Issue #135 - Sen
Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to Issue #135! 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 Sen.
👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.
Developer of Typing Hero and Drafting
1) What is your name? Where do you live?
The name is Djonny Stevens Abenz though I prefer people call me Sen. It’s shorter! ! 😄 I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia.
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
I got hooked into computer since I was 13-14 years old when I first use a borrowed computer and learn how to load up a DOS game. I believe the game was Mega Man X!
I studied Computer Science in university.
In my main job, I built things for the web since Web 2.0 was not yet popular. And I started building apps for Android platform since 2012 (and learning Java at the same time).
I had many roles throughout my career, with the last one as VP of Engineering in one of the best tech company in Indonesia.
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
Yes, I definitely consider myself an indie developer. ! 😄
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
I’d say both frustration and learning.
I used a lot of free and paid apps that are useful to me on a day to day basis.
Most of the time, as I use them, I believe they could be so much better.
When that happened, I usually share some feedback to the developer. Unfortunately, most never respond to my message.
That is frustrating!
And to me (as with most developers), learning how to build something out of nothing to solve a problem is always fun and fulfilling.
I never knew how to build a text expander or text editor app before I started building them.
Both frustration and learning is complementing each other towards a positive outcome.
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
I don’t really think about this.
I believe what I did so far is by doing what needs to be done now.
6) Typing Hero - This looks like such an amazing utility! I love shortcuts and automations to help with my everyday tasks but I’ve never actually thought of using a text expander before ! 🤦♂️ When did you create Typing Hero? What were your initial goals?
I released the first version of Typing Hero in November 2018 after rewriting it 3 or 4 times (the learning).
I bought a text expander app long before that.
My first and foremost goal in building Typing Hero is to make it everything I wish the other text expander app was, and replace it on my phone!
My other goal is to eventually make a living out of it, helping others save time and effort as they live their life.
7) Typing Hero - I’m blown away by the templates with a form ! 🤯 I mainly live in iOS land and this is not a thing that would be possible but I wish it was! What have been some of the coolest use or most useful form templates that you’ve seen?
Ah yes! The lack of this is one of the thing that kept me away from the iOS land.
Form is useful when the template requires multiple input that is different most of the time.
I’ve seen small businesses using it in payment info template, which have details of purchased item name, quantity, and total price.
I personally sometimes use it to generate Markdown link. One input for the label, and the other input for the URL.
8) Typing Hero - What has been one of the most fun things to build in Typing Hero? What was one of the hardest?
Typing Hero started out as a simple text expander app that detects keyword and replace it with associated template.
Then, it “expands” to Macro domain, which lets you perform various Actions by simply typing a keyword.
Building a robust accessibility service (and evolving it) that allows me to new features easily are both the most fun and hardest part.
And of course, the UI is also one of the hardest aspect for me.
9) Drafting - Apps like drafting are my favorite! They are so simple and clean looking but can be used for anything and everything. What was your inspiration for making Drafting? Was it originally used as a playground for Typing Hero? 😉
It started when I found Drafts on iOS and Mac.
Drafts is a fucking great app! It offers what I need most of the time when I open up a note-taking app: start writing!
And it comes with a lot of features that make the writing process easier and fun.
Since I was fully focused on Typing Hero at that time, I suppressed the urge to build an app like Drafts for several years.
Instead, I tried dozens of note-taking apps for Android, hoping that I’ll find one like Drafts. Unfortunately, nothing comes close to Drafts!
Around the end of October 2022, 4 years after fully focusing on Typing Hero, I gave up and decided to build one myself.
I spent a few hours on the days I can work on it and finally released it on November 14th, 2022.
I reached out to Stone on Reddit when I released Drafting on Google Play. He runs NoteApps and is on his never-ending quest to find the best note-taking app on Android.
He bought it right away and singlehandedly brought dozens of other people in his circle to use Drafting as well.
Since then, I’m working with him and others to improve the app.
Though inspired by Drafts, Drafting is not a clone of Drafts.
Working closely with those users, I learn that they’re using it as a quick capture tool prior to polishing it inside Obsidian.
10) Drafting - I noticed that in Drafting’s description you mention the app is at its lowest price and will go up when more features are added. This is a neat way to do pricing! Have you used this kind of pricing before? Do you think this will help encourage early adopters and help fund Drafting’s growth?
This is the first time I’m using this pricing scheme.
I saw several content creators selling their products using tiered pricing like this:
$10: 1 - 10 sales
$15: 11 - 50 sales
$25: 51 - 100 sales
$40: 101 - more sales
I adopted a similar tiered pricing for Drafting while actively building features and fixing issues as they come up because I believe this pricing scheme makes sense and fair to the early adopters.
I started with $2 for the first 2+ months. It has gone up to $4 right now. And it will only go up moving forward.
11) Typing Hero, Drafting - What’s next?! Do you have any future features that you can share with us?
These are the goals for Typing Hero this year:
- Improvements to Backup and Restore
- Improvements to Folders
- Allowlist and Blocklist
- Various new Actions
And the goals for Drafting this year:
- Export as PDF
- Improvements to Markdown support
- Improvements to the Editor (the blanket term ! 😄
Building and maintaining two apps at the same time is tough!
12) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What the most fun part of being an indie dev?
The hardest part to me personally is getting sales to make it sustainable as an indie developer.
But I think it’s partly because of the nature of the B2C market.
The most fun part is of course the ability to move really fast and getting feedback from the customers directly.
For example, I have to use WhatsApp to interact with strangers while traveling in Bali.
The hassle of starting a conversation with them is real. Your contact list with those people with whom you won’t be in touch any longer in a few days.
While resting and enjoying the view in the village, I spent a couple of hours to ship a new feature (Action) in Typing Hero to start a WhatsApp conversation with a number in the text field without adding it to contact list.
I built this feature for myself, but other paying users also shared how this very useful to them, too!
13) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
I realized it a few months ago that I am building Android apps I want that I can’t find or buy.
If you want, you can follow me on Mastodon. I sometimes tooted what I’m working on there.
14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
One person come to mind is Sergiu Șandor, the developer behind Quick Cursor.
I recommend him because he shows a lot of care to the app the build.
Newly Released and Updated Indie Apps
There were no newly released and newly updated apps submitted 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 👀
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