Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marketing Strategy

I am not developing applications to make a living. I would like to make enough money from my applications to cover my costs, and maybe a little extra. However part of the game is to try and maximize my exposure for the applications, and to also develop quality applications that are either useful, or give someone a laugh.

It seems to me in the current application market, the biggest problem is obscurity. My approach will be to:

Make my applications available in an ad supported format, as well as a pay format.
This won't be a light version, the ad supported format will be fully functional, it will just have ads. I expect that because of this I won't sell many of the pay versions, but thats ok.

I also plan to write this blog about developing my applications, including source code. This will hopefully both attract attention to the applications, and increase the likelyhood of getting my applications reviewed by one of the iPhone review sites.

Of course having a cynical reason to post the blog, will hopefully also motivate me to keep the blog going, and not let it wither away.

I'm a big fan of ebooks, and one of the points made by Eric Flint about book piracy applies to my applications, the biggest problem is obscurity, not piracy. Until I achieve a MUCH greater degree of success, anything that gets more hits or downloads for my application is better.

This is especially true on the Iphone Application store, there is a huge drop off after you fall out of the top 25, and even more after the top 100 (for a given category). I'm not aiming towards the big categories, but still am unlikely to enter the top 100 unless my ideas and implementation get out there.

Step 3. Apply for contracts

A helpful tip from,

Namely that if you are going to be selling applications, you should submit your contract information as soon as possible so that once you have you application approved, you won't be waiting for Apple legal to review it.


Step 2. Install Source Code control

If you are going to be developing professionally, you NEED to have a source control system installed. While Xcode does not come packaged with a source control system, it does integrate nicely with Subversion.

The following document outlines some of the efforts needed to use subversion with Xcode.

Note, that this is a far more complicated process for installing subversion than is available elsewhere. You can download a prepackaged subversion that integrates with XCode from:

I pretty much just downloaded that, and ran the package. I then was able to follow the second half of the Apple document to add projects to subversion for management in Xcode.

Step 1. Buy a Mac and install XCode

The very first step you should do if you really want to do development with the iPhone, is purchase a Mac. While it is possible, with a jailbroken iPhone and a Linux virtual machine to develop without a Mac, I don't recommend it. (You can even develop directly on the iPhone itself, but I really don't recommend it.

In addition if you wish to distribute through the Apple store, you need a lot of infrastructure provided by Xcode, I don't know if its possible to get around it, but IMO, it's far more effort than it's worth. Instead buy a Mac Mini, which is a pretty nice machine, and download a free copy of Xcode from Apple.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Enrolling the iPhone Developer program

You can develop for the iPhone using the simulator just by owning a Mac, and downloading xcode. However if you want to put stuff on the iPhone to test it out, then you need to be a registered developer. It costs $99 to join, but if you are at all serious about developing for the iPhone, you should join as early as possible, since it seems to take Apple a long time to respond to your application.

5/15/2009 I bought into the developer program.
5/19/2009 I sent an inquiry about why they haven't sent me the activation code.
5/28/2009 I sent another email
6/23/2009 They responded to the first email, over a month later, and resent the email that had never been sent
7/7/2009 They responded to the second email that I had successfully enrolled in the program.

The moral of the story is that if you are going to join, join soon, and if you don't get an activation code rapidly, send a support email because it will take over a month for them to respond to the email.