Welcome back to our Meet the Devs segment! In this piece we take a little time to get to know the people who really make Android what it is today and that is the app developers. This week we are talking to Appic Win.
Name: Andrew Dittmer
Developer Name: Appic Win
Website: Appic Win official website
Google + Profile/Page: Appic Win
How many people on your team? 1
Tell us about your company
Appic Win is a startup business based in Sydney, Australia. I officially kicked it off in mid 2012 although I had already coded some of the apps prior to that. I decided to quit my full time job as an Android developer to turn some ideas I had (such as Me in a Storybook) into reality. I’m currently working as a contract Android developer to pay the bills and adding new features and apps in my spare time.
What level of experience do you have with coding and development?
Several years of development experience. Initially, I had a few years developing windows desktop applications and more recently, over 3 years native Android development experience and some iOS experience.
What languages do you know? How and where did you learn them?
Java – Learned at College and been using it for the last 3 or 4 years with Android development
C# – Learned on the job at my first programming job at Rostima, developing a windows desktop application. I also used C# for the first iPhone app (Plunder Bros) I worked on using MonoTouch. Unfortunately, when I was almost finished the app was at the time when Apple decided to reject apps using 3rd party frameworks and so it didn’t get published. When they reversed that decision, I was back working full time again and could only manage to release one level and then due to a bug after an iOS upgrade, I needed a new version of MonoTouch but couldn’t afford to upgrade so I decided to un-publish it on iOS.
What level of experience do you have with design
I have experience with Android design patterns but I need a graphic designer / illustrator to provide assets in most cases. Many times, I have to create my own 9 patch images or tweak graphic assets because often when working commerically, you tend get ‘ hand – me – down’ iOS graphics. Unfortunately, in my experience, graphic designers tend to be iOS fanboys and have little interest in learning about how to make beautiful Android applications that scale nicely across multiple devices. They have not used Android devices and therefore provide iOS looking assets and design patterns which just makes me cry.
What apps have you made?
Me in a Storybook – Farm. A storybook app for young children that allows kids to become the main character in the story. Parents can take pictures of their kids pulling a range of crazy faces and those photos are used throughout the story on the main character.
Plunder Bros. A retro LCD handheld game simulator. A couple of fun piratey levels. I made this with my house mate who did the illustrations a few years ago.
How do you monetize your apps
I’m not really currently monetizing my apps. Plunder Bros has a free level and another level for purchase. The others are just free with no ads just to try and build up a following and a user base for now. I do plan to put some extra levels etc for purchase in the future.
Do you consider yourself successful?
I consider myself successful in that I have delivered some apps that I love.
How difficult is it to make money as a developer?
Well, currently I would have done significantly better if I had have applied for a job at McDonald’s. But yeah, it’s very tough to get noticed.
What can Android do to improve?
1 – Teach graphic designers how to create Androidified designs with dips (device independent pixels). There is a whole lot of confusion here and it’s hard for designers that are used to working with fixed pixel sizes to get their heads around the concept of dips.
2 – I would like users to be able to deny apps certain permissions but still be able to install the app. For example, a developer has to request a permission for a certain feature even if the user has no intention of using that feature and it puts a lot of users off.
Why did you choose Android? Do you develop for other platforms? What are the differences between them?
I’m passionate about Android so I started developing for Android when most people were saying don’t bother. I also do a bit of development for iOS but my next app may not even get to iOS because I’m not getting enough downloads on iOS now to justify making an iOS version. On one of my apps I’m getting well over 1000 downloads per week, whereas the same app on iOS would be lucky to get 5 downloads per week. (The app is free on both platforms).
What are your thoughts on iOS and Windows 8?
I thought Windows 8 was going to quite big by now but I couldn’t justify developing for Windows 8 now – I think it would be too risky.
What do you think of the Android design guidelines?
They are great now. Early on, there really weren’t any guidelines and it was hard to get a consistent user experience. Now there are some well defined guidelines and patterns but the trick now is getting people to use them.
What are your favorite apps?
What has been your experience been like working with Google?
Good, I’ve been going to the Sydney Google Developers Groups and learning about Android design patterns and new APIs and the like.
What does the future of development look like?
What tips do you have for aspiring developers?
Do what you love. Code smart and code like someone will be reading your code one day.
We want to thank Appic Win for chatting with us! If you’re a developer and this looks like something you’d like to do, check out our Meet the Devs form! We look forward to hearing from you.