I have recently released a new version of an app I have had for the last 7 years; Weight. It's a rare occurrence so it's perhaps it a good idea to talk about why it is such a rare thing. Here is the reason; time.
Weight is a free app. It has always been free. By that I mean, you can download the app for no money and you can use all the features for no money. This means the app makes me no money.
So why does it exist? The original reasons for its existence are simple. I had a need. I had used other Weight tracking apps and was annoyed by their "features" and the number of taps I needed to perform before I could enter the data. I just wanted to track my weight. I didn't want to share my journey, get motivational messages, track calories, learn about recipes or sync progress to the web and other devices. I just wanted an app I could use really quickly, then forget about for a week.
So I wrote that app.
Given Weights simplicity and limited scope I did not need many updates once it did all the things I needed it to do. As a result updates were few and far between.
Just under 2 years ago Apple started to require that all apps in the app store support 64 bit architectures. Those that did not were to be removed, and would not run on the latest version of iOS. So, I opened Xcode and took a look. It was clear that the app needed a major update. One, because of iOS platform changes. Two, because to a developer all code you wrote more than a month ago looks like garbage. It's phenomenon that deserves a name.
At the time I had been writing a-lot of Swift code. I decided that Weight was still useful to me. In addition it would provide a good reason to refresh my Objective-C skills. This provided enough of an impetus to re-write the whole app from scratch. Unfortunately I was a little late getting the update on to the store. I was surprised to have a good number of people email me asking when an update would be available. Turns out people were still using Weight and had years of records stored in the app.
The update was only a couple of days late and was well received. I decided that I would look to keep Weight in more active development. Since then there have been a few bug fix updates.
3.7 is a little different. It did start out as a bug fix update, but ended up as more thanks to feedback from a number of users. Weight 3.7 now has limited graphing and the UI has been improved in a number of areas.
Let me be clear, these changes would not have happened if it were not for feedback from users. For a purely economical perspective Weights continued existence makes little sense. There are other sources of value though. The knowledge that I am doing something very small to help people turns out to be of great value to me. Feedback turns out to be a great motivator. It has led to the creation of a better app. So keep it coming.
There is one other thing I have added to Weight. A tip jar. This is an in app purchase, but it buys you nothing. It unlocks no new features other than a thank you message. It may buy me my daily coffee. It also provides another mechanism for providing feedback. An extra motivator to drive forward the development of the app.
If you can afford it, any tips are gratefully received. If you cannot or don't want to tip, a constructive review on the app store or private feedback is just as valuable.