Tag Archives: working on app updates

October Mobile App Development Report

8 Nov
2016

The amount of time I had towards app development in October seems like it was split almost evenly into working on a new app and working on some updates. I started the month by working on gathering more data for my financial app. When I gather data for this app I also verify it with different sources and then organize it to make it flow smoothly into app dev implementation. Eventually I’ll comb through all the data again and make sure there are no duplicates, misspelled words, and any other hiccups.

In October I also decided to update some of my free Amazon apps that were running interstitial AdMob ads. I recently began to notice through some random testing that my free Amazon apps running these ads were loading and responding slower than my the same Android apps on Google Play. Both Amazon & Google Play accept the same Android build once I convert it but Amazons Android based operating system is different than a pure Android OS. Due to this situation sometimes things that work one way on an Android OS may react differently on an Amazon Android OS. I want to make sure my apps work as smooth as possible and that the ads don’t get in the way of that so I decided to try some different implementations.

After some load time and touch recognition testing with different ad providers I decided to switch my free apps on Amazon from Admob interstitial & Revmob banner ads to Chartboost interstitial & Admob banner ads. After doing this each app that I updated loaded faster and the ad impressions were better. I’m not sure of the exact technicalities that caused these actions before & after, but testing different implementations eventually worked to bring out the best performance. I still prefer Admob as my main ad provider when feasible, but Chartboost has its positive aspects as well.

In November I plan on continuing work on my new financial app. It’s a very data heavy app and like my other apps, the main features are going to work without an internet connection, so working with data is a very important part of this app. I don’t think I’ll be finished with this app this year, but after I finish with the data I’ll jump into user experience(UX) & user interface(UI). When I start working on those facets I’ll upload some screenshots to present how the app will look. Until next time ∞

August Mobile App Development Report

8 Sep
2016

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August continued the trend of…..UPDATES! Since January 2016 I’ve been steadily working on various app updates during most of my development time. August was a massive month of work, but due to what I was able to accomplish it will be the last month this year in app dev land that’s devoted mainly to updates. However before diving into what’s next, let talk about what happened in August.

The first app update I worked on and completed was 8-Bit Eagle Smash. For this app I updated the text score font to match the look of the rest of the game. This game was created in a couple of days during a gamejam so it was kind of rushed, but the new font obviously looks better with game. I should have updated it earlier than 2 years after release, but other apps continued to take precedence over this one. While testing I also noticed that one of the tweet functions caused the pre-entered text to be cut off so I also fixed that. After doing a quick search on Twitter I discovered that most people(like 99.99%) who play this game don’t tweet their scores, but I still wanted to feature to work efficiently as intended. The game also received 64-bit support and overall performance enhancements which cut down on the already short load times. More can be read about the game itself and the gamejam that initiated its development on the 8-Bit Eagle Smash release post.

With iAds closing down I also had to replace it in the remaining apps that still had it embedded. I only put banner ads in 8-Bit Eagle Smash so I replaced the iOS banner ads with Admob banner ads. Then for the Zompy Jumpy update I replaced the iOS banner ads with Revmob and replaced the Chartboost interstitial ads with Admob. Zompy Jumpy is also running on a newer improved game engine so the minor loading times and gameplay movements are improved. When it comes to ad providers Admob is my favorite and then it’s kind of a tie between Revmob & Chartboost. Chartboost doesn’t have banner ads so I’ve decided to go with an Admob interstitial & Revmob banner ad combination for most of my free apps.

The biggest and overall most time consuming update that I worked on and finished in August was Professor Piggy Bank. I started working on this update months ago, but this month brought the update to completion. This is one of my favorite apps and it gets a decent amount of downloads sometimes, including some from actual classrooms, so I wanted to make sure this app received a few more major improvements. A list of what all the app update contains can be seen on the Professor Piggy Bank 2.0 post or on one of the app store pages so for this post we’ll just dive into what was worked on in August. The last big section that was completed in August was the recording and implementation of the additional dialogue. The Quiz mode features more than double the amount of questions so there was a lot of new audio to record. I also added some new correct answer graphic pop ups so we had to record audio for those as well. My wife happily agreed to continue being the voice of the game so one day we got the parents to keep to kids to minimize disruptions and we were able to record all the new dialogue that evening. I already told her in person and also via a Facebook post but another big THANK YOU to my wife for lending me her lovely voice. Kiss kiss! Ok back to dev land……I also did the minor editing to each piece of audio after we recorded it so after we were done I only had to implement it into the actual app. After finishing the implementation I started testing the app with the completed new update. I ran into some issues in quiz mode with a couple of incorrect sections in the quiz spreadsheet so I found those and fixed them quickly. After testing I worked on a couple of new screenshots to showcase some of the visual enhancements. Once I got the screenshots I wanted I had to edit them to conform to the various different sizes required for each app store that the app is on.

