What I did this week

Holy shit, so much stuff. The only thing I wanted to actually do is get the direction view stuff working, which ended up being even simpler than imagined (a bit more about that later). I then proceeded to knock out like more than half of what I wanted for 3.3, plus some other stuff, so I’m gonna go ahead and submit 3.2.1 this evening.

The unabridged list of jank:

For iOS:

  • Style blockquotes in recipe information correctly
  • Log Fabric errors in Slack
  • Double tap the tab bar to scroll to top, a la Twitter
  • Fix quick actions population
  • Use Markdown for ingredient descriptions
  • Tap the top nav bar to scroll to the top
  • Gracefully handle sync failures (the scope of which was expanded to “completely rewrite the sync engine”)
  • Make DirectionsTextView actually look good
  • Add Google App Indexing back into the app
  • Fix bad brand URLs from crashing the app
  • Add an empty state for the full recipe list
  • Added really dope review/feedback priming.

For web:

  • Add pictures to autogenerated tweets
  • Add canonical URL support
  • Add Content-Security-Policy support
  • Add OpenGraph metadata
  • Nicer link aesthetics
  • Improve twitter metadata
  • Improve hashtags for autogenerated tweets
  • Fix the sort button looking kinda shitty
  • Add Disqus to the blog

… So, yeah. A pretty productive week, all things considered. It was hodgepodge, but a good hodgepodge: I got to do marketing 1, feature development, backend stuff, and pretty much everything else with good progress across the board.

Some videos:

Tapping the tab bar

Tapping the nav bar

New review/feedback priming

(This is airlifted from Curtis Herbert's Slopes Diaries, which is an excellent read.)

Prettier content layout

View post on imgur.com

What I’ll do next week

Two main things I need to knock out next week:

  1. Finish converting all recipes to the ordered list syntax to take advantage of the dope formatting. This shouldn’t take that long, but it’s gonna be annoying.
  2. Move all of the background tasks (recipe generation, tweeting, etc etc) from a naive cron to a worker model (SQS or something). This is actually justifiable from a UX standpoint: right now recipe diagrams aren’t generated until midnight UTC, which means that they can’t be added to the API since the iOS app will crash/ignore recipes without a diagram. I’ll need to actually do some research here and figure out what’s best — I’ve used SQS, Celery, and RQ-worker before but am fairly ignorant of the distinctions between them all. I also know that I should pick something that plays nice with EC2’s worker boxes, even if having two hosts is a little overkill at this point.
  3. Improve the CTA flow. Right now I have a generic footer/bumper thing that directs people to tweet, sign up to a mailing list, and check out the app, which is probably a little inefficient. I think for now the number one thing I want people to do is to give me their email if they’re on web, so I’ll optimize for that.

On bad reviews

Got some bad reviews :(

Not that big of a deal, especially since I was worried about the whole sync thing, it’s just always a bummer. Still, it’s incentive for me to get out fixes and improvements.

On 4.0

Pretty sure I know what 4.0 is going to look like — I haven’t finalized all of the details yet, but I think the direction I need to go in from a sustainability standpoint is free + pro. This is sort of the obvious solution given the following:

  • The app needs to be free to reach a wider market.
  • The app needs to have a web-friendly component.
  • I don’t want to do IAP for recipes or data — the data is the main component that will attract people to the app.
  • With a paid-up-front app, I’m not really incentivized to improve the app for people who have already purchased it since I’ve already captured 100% of value from them.

So, chances are I’ll have the current iteration of features being free, with a “pro mode” allowing you to keep track of your bar, adding notes and ratings. The idea being that the reference data is free, and then adding your own data is paid — that seems like a logical delineation to me.

Et cetera

No exciting drinks this week!

Well — no exciting cocktails, at least. I did have a Barrel Aged Strong Ale from Schooner Exact and holy shit, that is one fantastic drink.

  1. Well, my definition of marketing. 

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