Jul 03 | Author: Roger Erik Tinch
Just recently we released the first version of our iPhone App called CineSlots. It had been in development for several months with the coding ninja skills of Hunter Hillegas who took our pie in the sky idea and made it into a reality (more info on the app here). What follows is in an interview with him about iPhone Apps, CineSlots and this wondrous city we call Las Vegas.
How did you get into developing iPhone Applications?
I’ve been doing programming on the Web for many years, building tools for bands like The Offspring, Bad Religion and Social Distortion. I’d dabbled in programming for other platforms but not until the iPhone did something really catch my interest.
The iPhone is a great platform for developers – it’s like a computer in your pocket. It’s really pretty amazing.
What separates the iPhone App ecosystem from that of Palm or BlackBerry? Do you develop for other platforms? Why or why not?
In terms of those alternatives, it’s night and day. The development platform for iPhone is based on the same tools for the Mac, with many years of engineering behind them and a legacy of good user experiences and great technology.
While the Apple iTunes App Store is not perfect, it does remove a lot of the obstacles to selling your software and getting it in front of people. I’m convinced it will continue to improve and some of the current issues will get worked out.
As far as other platforms, I have done some BlackBerry programming, which is all based on the Java programming language and some very crusty tools. It wasn’t fun. I have nothing against the BlackBerry (that’s what I had before iPhone) but until the tech and tools are more developer friendly, I can’t imagine doing any more apps.
Palm has a new device called the Pre which runs a new operating system called WebOS. It looks interesting but they’ve only let a very small number of people into their developer program so far – I can’t comment on specifics until I get to really dig in. Palm seems to be teetering on the brink – we’ll see if they survive or not. At least they have a solid product in the Pre.
Any particular challenge you looked forward to in developing CineSlots?
It’s always fun to work on an application with great visual design and that’s what we have with CineSlots. In terms of it’s components, the app is fairly straightforward. It combines several types of media, from photos to video.
What sort of unexpected speed bumps did you run into?
Going into it, the one thing I expected to be a bit of a challenge was the spinning reels – we wanted a realistic looking experience. I tried several techniques, some of which had less than stellar results.
Eventually, we were able to work together to combine a bunch of high quality frames into just the right container – it came out looking pretty good.
What other have apps you developed?
I have two other shipping apps on the iPhone:
Vegas Mate is a location-aware city guide for Las Vegas tourists. It helps visitors plan all the aspects of their vacations, from hotels to restaurants to shows and nightlife. Users can rate and review everything and share those reviews with others. More information is at vegasmateforiphone.com.
Bombora is a wave/wind and ocean condition tracking tool for surfers and boaters. More information at bomborasurf.com.
You seem to have a real love for Las Vegas, why is that?
With Las Vegas it was love at first sight. No other place is so much capital concentrated into such a compact resort corridor and somehow the economics work out (at least most of the time) – that fascinates me. From there I started to learn about what it takes to design, build and then manage one of these places – I was hooked.
I started my RateVegas.com Web site in 1999 and the Two Way Hard Three design blog a few years later. Since then it’s been quite a ride!
Any sneak peeks at future apps you might be working on?
Well, the next thing on the slate are upgrades for both Vegas Mate and Bombora. Vegas Mate 2 should be out in mid-July and it will feature a long list of upgrades including restaurant menus, over the air content updates, and more. Beyond that, I have a few irons in the fire but nothing I can talk about yet.
We will be updating CineSlots to include the 2009 fest information sometime very soon.
We’re giving away free CineSlots promo codes at random to people who comment on this post. You can also buy the app for only 99¢ on iTunes.