My first phone app

I’m really wishing for a more experienced hacker to help me with this. Or at least another smart 18-year-old. (Hey, Steven, you want in on this?) I’m having issues figuring out where to start, and this platform is so foreign that I’m not sure how to do things like work with files. On a normal computer? No problem. On a phone, working with the Android OS? Uh… not sure. But I’ll figure it out.

I’m working on a phone app that will store all those little bits of paper people shove in their wallets. No, not money–I’m talking about business cards, receipts, scribbled addresses on the backs of envelopes, notes to self, maybe checks (for those people who have the banks that support sending in a picture–this would have to be password protected), coupons downloaded off the Internet… stuff like that. And all the metadata you’d need, like when you added that business card to your collection, whose name is on it, what business it describes, etc.

I’m also thinking that maybe it should use a light compression algorithm–I mean, if it’s gonna store all this stuff locally, which I would like it to, because it’s convenient that way and I don’t want to pay for a server to do it for me. Or I should just make sure it’s not storing huge, high-quality images like the camera likes to do; they should at least be resized to like 250×400 pixels instead of 1250×2000 or whatever the camera does automatically. Maybe if it catches on, I can get some VCs to back me and I’ll buy a server and allow people to pay for cloud space.

I’m using Kivy to develop this, because it’ll let me program in Python rather than Java, and it has a lot of other neat features I like. (Yeah, I can see where Lisp’s macros might be useful here, but I’m going to stick to OO stuff for now. Especially if I want to actually find someone who’ll work with me.)

I think people need this app! I’m going to sneakily develop a dedicated user base of everyone I know before I start really touting it and drawing the attention of companies that might copy me. It’s hard to fight the force of users who’ve already learned to use something that subsequently made their life easier.

My dad definitely needs it :/ Not just his wallet but also his car is always full of little bits of paper, because he runs a stump removal service.

I want to keep the design and interface as simple as possible. I can see the possibility of something like this turning from lean and neat and space-efficient to bloated and confusing.

I’m not sure whether I want to keep this to myself and maybe a friend and develop/release it by myself/ourselves, or if I’ll throw it to open source. I don’t think it’s really meaty enough to benefit much from open source… it’s such a little, simple idea.

I have no money for this project, I’m the only developer, and my prospective clients are myself and my friends/family/teachers. The communication overhead is an advantage (i.e., the lack of one), at least. And I’m also not working under a deadline, although I’d like to have something running and usable for people to play with when I go to TechWeek in September. I bet I can get a good chunk of this thing done by then, even with the learning curve I’ll go through.

Anyway. Time to start really hacking, I think I’ve got a good basic design down on paper.

Oh! One more thing. I’ve got a name for it now! It’s called tinypapers. It took me a while to come up with that because the purpose of this thing has changed drastically since I’ve been mentally designing it for a few weeks.

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2 thoughts on “My first phone app

    • Kivy is neat! It’s really well-designed and it comes with this language called KV. KV is to Python what CSS is to HTML–at least, that’s what I can tell so far.

      But if you aren’t an experienced programmer who’s good at reading really technical documentation, you’re probably going to want the O’Reilly book on Kivy in order to learn it. There are a few nice tutorials on the Kivy web site, but they’re mostly show, not tell, and I’m not experienced enough to fill in the gaps.

      Like

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