Indie Diary #3 — Conferences, support, preparing a launch.
Although SharePal launched last Wednesday, this diary is not yet about the launch itself, but everything that happened before, and oh boy, that was a very busy September.
Let’s dive in!
This year, I have been invited as a Lightning Speaker to attend NSSpain XI. And I’ll also attend the first Swift Connection a week after in Paris.
Very excited that my call for paper was selected, it’s my first time at NSSpain, but also my very first time as a speaker. And not in front of a small audience!
Preparation took a lot of time. My speech “Push the limit of geofencing” is about building Padlok over the years. From the first proof-of-concept with a lot of UX issues, to the current geofencing engine with a lot of mechanisms such as precision enhancer, false positive preventer, and region synchronizer… There is a lot to tell!
Preparing the slides is a thing. But preparing a speech is another. I had multiple things I needed to make sure of:
- My talk had to fit in 15 minutes. Not much more. Not much less.
- I have to know the speech enough to be able to give it without thinking
This is how I ended up training about once to two times a day with my talk. Tweaking the slides along in the process to ensure it ends up perfectly to be what I wanna transmit.
The talk was on Friday, September 15. But I think my last updates to the slides were in the night between Thursday and Friday! 🙃
A strange support case
In the meantime of preparing my conferences, a strange support case came in for Padlok.
The syncing between iPhone and the Apple Watch had stopped for some reason, preventing this customer to use correctly the App on his watch.
It was a busy week, and I planned to deal with that feedback later, during the weekend.
Big mistake. I should have at least responded the mail, because right on the Friday evening, a one-star review complaining about this issue prompted in the App Store.
In parallel of my daily job, and my NSSpain talk preparation, I took the time to reproduce the issue, diagnose it, and try to find a solution.
We ended up:
- Inviting the customer to a specific Support TestFlight
- Added A LOT of diagnostic logs in that TestFlight version that would trigger when any sync issue would occur.
- Rewriting my whole Core Data Stack from scratch, and improving sync UI, and error reporting on the Watch. (Thanks Antoine Van Der Lee for this amazing article about Persistence History Tracking.)
Turns out the issue was not a code issue, but was an iCloud issue.
Have I forgotten to deploy my latest schema changes to the CloudKit console?
Yes I did 🤦♂️
A big thank you for the customer that really helped out, reproducing the issue again and again on his devices, and providing very high value feedback in our exchanges. The fix wouldn’t have been possible without you! Also thank you for revising your 1 star review to a 5 stars one! 🤩
All the other improvements were released with version 2023.20, right before Swift Connection starts.
Still looking for the codes?
Conference speaking, and attending
Speaking at NSSpain was an incredible experience!
Yes, I was very stressed out. Yes, I survived getting on stage in front of hundred of people!
- Thanks to the organizers, Luis Ascorbe & Borja Reinares for having me on stage!
- Thanks to Marina Gornostaeva, Kamil Borzym and Antoine Van Der Lee for helping me refining my talk, and giving me feedback afterward to improve myself.
- Thanks to Jordi for remembering I was doing geofencing at speakers dinner!
- Thanks to Berta Devant for introducing me as Batman.
- Thanks to every folk I have discussed with during the event. It was a blast!
You can find my slides and watch the replay of my talk on my talk page
Swift Connection One
Previously known as FrenchKit, what better description could we give at Swift Connection than Lovely French.
A lot of familiar faces, and friends to discuss with. But also the occasion to meet even more people, including Mikaela Caron 👋🏻.
Needless to say. Attending a conference is more festive than speaking to one. Although I do think I have enough celebrated the end of NSSpain on Friday evening! 😜
Preparing a launch
Sure, SharePal has launched now. And next Indie Diary will discuss the launch steps and results.
In the meantime, we were preparing the launch. A lot. We bought AppIcon stickers for both Padlok and SharePal, to give them away during both NSSpain & Swift Connection.
Distributing stickers was not part of the initial plan of releasing SharePal. But we decided to include it because not taking advantage of my speaker role would be a waste!
This started to build an expectation for SharePal, and people started to register to the beta, planned for late September. (And a launch planned somewhere in October)
We had to build all of our marketing material, including App Store screenshots, social media assets, and the very important PressKit.
But while we were preparing for this launch, a post on Mastodon changed everything. Someone, at NSSpain and Swift Connection, who saw my app and also got a sticker from me, announced a similar concept, “something he wanted to build for a long time”.
I can relate to the crave of building something, even similar to someone else concept. But keeping that quiet while I was presenting my project face to face, and then rushing something out … it felt like a form of betrayal.
From there, we advanced the launch, by at least a week or two. We started announcing the TestFlight, and opened the beta the very next day.
We finalized the Store page, and sent to Apple a first version to open pre-orders. We also completed the PressKit and we announced quickly to all the press that we would release on Wednesday, October 4th.
And to make sure the app outcomes day one customers expectations, I took a few hours to build a last minute new feature in the app: Item categories.
It was planned in the roadmap. It was the most important thing to add to the app after release. We added it before.
In a nutshell, we absolutely didn’t follow the initial plan for releasing SharePal. It was a very long day that I’ll summarize in my next Indie Diary, along with the learning of this launch, and what we’ll do better next time!
Lighting speed sharing!
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