to launch."

I've always had a passion for writing software, and the opportunities along with the drive to learn met up one day. I am very excited about this app and future apps to come, and look forward to filling the needs of more people with software that can help enrich their lives, or at least take some manual burden off their shoulders.

Till next time!