Voxel Steps: Development diary

Thanks, good insight!
But how do you monetize?

Also, what about the tech side of my questions? Any advice?

ps. I’m just gonna copy the functionality of my own todo excel hightly customized sheet to mobile app version. I use it myself a lot and couldnt find any existing app that would closely satisfy my needs. So I’ll have to do it myself. I expect that I’m not alone and there are ppl out there that have similar needs to my own.

I’ll wait for people to come to me with money. Build something great and opportunities will arise by itself. There’s a risk by monetizing too early and getting greedy, you might limit your potential

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Doesn’t anyone has to say something about the technical part?

I would recommend React Native. It feels more native on the device than Cordova. If your app grows you’ll probably feel the difference. The learning curve is “okay”. I had some struggle with a UI framework which gave me bad performance. After removing it and using own styles, everything is running smoothly. Another problem could be that there is no “official” Meteor package. I used react-native-meteor for my application, but it doesn’t use the “real” Tracker of Meteor and causes some unwanted behavior (mutliple re-renderings because a single Tracker change triggers all Trackers). There is now something new like meteor-client-bundler which could solve this problem, I just didn’t have the time to test it, yet (and it was released after I’ve finished my app).


I’m renaming this topic from ‘Need advice for mobile app’ to ‘Voxel Steps: Development diary’

I’ve given much thought to the concept of my app and I have decided to maintain a dev diary here.
Because Meteor is the only stack I know well and this community I highly value.
I alse expect having a diary here will keep me motivated to move this little proj fwd.

The app name is Voxel Steps.
‘Voxel’ is the name for a family of mobile apps related to productivity that I have in mind; doesn’t relate in any way to voxels in graphics :hugs:, it’s just a pleasant sounding word for my ears :blush:
‘Steps’ is because ‘task’ and ‘todo’ words are far too trite; and each task is essentially a step to a bigger goal or part of a bigger task - hope it’s not too farfetched :sweat_smile:

Above I’ve mentioned that I wanted to have two versions - free and paid; and my 1st take on it was that the paid version would have had server syncing of your local tasks.
More thinking on app design resulted in the decision to also add shared tasklists and task delegation to the paid version.

For starters I’ve decided to focus on building the ‘free’ part of the app first, ie the part where you can manage your own tasks, w\o any server involvement. Because I urgently need a mobile app for my own tasks!!! :joy:
So… the question is: do I even need a Meteor backend on this stage?

Secondly, I’m in the process of choosing a front-end framework; I have this article here that lists most prominent ones, but they all seem to utilize Cordova which has a reputation of not-that-ideal-of-a-solution. And yes, I do have plans to make my app bigger eventually, and they say Cordova sucks with bigger apps.
Also, thanks to @waldgeist - this topic has me really intrigued with react native & expo.io
Comments & suggestions?

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Nice…good luck and I look forward to your journey.

In my experience we can presuppose too much of the market out there…as success/adoption of a product with any utility (you established that by your need) often depends more on what audience we can create/reach than ‘market conditions’.
Im waffling, but rather than ‘marketing to the whole world’ find the first users/customers group and then find the features/pricing that trigger conversion (download/use/sale).
You cd always release an early and free ‘MVP’ under another brand and go over analytics that way…then pivot and rebrand…

Plenty of success stories (I’m not vouching for their veracity) that might give you something: http://stuartkhall.com/posts/an-app-store-experiment

Also, this article is 100 years old in tech years - but may have some useful pointers: http://sourcebits.com/app-development-design-blog/paid-vs-free-apps-app-store-vs-google-play/

N.B black bar on the productivity column but take with a pinch of salt.
Also heres appannies app market forecast

Back to tech…RN is a great choice. Expo is the way to go for productivity and also it provides a lot out of box (push etc). Give a lot of thought to UX polish - its makes a great difference and this is where 60fps shows…little animations make people love a product (Animated api, I also like Victory from Formidable Labs for graphing etc etc)

I’ve been learning from Spencer Carli over at handlebars (and recommend everything he does) and anything I can find on github…(shout out to Ben Awad on github/youtube.

(btw. I’m working on an education app
Client: RN, Apollo |
BE: either Meteor or something like serverless-gql-lambda/dynamo/cognito)
because I think life should be either as easy or as interesting as possible.

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@manuel, can I use VM with React Native? I really look forward to it!

You can. The only caveat is you need to use the components the way they’re intended to be used, not with VM bindings. The only bindings which I know will work are if, repeat, and ref.

Why such a limitation? Can you elaborate?

VM bindings work with html elements, not custom components (which React native has). Now that I think of it the text binding should work too because it transpiles to “regular” react.

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Manuel, I’m really struggling to make VM work with Expo app I’ve created.
Is there a chance you could hack up a React Native example app? Similar to Meteor-VM example app.

I’ll create a hello world when I get the time.

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Did you download the Expo app or use create-react-native-app? If create the app using Expo, there’s an interface that allows you to use the simulator – is that the part you’re having issues with?

Yes, I do use Expo. Everything works fine until I try to refactor standard RN component into a VM one. The parser complains about the viewmodel.js file.
Maybe some probs with .bablerc…? What do you got there?
Do you successfully use VM syntax in native components?

Status update
Expo app is working kool. I even managed to make it work in offline mode, so I can hack at my proj even when I dont have internet.
Current status
Learning React Native and building mobile apps in general;
Building 1st screen with Steps (tasklist) component

Good to know you got it working. I’m having all kinds of problems getting a basic android app to work (without VM). Phone link not working, Android emulator not running, etc.

Yeah, it takes some trial and error for sure :wink:

Status update
Ok, a lot of water has run under the bridge since the last post in this topic, but as strange as it may sound, I am reviving it. Live and prosper!! mwahaha!
Two years ago this project wasn’t meant to happen, but now I am returning back to it; I am once again struggling with my task management :joy:
Since 2017 I’ve grown some solid coding muscle and I’m confident this time I can get the app from the start to the finish.

Current status
I’m back at choosing the tech stack.
The app will be written in Typescript.
I’ve gotten very proficient with React, so React Native is the obvious way to go. I will try Expo as testing environment; I hope they have fixed the nasty bugs I was having probs with back in 2017.
I will use Apollo as the data transport and Apollo Client for the state management (it has recently become official).
I would also like to use serverless but I’m inexperienced with that. I would need some advice here, specifically in regards to db config and user management - how can this be done with serverless? Some advice plz.
And finally, the last point I haven’t yet decided on - is whether I need Meteor :slight_smile:
Obviously it’s good for the classic node.js app, but if I go with serverless there isn’t really much point in using it. What would be your thoughts on that?

I’ve re-read your comments and two years later they seem even more valuable than back then :smile:
I can see that your app is no longer hosted on Play; what have you been doing these years?
Can you give some more insight on the mobile app development and marketing and would it be different from your last post here? Cheers

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