The Wonderful World of Computer Graphic User Interface

As WWDC 2013 is over, some of the respectable opinion leaders share their thoughts on iOS 7’s new look. I would like to share links to their posts:

I admit, I’m quite biased in selecting these posts, having positive perspectives.

Surprisingly, there are some common understandings I could find, and have come up with myself, about iOS 7’s new look. Though I’m not a professional designer, or an influential leader like the ones above, I think it won’t be too bad to write one more post about iOS’ User Interface.

Representation by Animation: Until recently, objects or ideas have been represented by visualization. However, instead of bringing full detail from the looks of the objects shown in the real world, iOS 7 chose to use subtle or obvious animations of the objects, or about the ideas as the essential representation method. Please watch the video about Apple’s Design Intention, and recognize how different animations have been used to identical circular dots, to represent many different objects and ideas. This shift can be a great opportunity to those who believe in the apps to be more dynamic and alive, and a great challenge to those who are so used to draw beautiful but only static images.

Content Supremacy: iOS 7’s extremely minimal buttons and labels remind us what we’ve been forgotten; that the app’s main content must have full attention. If pixels or focus inside the device’s screen cannot be shared, so fighting between the main content and user interface controls cannot be avoided, iOS 7 voluntarily yield user’s attention to the main content, by making the controls so thin, translucent & borderless. Because they occupy so little area or look so simple, they can help the main content to be stood out automatically. However, what should not be misunderstood is that, the limitation on the controls can be ignored if they are parts of the main content.

Space Telescope: It’s not that easy to bring fluid transitions between views, but iOS 7 provides new methods to help the developer to implement them as easy as possible. I think it is to encourage the device’s screen to be utilized like a telescope showing one area of much bigger space, which includes more contents yet to be shown, until the device’s screen is looking toward them. The concept of panning & zooming from scrollable views have become more adoptable into view transitioning. Personally, I really like this. (Don’t know how to express in clearer form but…) This is to motivate the apps to bend more space and time, which is no real world medium will ever be able to do.

Still, it is Beta 1. I wonder how the end result will be for the look of iOS 7. But, at least for now, the heading of this exploration is showing the glimpse of the wonderful world of computer graphic user interface.

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Developing New PopToo

As PopToo, specifically the Classic version, is taking a break, New PopToo is busy being developed.

With the strong desire of the developer to try latest iOS methodologies, slowly but steadily, new looks have been tested and new ways to make the experience more enjoyable have been evaluated.

PopToo's New Look

Above image is showing not yet finalized look, but the main idea is to use the map as large and prevalent as possible.

Previously, I posted about my big hope for Google Maps iOS SDK. Without being actually disappointed at it, I have realized what I really needed for PopToo’s map.

Though Google’s map is great for showing regional information, the images are still bitmaps. For PopToo’s use of the map is focused around adding annotations, support for drastic zooming or scrolling, with better animation and rendering rate is more important.

Also, Google’s APIs are not really free. Until I can find the right strategy for PopToo’s growth, I can’t help but to delay my final decision to use Google Maps iOS SDK.

For now, the previous plan has been changed to use iOS’s original MapKit. Even though I recognize the many disadvantages of current MapKit, rather I am willing to make PopToo to complement it with the great features.

You can see them soon. Hope you would like them.

Google Maps iOS SDK

UPDATED: Lately, my opinion about Google Maps iOS SDK has been changed. Quite drastically, after experimenting more with Apple’s MapKit, and having much clearer about the requirements of PopToo, adopting Google Maps may stay optional for a long time.

Google Maps iOS SDK has been announced, and developers can register to receive API keys: https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/ios/

I personally have been anxiously waiting for this announcement, believing this SDK should come before the end of this year.

While struggling with myself in making enough time to develop new PopToo, or even to upgrade PopToo Classic for new 4 inch display, I can’t help but suspecting if Apple’s MapKit is really the right choice for PopToo. Naturally, I had to believe Google Maps should be available for developers as SDK, and now it’s realized.

Google Maps’ ubiquitous accessibility including web browsers, makes the service definitely superior to others by itself. Also, this ubiquitous accessibility fits great with PopToo’s plan to expand toward web application.

I’m still reading the documentation. I’m only confident that available features in this SDK will be useful for new PopToo. This announcement alone was able to re-invigorate my motivation to accelerate developing new PopToo.

PopToo is updated to version 1.3.5!

And changed its name to PopToo Classic.

[iTunes Link: http://itunes.com/apps/poptoo]

As a preparation for New PopToo, this Classic version has implemented potential iCloud functionality. It’s not yet operating, but next updates will bring ways to utilize iCloud storage, so you can migrate your history to New PopToo with no problem.

