Talk Funnel

Ramin Firoozye's (occasional) Public Whisperings

AutoPark: my first iPhone app

Posted by: Ramin on February 1, 2010

There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes activity around these parts and I hope to be posting more actively from here on out. But first I’d like to announce my first iPhone product on the AppStore, published under the FrolicWare label:

AutoPark: Say Goodbye to Parking Tickets. It lets you keep track of time on your meter so you avoid parking tickets. It uses push notifications to send out an early-warning and a separate meter expiration alarm. The intent behind it, however, was to be an all-in-one driving assistant so it does a few more things, like:

  • Help find a parked car using the GPS.
  • Remember where you parked in a parking lot (floor, section, color zone, etc).
  • Work with or without push alarms enabled (if away from the data network).
  • Track time on parking meters or with pre-paid parking machines.
  • Attach a text and picture note — handy for remembering what that rental car looks like.
  • Email all parking data out via a rich HTML message with embedded map and links.
  • Get a list of nearby local services (bank, gas station, bathrooms) you might need when you’re parking your car or right before leaving.

it’s available for $4.99 on the AppStore and the first user reviews have been pretty positive. It’s already made it into MacWorld Magazine!

But this isn’t just about a single iPhone app. There are a lot of posts rattling around my head that I’ll be rolling out gradually: from the evolution of the UI and graphic design, to running a one-person development shop, the economics of app development, the transition to iPad, tips and tricks on developing a push server, and the process of marketing an iPhone app. From conversations with fellow iPhone developers I get the feeling this is information that could be useful to others in their own efforts.

When the AppStore was first announced, I remember thinking this is the first time an individual or a small team can easily bring a software product to market without having to worry about a lot of the hassles of full-bore software publishing. I still think that’s the case, but I was off by an order of magnitude on the it’ll be easy department. I’m going to write about this experience because I think it’s good to get these things out there for all those people dreaming about starting their own gig.

In the meantime, here’s a presentation I gave at the January 2010 Silicon Valley iPhone Developer Meetup on development of back-end servers for iPhone apps. I tried to avoid making it about a specific product but it relies heavily on the experience of putting together the AutoPark push notification server.

This is only the first app out of the chute and this is the first post on what goes on behind the scenes. So stay tuned…

P.S. I’ll be showing off AutoPark (and maybe a peek of an upcoming app) at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco February 9-13, 2010 at the Mobile Application Showcase. This is the first year they’re featuring iPhone apps so it’ll be interesting to see how they’re received in a historically Mac-only conference. It’s also my first time as an exhibitor (and yes, I’ll be blogging about it).

Feel free to pop over and say hi.

Update: AutoPark won Best of Show at Macworld 2010 and got 4.5 out of 5 mice.