A few years ago, I got to write my first mobile app using Objective-C and XCode. It was an incredibly simple app for the best Pitchman in the land, Billy Mays. The one thing I remember was the learning curve. To effectively develop for iOS, you need to understand a vast ecosystem of technologies and concepts that involved more than just Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and XCode.
The concepts are still important, and you’ll learn them later, but they can certainly be intimidating when you just want to get started with a simple (or as complex as you want) app.
All I wanted to do was write a simple app to enable people to outfit themselves with the legendary beard and blue shirt, so that they might feel an ounce of his awesomeness. It took me 3 months of hacking away at night in my free time…thats like a year in internet time.
Now, I don’t want this to sound like I am or was afraid to learn something new, or that the iOS platform is impossible or not developer-friendly. In fact, I tend to sink my teeth into anything new and exciting, and I still think there are many scenarios where it makes sense to go with platform-specific languages and frameworks. The rub was that just that to get the simplest of apps up and running was like climbing Everest just to see if you like snow…there might just be easier and more efficient ways to do it.
For a few years, I hacked away with Objective-C and never really fell in love with it. Then Titanium from Appcelerator came along…
I speak for everyone at Bunchball when I say “Jive Software is an awesome group of people with a badass product.”
So, why am I drooling over a software company? Quite simply…they gave us free beer:
Ok, ok so here’s the real story…(the beer was delicious, however)…
A week or so after our rush from winning the Salesforce AppQuest competition, a small contingent of Bunchballers found ourselves hunkered down deep in an underground bunker beneath Jive Headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. Our mission: come up with an awesome app that solves a problem for Jive customers using the Jive Apps platform and the power of Nitro.
Now the fun part: this app will be showcased at JiveWorld 2011…in 17 days. I repeat, this yet-undefined app has to be designed, coded, tested and working in 17 days.
This is going to be a longer post. I’d say “I’m sorry” or “I should pare it down a bit,” but I’m going to be completely unapologetic on this one…this experience wasn’t something I can easily compress…
So if you haven’t heard of Salesforce.com, I think you will probably still get something out of reading this entry. I just hope, for your sake, that the rock you are undoubtedly living under is comfortable, because Salesforce is everywhere and it’s not going away. And now, thanks to some awesome vision, dedication and hard work by many people Bunchball is going to be a part of the Salesforce experience in their AppExchange.
A little over two months ago, I started noticing Bunchball’s founder, Rajat Paharia up late hacking on something unknown. It was almost as if he lived next door to me, and all I could hear were loud metallic noises coming from the garage. Being a night-owl myself, I’d get random questions here or there from him, until finally I just had to ask “what in the hell are you working on until 3am every night?”
He explained to me how he was just “playing with Force.com” and exploring gamifying the overall Salesforce experience. Interesting, I thought, but I still didn’t quite GET it.
The next thing I know, there’s a flurry of Salesforce-related emails going around the office, filling my inbox up like a fire-hose to a shot glass. And then, the phone call from Rajat comes…
"So, there’s this conference in San Francisco for Salesforce.com, called Dreamforce, and they’re having an app competition. They’re looking for the best new app in their AppExchange, and we’re going to win it by gamifying Salesforce…are you game? (pun intended)" Rajat’s confidence, vision, and idea were so infectious that I couldn’t wait to get started at it.
"…Oh, one thing…we have about 2.5 weeks left to spec out, wireframe, design and code this thing."
Yes. The adrenaline started flowing immediately. We’re talking the good “this is going to be a rush" adrenaline. The "fire under your ass" adrenaline. The "get a helmet, kid, this is going to be a wild-ride" adrenaline.
So we started working furiously towards our goal…