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Meet the Devs - Alongways

In this week's developer interview, we talk to Peter Mojeiko of Alongways, a geographer and map nerd by, developer by night who makes apps with his wife.

Published onDecember 16, 2014

Peter and Leslie developer interview
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. In this week’s developer interview, we are talking to Peter Mojeiko of Alongways.

Name: Peter Mojeiko

Developer Name: Alongways

Country: United States

Social Media Profile/Page: N/A

How many people on your team? 2

alongways developer interview

About your company?

I’m a geographer, and my wife is an advisor at a college. The company is just us, and we work on nights and weekends after our 2-year-old daughter goes to sleep.

I picked up some programming books about a year ago to stay current with the world of geospatial science. Once I realized what could be done, and what’s already being done, between the marriage of technology and maps, I wanted to get involved. So I learned everything I could about making apps, and I asked my wife, who is really good in Photoshop, to help with some graphics, and together we put together Alongways because it’s a practical tool that doesn’t exist yet, and it really should.

Alongways screenshot developer interview

What level of experience do you have with coding and development?

It’s not my day job. Well, not entirely. I kind of started learning to code on a whim, and I discovered that I had a sort of passion for doing it. It made me rethink some career choices, which was good because I was laid off from my geography job last summer, and now I’m more in the IT field.

I had a lot of fun learning about the whole development process while making Alongways. Parts that I thought would be difficult, like figuring out some algorithm to do a place search, were actually really enjoyable. I mean, still difficult, but I liked the challenge. And then parts that I thought would be easier, like going through testing, turned out to be huge burdens. Worth it, but still burdens.

What languages do you know? How and where did you learn them?

I started with Python. I think it’s a great introduction to functional programming. Once I started, I couldn’t stop, I’d stay up late just programming anything I could think of. I felt comfortable with it in a couple of months. I read two books, did some online tutorials, but the biggest thing was just using it, constantly. I moved into JavaScript and HTML when I started making Alongways, and I’ve picked up the basics of a few other languages since then.

What level of experience do you have with design?

That’s mostly my wife’s area. She has an eye for it. I’ll take her two or three different mock-ups of a layout or graphic, and she’ll say, “Umm. I’ll do it.” I’m not the designer, but I’m getting better (I think).

Alongways screenshot developer interview

What apps have you made?

Alongways, but I’ve got a lot more in the pipe. It’s crazy that I’ve got friends now, who will come to me with their app ideas, and it’s actually kind of sad that I can’t help them more, but I have so many more ideas that I want to get out there, I just don’t know where I’d come up with the time.

How do you monetize your apps?

Alongways is .99 cents. It took a long time, and a lot of discussion, with my wife and other people, to decide to go the paid app route. It looks like it’s just slapped on there, but there’s actually a lot of thought behind it. You have to consider your own sunk costs, web hosting, API license fees, developer fees, all this stuff. I researched ads in apps, and I don’t think Alongways would benefit from them, and I thought about integrating some referral programs for places like hotels, because you can search for hotels, but I didn’t want it to be just, you know, like a hotel search engine. Those are a dime a dozen! So, to keep the real intent of it, it’s .99 cents. I’m not sure how I’ll monetize my next one, I think it’s totally a case-by-case basis.

Do you consider yourself successful?

Yes! I have an awesome wife who helps me build apps, a two-year-old daughter, and an app in the Play Store! That’s complete success.

How difficult is it to make money as a developer?

So far, it hasn’t started pouring in, but I’m starting to recoup my losses, which would be really nice. I’ll let you know in a month ;)

What can Android do to improve?

Not much, honestly. I think the Developer Console is awesome, and it’s so easy to upload an app. You have to think about all the different phones that run Android, there’s thousands of them, and they’re all different sizes, with different resolutions and capabilities, and if someone with my background says it’s easy to build for Android, then you have to believe it.

Why did you choose Android? Do you develop for other platforms? What are the differences between them?

I chose Android because I’m an Android user. It’s also cheaper to develop for, and way it’s easier. I’m working on an iOS app, and so far it’s been very difficult just to sign up for a developer account and upload test versions. It’s like night and day.

What are your thoughts on iOS and Windows 8?

I haven’t developed for Windows 8, but my limited exposure to iOS so far has made me want to stay away from it. I was surprised when I learned that you need a Mac to upload the binary for an iOS app. It’s like, do you even want new developers to build things for your device?

What do you think of the Android design guidelines?

I’m glad they’re not called rules.

What are your favorite apps?

Of course, Google Maps. I’m a map nerd, and Google Maps has always been like the Holy Grail of merging technology and maps, for me. I’m really into travel apps, anything informational. I’m excited to watch the growth of HERE maps, as well. They’re doing some really cool stuff.

What has been your experience been like working with Google?

All good so far. :)

What does the future of development look like?

Hopefully I’m in there somewhere. I think more small apps, less big ones that try to do it all, are a thing of the future. I think little apps that do one thing really well are cool, and I would like to see the companies that have the resources to do big things focus more on creating infrastructure, like APIs, so us little guys can do things with them that they might not have thought to do.

What tips do you have for aspiring developers?

Make stuff, constantly. And even though it sounds corny, most things aren’t impossible. Technology can do crazy things, if you learn how to use it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Sure. I didn’t get to say enough about how great my wife has been in this process. She gave me the time I needed to develop, and she contributed hugely with her awesome graphic design skills. I love you, Leslie!

Developer interview wrap up

We want to thank Peter for chatting with us in this week’s developer interview! 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!

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