Hours – the wait is almost over

July 11th, 2014 Jeremy Jeremy

Screenshot 2014-07-04 15.21.02

What a journey. Three years ago we got so frustrated with time tracking software that we decided to do something about it. Client work got in the way, Languages got in the way, Grades 3 got in the way. Finally after a lot of hard work we had a usable version of Hours… then iOS 7 came. Time to redesign. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate!

We have been using Hours for over a year now, in which time we have realized that we did not pick an easy problem to solve. Time tracking seems like a simple problem, and it would be, if we were all robots. Unfortunately, human factors such as forgetfulness and unknowing errors are a fact of life and those are the problems we decided to embrace.

In the past year we turned a good time tracker into what we think is a great one because we solved our own problem: we finally made a time tracker that we actually use (which is saying A LOT).

Here is a little teaser GIF. More teasing to comes in the days leading up to launch…
Start-adjust

I couldn’t be more proud of the team — both the Tapity team and Five Pack Creative, who did most of the programming. The endless debates, the sleepless nights, the painstaking polish… it’s all about to finally start paying off, at least to some degree. But whatever happens on launch day and beyond, we have crafted something we all can be proud of, and that matters.

Hours hits the App Store next week. Subscribe to the Hours newsletter to make sure you snag the app during the 50% off launch sale.


Inside our Swift hackathon…

June 10th, 2014 Jeremy Jeremy

Well, you may have heard that Apple created an entirely new programming language for developing iOS applications the other day. I think everyone is pretty excited about it. From practiced programmers to interested junior high kids, Swift is new for everyone. Since we’ve all got a lot to learn before iOS 8 is released in the fall, I decided that the time was ripe to host a hackathon!

We posted video updates to Twitter as we went and were blown away that those videos received thousands of views. So, though the videos are quite raw (please excuse my portrait foolishness), I figured ya’ll might enjoy seeing how it all went down.

The goal was to bring together one Tapity founder, one intern, and a couple of junior high kids to learn enough Swift to create a game in SpriteKit in less than 24 hours.

Challenge accepted.

As the hackathon really gets started, Zachary (my eleven year old little brother) explains the purpose of different lines of code. I had hopes that this event would help inspire my younger siblings to really dive into learning Swift. I think it may have worked:

Three hours into the hackathon and going strong. Zoe, my little sister, steps in to explain the current goings on:

Oops, we’ve run into a problem. The game is way too easy. Eleven year old Zachary discusses solutions:

24 hours later the hackathon is over and we’ve got a nifty little game to show for it. Success? I think so:

It has been a great run. We learned a bunch about Swift, created a game, inspired my younger siblings to continue programming, and had tons of fun spending time with family. Inspired? Why not do a family hackathon yourself!

P.S. Yes, I still am planning to write a post about how our experience with our first game, Buffalo Wings.

Tutorial: getting started with Pop

April 28th, 2014 Jeremy Jeremy

It is here! I’ve been raving about Pop for a while and today Facebook finally made it available to the public. You owe it to yourself to download Pop and use it to revolutionize the way you think about animation in your app.

Here is an example of how we are using Pop in Hours:

Since I had the privilege of using the Pop beta to create animations for Hours, I feel like I owe it to the community to share a quick tutorial on how to get started with Pop to make a basic animation:

I’ve created a sample project that has detailed comments, as well as a more advanced animation, download the source code here.

If you would like me to make some more tutorials, please share this page.

Using Origami to design animation

April 22nd, 2014 Jeremy Jeremy

Origami
Yesterday I mentioned that Facebook will be open-sourcing Pop, the awesome animation framework that powers Our Choice and Facebook Paper.

But what about designers? While learning Objective-C and using Pop would be great, that’s a ton work.

Well, designers, you are in luck. Origami is a tool that Facebook built on top of Apple’s Quartz Composer that makes designing incredible animations for apps relatively simple.

Even better news? Once Pop comes out, your programmers won’t be complaining so much when you come up with that crazy animation because the Pop animation framework will integrate with Origami. That is huge.

But… Quartz composer and Origami have a bit of a learning curve. I’ve considered taking some time to make tutorials since I think these tools are so important, but today I found out that I don’t have to. Nathan Manousos, creator of Flinto has already started making some short, no-nonsense tutorials that teach the basics really quickly. Really great stuff.

Tut 1:

Tut 2:

Tut x: if you want Nathan to make more, I suggest sharing those videos on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and be sure to send Nathan a tweet expressing your appreciation. It’s a great service to the community.

If you want a more in-depth look at Origami, check out Jay Thrash’s talk, Prototyping with Facebook Origami.

Thank you, Facebook

April 21st, 2014 Jeremy Jeremy

Why is no one talking about this video?

Not only is it a great summary of the magic behind Facebook’s Paper app but buried half-way into the 1.5 hour video is an incredible announcement: Facebook will soon be open-sourcing POP, the incredible animation framework that Push Pop Press originally developed to build Our Choice, and that Facebook used to build Paper.

I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Apple’s iOS dynamics framework is great but it is still really complex to accomplish some of the really cool gesture-based dynamic animations that POP makes easy.

In The App Design Handbook, I talk about how animation will play a dominant role in defining the personality of an app now that iOS 7 has de-emphasized heavy visuals. An open source POP will make it so much easier to create that personality.

I, for one, will be refreshing https://github.com/facebook/pop every day until it goes live. They made it sound like it is only days away.

Origami

Don’t code? Facebook also announced that they will be integrating POP with the Origami framework they built for Quartz Composer. Origami makes it easy to quickly prototype UI animations in Quartz composer and is available now.

Thanks Facebook, you guys are killing it.