Currently, New PopToo is being developed by totally rewriting it. The main goals of New PopToo are:

  1. Focusing on Personal Use: Instead of requiring the user to connect to his or her social network to use PopToo, it will focus on being an utility which is great for geotagging user’s favorite music. Of course, sharing through social networks will not be gone, but be upgraded instead.
  2. Improved User Experience: New PopToo will be more handsome to look at, more interactive to touches. After all, iPhone and iPad has been touch centric devices and New PopToo will take more advantages of them.
  3. Adopting latest methodologies in iOS development: After being more informed about strong user acceptances in latest iOS versions in general, I am confident that us iOS developers are free from supporting legacy versions, and the cost of such freedom is tremendously inexpensive.
  4. Optimizing essential performances: The fundamental software problems including error handling, concurrent processing, and database architecting will be thoroughly revised. As a student of computer science, it’s my responsibility and privilege to look for the right solutions and learn to implement them to bring the best performance of PopToo.

By the way, I was able bought a ticket to WWDC 2012. It will be a great experience for me to be able learn new ideas and meet great people, I believe.

Enjoy PopTooing your favorite music!

Celebrating PopToo’s First Year

PopToo recently has become one year old!

I thank every PopToo Friend for finding this meager iOS app and using it everyday.

To a solo developer like myself, who never had his own personal project before PopToo, any kind of interest means a lot. I can’t help but feeling grateful and be humbled by all the PopToo-ings made by our Friends. Thank you so much!

Here are some records made with our PopToo Friends:

179 PopToo Friends checked-in 37419 times.

The first check-in was done by @revilo1390 at Jan. 5, 2011 20:13 UTC from Denver, Colorado, United States.

The song was “Chasing the Lights” by Last Winter.

Top 3 users who checked-in their songs are:

  1. @orbitat (14995 times)
  2. @r_Salxixa (11818)
  3. @yukino1230music (3020)

11932 songs, 3719 albums and 2651 artists were identified.

The Most checked-in song (84 times) is titled “All I Want” by

  1. A Day to Remember” (58 times)
  2. LCD Soudsystem (23)
  3. The Offspring (2)
  4. Cure (1)

The Most checked-in album (516 times) is “The Black Swan” by “Story of the Year”

The Most checked-in artist (1763 times) is “A Day to Remember”

Top 5 songs of “A Day to Remember” are:

  1. “All Signs Point To Lauderdale” (64 times)
  2. “I Heard It’s The Softest Thing Ever” (59)
  3. “Better Off This Way” (59)
  4. “All I Want” (58)
  5. “If It Means A Lot To You” (56)

Top 10 genres are:

  1. Rock
  2. Pop
  3. Soundtrack
  4. Indie
  5. Hardcore
  6. Alternative
  7. Punk Rock
  8. Indie Rock
  9. J-Pop
  10. Electronica/Dance

The Most checked-in Foursquare venue is “Runner Academia (1199 times) in São Paulo, Brazil

Top 10 cities are:

  1. Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Vallejo, CA
  4. Fremont, CA
  5. Palm Coast, FL
  6. Berlin, Germany
  7. Mt. Shasta, CA
  8. Rocklin, CA
  9. Santa Barbara, CA

Because of the experience in developing PopToo as my own personal project, I was able to prove my proficiency in software development and eventually got full-time employment.

Though I had to compromise time I may spend to improve PopToo more rapidly, having financial security freed me from the pressure to find the business model for PopToo.

So, I could keep PopToo as a free app without advertisements. By treating it as a non-commercial project, I didn’t have to ask for the user’s attention for the ads, but just for their satisfaction in using PopToo everyday.

About 3 months after PopToo’s release, an awesome app called Soundtracking was introduced. Other than its name, the app and its service were exactly how PopToo dreamed to be. Instead of feeling beaten, it taught me about the importance of knowing the limits of PopToo project. Without serious capital and additional development resources, trying to make PopToo as good as Soundtracking while having full-time job could have been the fatal disaster. It did solidify PopToo’s mission to stay non-commercial project, to be used for training me to become better iOS developer and for building meaningful relationships with PopToo Friends.

The future of PopToo is about becoming the Real Service. Though I’m not sure about keeping it non-commercial, I want to build great community of people who love to use PopToo. Three of the important objectives for continuing PopToo project are upgrading to have aesthetically pleasing user experience, building the web platform and utilizing geolocation more effectively. For these objectives, I guess I should learn more about graphic design and web development.

Again, I would like to thank all my PopToo Friends. Thank you so much for enjoying your favorite music with PopToo!