There’s a saying passed down to me from my grandfather; measure twice, cut once.

Now obviously this is a reference to the physical craft of carpentry, however it applies to app building just as well. Planning and preparation is the key to any successful project; this cannot be underestimated.

Having just completed my 48hour appjam, my eyes are in bits and I am ready to sleep for a weekend. I managed to keep a log of my progress throughout the two days:

09:00 Start of day 1.
10:30 Completed brainstorm
11:00 Idea cloud features
11:30 MVP established
12:00 Initial layouts considered
12:30 Advanced formation design
13:30 MVP focus
14:00 Started looking at Kivy
15:00 Switche to MIT App Inventor
22:00 Slowing right down
23:34 End of day 1 - app has basic functionality
09:30 Start of day 2.
11:30 App built and sent out to testers
13:30 Feedback from testers built into app
16:30 Continuous code refinements as new techniques discovered
19:00 App built and concluded.

I began by working through my traditional design process, it took a long time to establish some form of idea that tied into the theme (Guide-Opponent-Restricted) and it only came after looking at more personal areas of my life. Once I had developed this idea, I set up a Trello board to enable me to manage my project. Unfortunately, my apprehensions took over and I decided to rush into the development, knowing it was my weakest area. Even though I have come away with a working app that meets my MVP specification, I know that it would have been a better product had I held off from development a while longer to consider all areas of the design.

Having not used Kivy at all, I gave it just an hour of my time before switching to the MIT App Inventor, which is basically like writing pseudo-code. It took a while to get going in this but I eventually found my way and started making real progress. There are frustrations with the limits of the software, so my future goal is definitely to rewrite this application in python to give me greater control.

I did manage to get my app in front of testers, being a local football app I had my entire group of teammates to chime in with their thoughts and initial first use impressions which was helpful. I was able to refine the app slightly based on their feedback but ultimately held off on some features due to the looming deadline.

Overall, a success; if only for reaching MVP status. In the real world, work is all about meeting deadlines and producing end results, no client will ever accept “oh I tried to make something above and beyond what you asked for but I just fell short so you get nothing”. Reaching an end product enables to you practice all those other areas such as testing, handover to clients, optimising etc that you just don’t ever reach without first getting a MVP.

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do - Henry Ford