Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to Issue #121! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️
Deep Dish Swift is a brand new conference being held in Chicago April 30th to May 2nd in 2023. The conference aims to bring togethe Swift and iOS developers of all experience levels and backgrounds in an inclusive environment to share knowledge and experience from a diverse set of speakers. The first day is focused on indie development and and the next two are focused on Swift and iOS!
Today’s Spotlighted Indie Devs
📆 Today I’m featuring Bobby Bobak.
👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.
1) What is your name? Where do you live?
Hi there, I’m Bobby Bobak, living in Manchester, UK - the home of the first electronic stored-program computer (The Baby), Graphene and Alan Turing in his late years.
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
I’m a self-taught software developer with a background in fine arts and digital design. My day job involves wearing many hats, from doing back-end development in Ruby on Rails, front-end interactions with React. Then in the evenings I work on my coffee app F ltru using Swift and SwiftUI. When it comes to technology I enjoy dabbling in different fields. Ranging from from 3d modeling, animation down to low-level programming in Go or Ruby. However, in the last few years I’ve come to really enjoy house renovation jobs such as tiling, plastering or building wooden furniture.
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
I don’t think I’m an indie developer in the traditional sense because I still do contract work to fund my work and sustain myself. That said, many of my projects have always been an effort of one: myself. It involved brainstorming, designing, programming and to an extent, marketing.
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
Ever since I was a little kid I always had this entrepreneurial mindset and have enjoyed making things either for myself or for others. It started in high school with making video games for my friends to play with, then at university where our course leaders have given us a lot of creative freedom and we could tinker with producing simple clickable prototypes or simple apps to convey our design vision. This path has kinda developed this feeling that side projects feel natural natural to build in tamdem with full-time work.
When it comes to mobile development, I think being around other developers from my local community has really inspired me to open up Xcode and finally learn Objective-C, Storyboards and ship a simple app. I liked it so much I started looking for new ideas for an app.
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
Work/life balance - the holy grail for us developers! I seem to have this love/hate relationship with my work. When I get inspired I go full in, burning midnight oil on building new things. Then I tend to just step back for a week or two and let my mind breathe a little: go out with friends, go on a hike, ponder on other ideas. It’s a much slower development process, but it seems to work for me.
6) Filtru - Filtrue is the coffee app I’ve always needed! I wish I was a Filtru user years ago when I was starting to get into different methods of coffee making 😅 But I’m glad I use it now because it’s still really helpful! When did you start working on Filtru and what were your initial goals?
Thanks, I am super glad you find Filtru useful. This was the initial goal for the app: help more people make better tasting coffee at home. It started out as a WatchKit prototype back in 2016. It was just a simple timer with a tap on the wrist notifications to follow along a brew guide. Having talked to my friends in the coffee industry it quickly become apparent that there is real value in training people to prepare coffee the way the coffee roasters have intended to.
So few months later I turned the prototype into a full iOS app with 9 brew guides to help people explore the world of coffee a little more. The initial adoption was big enough for me to keep working on it for 6 more years.
Over the years I kept adding new features like sharing brew guides, Bluetooth scale connectivity, feature pages for coffee roasters, a one-stop shop for businesses to sell their coffee, and most recently Espresso tools and AR brew guides.
7) Filtru - The first thing I did when using Filtru was look at the AR (augmented reality) mode for familiarizing equipment. It.. is… so.. cool! I’m mainly an Aeropress user so that is the one I first tried and this would have been so helpful when I was first trying to figure it out. How do you even make something like this?! 🤯 What thoughts did you go through when deciding to include AR into Filtru?
The idea for AR guides came to me during a coffee festival. A good friend of mine has invited me to help him run a stand for his coffee roasting company. It was one of those perfect place/perfect time moments. A coffee company selling coffee beans on the left, a merchant selling equipment on the right and my little app Filtru right in the middle, paired with a coffee scale inviting people to try and make coffee themselves.
I learned a lot that day, how people drink their coffee, how to help them understamd the value of specialty coffee, and the big thing I noticed is that they struggled to use the equipment presented in front of them. It felt too much like a science experiment.
