I’ve had a few interesting projects this Winter.

BrightBus: Champaign-Urbana V2.0

I found out somewhat by accident that the Champaign Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) was having a contest for apps using their API. I talked it over with CJ, and even though there was only 3 weeks left until the deadline, we decided it would be a good idea to give it a shot.

I was a little rusty on my iOS stuff. My last project was BrightBus: OSU that launched in late May 2011. I also decided that dropping core Three20 reliance was in my best interest. (I ended up using it for some of the TTStyle and TTViews).

I wrote a daily blog detailing my efforts on this project, mostly to help work out my thoughts and reason through the many quick decisions I had to make. Since there are so many posts, I thought it’d be best to make a separate tumblr with all the posts. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make that public because it’s very rambling and doesn’t really have much value as far as programming techniques or tips.

It ended up being the most intense programming sprint I’ve done to date. Doing a full eight hours at work, a couple hours of commute, then another eight to ten hours writing code the rest of the night was very intense. We got it out and live on the AppStore with a couple hours to spare.

Unfortunately, we didn’t end up winning the contest. I’m proud of the work we did, and the direction we took on the feature set and implementation. We were the only submission that was truly “designed”, both in visuals and interaction. I think if we would have started a few more weeks before, we may have stood a better chance.

In any case, we still have several hundred active users, and more every day that are willing to pay a couple bucks for something they probably use several times a week over the course of several years.

And although I’ve still got plenty of projects and commitments, I have plenty of features lined up for V2.1 and beyond.

New Rails Project

I came up with an idea for a webapp that focuses on music. The backend of it is pretty simple, and the idea is more centered around building a community than doing anything particularly complicated with algorithms. I’ve run the idea by a few of my friends, and so far the response has been much more positive than I expected. Enough that I’ve done a little work on a prototype of the Rails backend.

I have a feeling it’s going to take a while for this project to get off the ground. But there’s nothing too urgent about the idea, and I’d rather take some time to make sure we do it right and have the resources to focus on it 100% when it comes time to do so.