Development Notes 1

Today, I’m going to start a series of posts about the developments I’ve come across over the duration of the project. I’m going to scan in a bunch of scribbled pages I’ve knocked up on the train.

It’s also, hopefully, going to show how my ideas have changed to better meet the requirements of my non-tech-savvy audience.

Early Stages

In the first week of the course, I researched the iPhone and compiled a list of what I perceived to be its pros and cons. These came to change my project idea pretty dramatically – mostly for technical reasons.

I quickly discovered the iPhone Safari browser couldn’t upload photos, had extremely limited capabilities for on-board processing and was the sole development environment. Initially, we were of the belief that Apple would eventually release a native API, it’s since become apparent that they won’t – at least not for the 1G iPhone.

Because of these restrictions, I sorted through my project ideas and ultimately culled the ones which were infeasible:

  • iPhone video editor – on-board processing power is really, really limited
  • Photoblogging client – Safari can’t upload and both Flickr and WordPress allow you to post by e-mail.
  • Train delay announcer – CityRail is crap, therefore letting people know might help. Unfortunately, iPhones aren’t coming out in Australia in the near-future…
  • Social networking – dubbed Stalkbook, combined friend groups with positioning technology and geoblogging. It was scary and everyone else is doing GPS to death.

Ultimately, I decided to settle on a mobile picture editor. From my original notes, “Picasa for Mobile”, it would allow cropping; zoom; resizing and basic image adjustments. As part of these notes I wrote:

Allow bloggers, etc. to use the iPhone camera without having to edit photos on their PC/Mac before they uploaded them to their blogs, or e-mailed them to their friends.

As I thought more about the project, I realized that it would in fact, be feasible to develop and use. The only real problems came down to:

  • What features were most necessary for a mobile app (keeping in mind I’m trying to convince people to use their iPhone rather than use a computer)
  • How to fit a clear, easy-to-use interface in 4 diagonal inches.

Coming in the next post: the horrors of feature creep, pencil-drawn scribble and some realizations! Stay tunes! I mean tuned!