There have been issues with blurry text appearing in some of my apps so I updated two of my text heavy apps, Quiz of Medicine & Ultra Fortune Ball. The issues mainly appeared in Android devices, and usually they were Kindle Fire devices. This fix also enhanced the text resolution overall so I decided to update the iOS versions of these apps that didn’t have this component already embedded. So during August both of those apps received that update and I also replaced the iOS banner ads that were no longer working.

Now that the majority of the updates that I’ve wanted to do are done I’m now able to jump into app dev on a new app. The new app I’m working on is a finance app so yea nothing too exciting if you’re not interested in finance. However, it’s one of my interests and I’ve noticed a void within the app stores for the type of app I’m creating so I decided to jump back into development on it. I had the idea for it a while ago, but pushed it back because of other new releases and updates. I’m hoping to finish and release it sometime this year. In August I mainly worked on gathering data for it, and that will continue in September as well along with some UI design hopefully. There are still one couple of other app updates that I’ll be working on in September as well, but nothing that time consuming compared to some of the other big updates I’ve released this year. They’ll mainly be blurry text fixes to my word search apps on the Amazon app store. This issue doesn’t appear on all devices and it doesn’t make the text unreadable at all, but knowing that it does appear for some users along with knowing how to fix it means……I’m fixing it. I also plan on making some new videos for the newer versions of some of my apps. It’s somewhat unfair to apps that had an initial release video, but have received major visual & feature updates since then. So yea I’ll be working on a couple of new videos sometime soon too. Until next time ∞

July Mobile App Development Report

4 Aug
2016

July was another month filled with app update progress. During the middle of July I finished the Motivational Quotes to Inspire 2.0 update. Work on it in July first consisted of adding new quotes and then when I thought I was finished with that I continued work on adding the Spanish feature. For the Spanish feature I first worked on translating the settings sections. Then I quickly translated all the English quotes into Spanish with the help of major translator programs. After that I then I added the off/on language switch on the settings scene graphically and within the code. I wanted to make sure it was quick & seemless, and it turned out that way. There’s no load time on the settings screen when making the language switch and when you go back to the quotes screen the quote you viewed before going to the settings is there in the language chosen.

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Working on Español settings text for Motivational Quotes to Inspire

After finishing the Spanish feature I ended up going back and adding new quotes a few times in which I then had to translate those quotes and change random search parameters within the app code. After getting to a point were I felt satisfied with the quantity & quality of new quotes I made a final build and began testing. There were only a few bugs found during testing and they were quick fixes. The app itself was compiled with a newer improved version of the engine I used for it initially so that also resulted in faster load times. I also switched the ad provider from iAds to AdMob since Apple shut down iAds, which will also prevent any bugs from happening by having old code pertaining to iAds.

Towards the end of July I finished the Saving Bunnies update and ported it to Google Play as a new release for that App Store. The first thing I worked on with that app was removing the initial startup ad and removing iAds since Apple shut down iAds as mentioned above. I then added Revmob & AdMob ads. The Revmob ads are banner ads that appear after the game session and sometimes on the main menu screen depending on which App Store version. The AdMob ads are interstitial and appear after the game session is played a few times. Neither ad is shown during gameplay which I make sure is true with all my free games that have ads. I also updated the mountain graphics because they were the only original graphics within the game that I felt didn’t flow well with the rest of the look of the game. This app was also compiled with a newer improved game engine which resulted in faster overall load times and audio enhancements that improved the sound clarity.

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App development work in August will consist of……….more update work! I hope to finish the major update for Professor Piggy Bank that I started working on a few months ago and also finish a couple of minor app updates along the way as well. Until next time ∞

June Mobile App Development Report

7 Jul
2016

During the first part of June I worked on and finished answer graphics for the Professor Piggy Bank update which included possible answers and correct answer congratulation pop ups. Then I organized answers and incorrect answers in a spreadsheet for game implementation in Quiz mode. The next step for this update will be to record a lot of new dialogue for quiz mode. My wife did a great job delivering the dialogue originally so I’ll be getting her to lend me her lovely voice again. Now we just need to schedule a day when we’re both available, ready and have one of our parents keep the kids.

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Working on the Quiz mode spreadsheet for Professor Piggy Bank.

In June I also finished and released the 2.0 & 1.5.5 update for Chinatown Fortune Cookie. The update features a lot of new fortunes and enhancements to all graphics. The amount of fortunes in app is really enormous. This app as well as all of my other apps do not require an internet connection to use their main features so I try to make sure my apps are well equipped and packed with offline content without being too bloated of course.

