Mate! An iPhone App!

What a week for learning this has been!!! Amongst all of the not-so-pleasant realisations and are-you-joking instructions from upper-upper-upper management (yes, I do actually have that many levels of management above me!) there has been the singularly most exciting episode of my recent-ness scratching my ever present need-to-learn itch.

An iPhone App. Thought up. Designed. Developed. Delivered. Awaiting iTunes App Store approval. All in under a week!

Now, you might be wondering how I managed to become adept at building iPhone apps in such a short time frame. Answer: Crowd Sourcing!

I have been to a number of Educational Technology gatherings over the past year or so and have constantly heard of “crowd sourcing” as a way to get projects completed. Basically, the concept involves letting a large number of people know about something that you need to get done and asking if any of them are willing to do it for you. So I thought I would give it a shot.

I started by heading to a crowdsourcing website (I used and posting my project. I simply created my free account and wrote what I needed done in the “Post new project” section. I wrote,

The app is rather simple in concept. On opening, the user is presented with a large button in the centre of the screen. On pressing the button an audio file is played. When pressing it again, a different audio file is played. On each subsequent press of the button another different audio file is played. Art work and audio files will be supplied.

Within 6 hours I had 34 responses from people who were willing to develop my project for me, ranging in cost from $100 to $800, taking from 3 days to two weeks to accomplish. I spent an hour or so looking through the various “bids”, checking out their “reputation” (star rating, reviews and portfolios) and learning more about how the site itself worked. In the end I “awarded the project” to a gentleman who would complete the project for me in three days for $250. And so it began.

I asked him about file formats, image resolutions and specifications, other requirements and then set about developing the files for him. These were all shared through a shared Dropbox folder (which I am just now remembering needs to have the sharing revoked!). He wrote back with questions he had surrounding the concept and I responded with clarifications and questions I had about the build. All of this messaging was managed through the crowdsourcing website. As the message traffic grew I was awarded XP points (something very familiar to all you gamers out there) and award badges. As I added information to my profile I gained more XP and more badges and a progress bar at the top of the screen gradually filled up with all the XP I was earning. This crowdsourcing website has been developed to be like a game!

Moving on, at the agreed upon half-way point (when he submitted the first draft build of the app), I transferred $125 to his account  (via the PayPal functionality on the site) and the project kept moving. After a few suggested tweaks from me, and a few from him he uploaded the final build to the Dropbox folder, I forwarded the remainder of the funds and I now had my app!

So now I was on my own. Having the app on my computer is one thing. Getting it up and ready for the iTunes App store is another! After about two and a half hours of reading through a number of websites explaining how to go through the process of editing the code, getting distribution and provisioning certificates through iTunes Connect, linking the certificates within the code, packaging the code, verifying the code and then submitting it all to Apple I arrived at the end of the process. And what a feeling of satisfaction!

So, what did I learn today?

I learned how to Crowd Source. I learned how to prepare an App for the App Store. I learned again how it feels to leap into the thin air of I-don’t-know-how-to-do-this, flap my wings and soar. I learned again how exhilarating this feeling truly is.

And I will continue to glide and soar in about a week when the App is approved and released into the App Store because it might even earn me some money!