Issue #134 - Stewart Lynch
Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to Issue #134! 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 Stewart Lynch.
👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.
YouTuber and app developer
1) What is your name? Where do you live?
My name is Stewart Lynch and I live in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
I am basically a self directed iOS developer who learns on my own or from others in the community. My journey started in 1969 before there was even a Computer Science Department at my University. All computer/programming courses I took were part of the Mathematics Department and I got my degree in Mathematics in 1975 and started teaching. Within education, I had many different roles including 3 years in hell as a Vice Principal, but many great years in related tech positions including senior positions as Director of Technology before taking an early retirement to pursue a more dedicated tech position with Canada’s largest software company, OpenText.
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
Good question. Can I even call myself a developer? I am independent now, and I do develop applications so I guess I can consider myself an indie, but I do not really make a living out of it. Many might consider me just a hobbyist. However, I take it very seriously and am always improving my skills.
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
Coding has been in my blood right from the beginning.
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
It is pretty easy when you are retired. I get up at around 6:00 am and spend the first 1.5 hours going through Mastodon and Twitter feeds to find the latest Swift/SwiftUI related content and make note of blog posts and videos that interest me and will require further investigation.
On average I spend 4-6 hour each day either researching or creating new content for my YouTube channel. My wife is early to bed so I spend a couple of hours each evening either working on my own apps or doing more work on preparing my next video.
The rest of the day is divided up between spending time with my wife and my dog. My wife and I are active cyclists, swimmers, skiers and hikers so we usually try to get at least 4 days of solid workouts in one of those activities. It changes with the season but swimming is a constant.
We try to travel as much as possible and have several trips planned for this year including Hawaii (I go every year), Palm Springs and Europe in the fall. My goal is also to get to WWDC this year.
6) It was interesting reading your work background. Was iOS development something you started doing on the side or did it not begin until after your time at OpenText?
7) I had no idea that you had released so many apps (eleven). Which ones are you the most proud of?
Every one of my apps were created to fill one of my own particular needs. Most are not very successful, but “My Wine Cellar”, “My Bookshelf” and “My Scorecard” are my most successful ones that allow me to keep track of my wine collection, the books I read and want to read and my golf scores. I a currently converting those 3 to SwiftUI so that I can maintain them going forward.
I am not very good at promoting my apps and the one that I like the most is never discovered. It is called “Snap In Time” for capturing collections of moments over time and creating visual slide shows.
8) What made you make the jump from prolific app developer to also being a content creator making tutorials that help others? Or is that something you’ve been doing from the beginning?
Having been self directed with no mentor, I developed a lot of very bad habits. Most of my apps are poorly constructed and difficult to maintain. Most are written with UIKit. The more I read and videos I watched, I realized that I had to understand more what I was coding and not just copy and paste or use someone else’s CocoaPod to implement some nice technique. I made a conscious decision to never right a line of code again unless I could understand what I was doing and be able to explain that to others. When I worked at OpenText, I also ran the YouTube channel for our product line and created a lot of help tutorials. So I was familiar with the platform and with my background in teaching, I thought that I could share what I learned with others. The original concept which still holds true to day is based on a song by Rod Stewart and the Small Faces called “Ooh La La” and a line used in the song is “Ooh la la, - I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now, When I Was Younger”. There is also no better way to learn and understand something than to teach it to others. I don’t want to share incorrect information to my viewers so I spend a lot of time scripting and preparing my videos so that they are accurate and hopefully will stand the test of time.
9) You’re one of my favorite YouTube content creators. How do you go about deciding on what topics to cover? I know in my case you reached out to me about a blog post I made that you wanted to expand upon. I learned a lot from the resulting video you made from it!
I am never short on topics. As I mentioned, I do a lot of reading of blog posts and find topics of interest to me. If I find a topic that I am unfamiliar with, but I think would be interesting to others, I will reach out to the author to see if they are OK with me using their article as a reference. I often start out thinking that I will simply replicate what was done in the blog post in a video, however, invariably, I change it up quite a bit and add my own learning to it. I will always give credit though to the original author if I have used a substantial amount of their code or process.
Originally, I focused mainly on Swift topics and the basics of coding in Swift. Over the last 3 years, I have developed more in to creating videos that apply concepts that I have learned. Often, blog posts are quite theoretical and how to implement them are often beyond the ability of many of my subscribers at this point in their learning path. What I try to do is create a sample project in SwiftUI that shows how to implement the topic for framework and provide some practical, reusable examples.
I have no real plan or curriculum that I follow. I simply do what interests me and most of the time, it interests others too. Occasionally I will put together a series like my Wordle Series that works through an entire solution. I have also done a number of series for Chris Ching for his Code With Chris Plus offering. The most recent one is on using the Dall*E api and we build a fully functional app using that api from scratch.
10) I’ve heard you mention that you feel that some of your best videos are ones that actually didn’t get a high view count. What are some of them so that we can make sure to go check them out?
Most of them are getting decent views now, but sometimes I have a topic that I think is really interesting but it is too niche to attract a lot of viewers. What disappoints me most Is my series playlists. These are often 6 or more videos in a series where I build out a complete application into something that one could use as a portfolio application of their own. I am careful to try and cover a lot of bases in the code such as proper error checking and the currently perceived best practice. These are often poorly subscribed, but the content in them I think extends well beyond what the descriptions might offer. As I mentioned, I am really terrible at marketing.
12) You’re well on your way to having 12k subscribers on YouTube. When you started your channel did you ever expect to have that many people watching your content?
To be honest, I never really thought about subscribers. I just needed something to keep me active and my brain working and this checked all of the boxes. It is really nice to get the recognition however and for the most part the feedback had been extremely positive. I know that my approach and presentation is not for every one but that is OK. I always tell people if they thing I am taking too long, watch at 1.5x speed :)
13) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What is the most fun part of being an indie dev?
The hardest part was getting the confidence up to share what I know and what I have learned. I was afraid that because of my age, younger developers would not take me seriously. That is one of the reasons why I never show myself live on a video. I am less concerned about that now once I have a more of a following. Money is not my driving factor though it is nice to get some financial recognition. I don’t think I even break even on my expenses overall, and that is why I suppose I am more of a hobbyist than an indie dev.
The most fun is getting positive feedback and reinforcement from those who are benefiting from my videos. Teachers are insecure in general, so positive feedback goes a very long way in inspiring me to continue doing this.
14) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
I may be old (72 this year), but I am not dead yet and I think that I have something to offer the community. If you are interested in a more thorough approach to a particular topic, I think that my videos offer that. This is not to disparage the work of other content providers. Sometime people just want the answer and I too subscribe to and pay for content from many providers who give me what I need at the time. Everyone has their own way of learning and there are enough of us out there that can provide us with a variety of learning experiences.
15) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
There are way too many really and I am afraid that I will miss some. Some are just so prolific as indie devs. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Jordi Bruin (@email@example.com) I will purchase anything he creates. Other indie devs that I really appreciate are those who create tools and utilities that make my life a little easier. These include Snider Sorhus (@Sindreshorhus@mastodon.social), Geoff Hackworth (@firstname.lastname@example.org), Antoine van Der lee (@email@example.com) and likely many more that I have missed. I recommend that people check out who I am following on Mastodon and there you will find a list of amazing iOS Devs who share their knowledge openly.
There are many others who are YouTube and blog based content providers that have been invaluable in my development so I just hope that I can pay it back by sharing what I have learned too.
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 😊
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