Towards the end of June I started working on an update to Motivational Quotes to Inspire. So far the main work on it has been the addition of new quotes. Like Chinatown Fortune Cookie mentioned above, this app is also packed with data for the quotes and this update will add even more to an already astounding list. In July I plan on continuing work on this update by adding more quotes and adding a Spanish language feature which will display all the quotes & settings in Spanish. Then after finishing the motivational quotes app update I’ll hopefully get close to completing the piggy bank app update. Until next time ∞

May Mobile App Development Report

8 Jun
2016

During the first part of the month I finished the UI design work for the Chinatown Fortune Cookie update. I made completely new higher resolution buttons to replace the older ones, and updated the text in one of the scenes. After making the new images I added them to the app itself and slightly rearranged the positioning. Now that the look of the app is complete I’ll be working on adding new fortunes. Once the new fortunes are added I’ll incorporate the new ad network and also port the app to the Google Play app store.

The main app that I worked on in May was Professor Piggy Bank. First I enhanced resolutions for buttons & text that were left out of the previous update that featured some resolution updates. After finishing those enhancements I started working on question & answer graphics. First I enhanced the resolution of some original answers and then added new questions to a spreadsheet. After adding new lines to that spreadsheet it resulted in the question amount in quiz mode more than doubling. After finishing additional questions I worked on setting up answer graphics for the new questions as well as several other answers to be shown as other possible incorrect answers. While working on these new questions & answer graphics I also enhanced the resolution for the older questions & answers. In June I’ll be finishing the remaining images and hopefully recording new audio for the questions. I plan on hopefully being finished with the update and submitting it sometime in July.

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Working on the Professor Piggy Bank update. Arranging coins in answer boxes for Quiz mode.

 

Towards the end of May I made a new promo banner for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard to showcase the countries that are in the Anthems section. I did this by simply adding 32 flags to each side of the banner which in total shows the 64 countries now in the app thanks to the awesome 2.0 update that was recently released. June is a big international soccer/football month with two major tournaments, Copa America & Euro 2016, so I want to make sure I’m able to increase relevant marketing of my soccer celebration app that also happens to feature all the countries participating in those tournaments.

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Adding flags to the newest Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard banner to showcase all the countries in the Anthems section.

 

In June I’ll mainly continue working on the Professor Piggy Bank update, and I’ll also try to finish the Chinatown Fortune Cookie update. Some of my other apps will also be getting updates soon, but they’ll mostly be minor so I may work on some of those as well. Until next time ∞

April Mobile App Development Report

8 May
2016

App development work in April continued my current trend of working on updates. The first part of the month consisted of making new screenshots to go along with the major Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard 2.0 update. Only one of the previous screenshots would look outdated due to the update but I went ahead and made all new screenshots. Previously some of the screenshots were just plain screenshots and some consisted of a screenshot inside of a phone frame with written details. So this time I decided to use a screenshot mock-up frame app by using real in app screenshots and placing them in iPhone, iPad, & Android tablet frames. Then I used Pixelmator to arrange them and add written details pertaining to each screenshot. Doing this maximized the promo screenshot section since I made most of the screenshot images have two devices embedded with different screenshots and then each image also had additional typed info on it.

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A collage of some screenshots and images used in the final Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard screenshots.

I’ve read in different articles that a lot of app consumers mostly pay attention to the app icon and promo screenshots when deciding to download an app which also helped me understand the importance of app presentation. My app icons have always been top-notch in my opinion. I usually try to make them somewhat minimalistic but also present a great first impression of the app itself. I used to mainly just take a few different screenshots of the app and then use them as is in the promo screenshot sections. Lately I’ve been putting more work into my screenshots to make sure they do a good job of explaining what the app is about and its features. Previously, I didn’t work on screenshots until I was finished with the app and at that point I’ve just been ready to quickly publish and submit for review. However, in the past year or so I’ve been pushing back new release & update dates or initially setting them up for later to give myself more time if needed to work on screenshots & etc.

In April I also started working on an update for Chinatown Fortune Cookie. This update will feature higher resolution graphics, 64 bit support, and more fortunes! I’ll also be changing the main ad provider for the free versions. As usual though, the ads won’t be really annoying nor take away from the usability  of the app itself. Previously the real fortune cookie photos were changed to retina size for older iPhones at 960×640, and then I used a Corel painting program to give the oil painting effect. For the update though I’ve gone back to the orignal 3456×2304 photo size, changed them to the iPhone 6 plus retina size of 2208×1242 and then used the painting program to add an oil painting effect similar to the one I used initially. The difference will be very noticeable especially on the newer bigger phones & tablets. This update will probably be finished in May or June and then set for release soon after.

App dev progress in May will consist of more app update work containing minor & major improvements. That’s all for now. Until next time ∞