Few days later it hit me - AR would be a great training tool before you buy the equipment. At the time ARkit 1 came out so there were still issues with the performance but I kept working on it regardless. I just wish I had known how big of the project this would be. Producing a simple AR scene is one, but having to model, animate and optimise 3D models for 9 brew methods turned out to be a very long process.
8) Filtru - I just realized that Filtru is on both the App Store and Google Play! It seems like supporting both platforms is really great for Filtru. What have your experiences been with supporting both platforms? Do you notice any difference in how you need to market or handle support?
The Android app came about only a couple of years ago as it was one of the most frequent request. I had pondered whether to pick up Java/Kotlin and learn native iOS development but eventually I settled on the tool I knew the most from doing contract work: React Native. It took about a week to cobble together an MVP and a week or so more to polish up and ship it. I’m happy I did this as Filtru has grown as a brand among coffee drinkers. However, React Native can be a pain to maintain, and the lack of prominent features like Bluetooth scale integration, or even a shopping cart is a testament to that.
A fully native app would be the ideal next step for Filtru with a feature parity of the iOS app, but it requires me to find a lot more time to dedicate on learning new language, APIs and how to design apps the “Android-way”.
9) Filtru - Not really related to Filtru but what are your favorite brewing methods and roasts? 😁 Also, I also roast my own beans so I’m curious if you have any thoughts on that as well!
I’m a big fan of pour over coffee. The cups from a V60 brew method come out out really juicy and clean. If brewed right, filter coffees bring out all sorts of floral notes from a naturally processed coffee.
In my opinion, roasting coffee at home is awesome. It just brings more control over the taste of coffee, and buying green beans from ethical sources can really help producers get a suitable comensation for their hard work and dedication. Who knows, maybe Filtru will spin off a roaster’s companion app ;-)
10) Filtru - How does the bean ordering work with Filtru?! Are you a bean dealer and do you ship all of them from your house? I’m not always sure where to pick up beans if I’m not roasting my own but getting them through Filtrue seems really nice 🙌
The one-stop shop in Filtru is a clever orchestration of APIs and shopping cart integration. Because coffee is perishable, and it’s best enjoyed freshly roasted it would be counter-intuitive to stock coffee beans at “Filtru HQ” and then ship to the customer. Instead, coffee roasters can install an app on their Shopify storefront and pick which products to offer directly in the app. This simplifies the process for both consumer and coffee businesses as it provides a seamless e-commerce experience.
11) Filtru - What’s next?! Do you have any future features that you can share with us?
Currently I’m in the process of overhauling the timer screen and integrating Apple’s latest APIs like Live Activities and App Shortcuts. I think they are perfect for making the coffee tracking a much more seamless process. As for future features: going back to building a watch app could be a fun project!
12) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What the most fun part of being an indie dev?
I think marketing is the hardest part for us devs. It is a process that is very difficult to get right. It is super easy to look spammy, but then without it we won’t have exposure to new users and thus not getting more revenue.
As for the most fun part, for me it is the design phase. I tend to sketch out quick wireframes of the new features then dig right into code to move shapes and views around. It’s fun and creative.
13) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
Honestly, the whole of iOS dev. community is so inspiring to me. I would love to connect with more people doing intersting apps.
14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
For sure! Shout out to:
- David (GoVJ app / Waiting for Review podcast) @davidgarywood
- Daniel (Telemetry Deck / Waiting for Review podcast) @breakthesystem
- Devin (Crouton) @JustMeDevin
- Michael Tigas (Shelf app, Focused Work app) @michael_tigas
- Simon Ljungberg (Plantry and Handla apps) @simmelj
- Alex Logan (Coffee Book) @SwiftyAlex
- Kris Slazinski (Skores, Emo) @KSlazinski
- Gary Ismay (Meandr) @GoodBinary
Newly Released and Updated Indie Apps
Here are some newly released and newly updated apps from this past week! If you would like to possibly see your app in this list, please submit your app to the look at me form 👀
Thank you to everybody who made it to this footer! You either spent the time to read or took the effort to scroll 😊
Make sure to visit https://indiedevmonday.com/subscribe to get an email of future issues!
And go to Twitter and give @IndieDevMonday a follow… or multiple follows if you manage more than one Twitter account 😜