🥳 Happy Monday, everyone!

We made it to the second issue! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️

📆 Today I’m featuring Eliz Kılıç and Christian Selig.

Eliz released her brand new timezone app, Dilims, on July 24th. I was lucky enough to receive a “cc @IndieDevMonday” tweet (thank you kind stranger) connecting me to Eliz and Dilims’ launch. I shortly messaged Eliz asking if I could spotlight her and Dilims in one of my upcoming issues and here we are! 😁

Christian is the creator of Apollo. Apollo is a beautiful and blazing fast Reddit client for iOS. I was a long time Apollo user before I knew Christian was the solo indie dev behind the app. Besides being an amazing developer, Christian is also incredibly giving. Just two weeks ago, him and his Apollo community raised over $42,000 for the SPCA Animal Shelter. All of the animals thank you! 🐶🐱🐹🐰

👉 Please make sure to follow them or support them anyway you can! 😇 I’m excited to share their indie dev stories.

Indie Devs

Eliz Kılıç

Ankara, Turkey

Software engineer for past 10 years. Currently lead UI developer at a fin-tech startup.

Christian Selig

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Previously worked at Apple. Full time indie dev on Apollo.

Eliz Kılıç


1) Where do you live?

Ankara, Turkey

2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Engineering. I have been working as a software engineer for the past 10 years. I create web and mobile applications as a living. Currently I am the lead UI developer in a fin-tech startup called Unscrambl. I like to take photographs with my trusty old DSLR. I like to tinker with electronics, I can create basic circuits to fit my needs and I enjoy tinkering with Raspberry Pi.

3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?

No. I always worked in a company. Mostly in start-ups.

4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?

I had a need that couldn’t find a solution that I liked, so I just wanted to give it a try myself.

5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?

I don’t work on my side projects more than 3 days a week. This leaves enough time to meet friends and do hobbies…

6) Dilims - Let’s start at the beginning. What got you started working on Dilims? Did you make it for yourself? Or was your original plan to release it for others to use?

My current company has offices in multiple countries. As a result, I need to know the local times and working times of others. I used some other timezone apps to fill this need, but none of them felt right. So I created a POC as a web app over the weekend. When I shared that with some friends, the initial feedback was better than I thought. That gave me the motivation to create an iOS app version.

7) Dilims - The timezone information is conveyed in such an straight forward way. Did you know this is how you wanted the app to be designed? Or did you go through a few different versions?

There were design changes along the way, but the base functionality was decided like this from the idea phase.

8) Dilims - I believe Dilims was written completely in SwiftUI. I had about 50 tabs open at all times when learning it but I love SwiftUI 😝. It was so different from anything else I’ve ever done. How was your journey learning SwiftUI? Do you think SwiftUI made making Dilims easier/better compared to UIKit?

I am a React developer by day. So the natural course would have been to use ReactNative for me. But I wanted to create a native app with the cutting edge technologies. I thought myself Swift and SwiftUI and went with it. IMO the biggest issue with SwiftUI was the lack of good documentation. But I love the foundation behind it. So I would recommend it to anyone who is planning to create a new app from scratch.

9) Dilims - Congrats on not using any third-party SDKs! I’ve tried that on some of my projects but its so hard to do. No question here on that. I just think that’s awesome!

Haha, thanks. I don’t like how I am being followed with 3rd party SDKs, so I chose not to do it to others.

10) Dilims - I looooovvvvvveeee the color choices you provide. They feel so fun and peaceful without feeling overpowering. Brick Red, Ecstasy, Fountain Blue, Heliotrope, Pistachio, and Wild Starwberry to name a few. How did you come up this list of colors and their names?

I came up with this color palette when I needed a color palette for my day job. We couldn’t use this because of the enterprise nature of the product, so we went with “less-fun” colors. However I always liked these colors so I kept them around and used in Dilims. Color names comes from an npm package called colornames.

11) Dilims - I’ve seen almost every developer say they hate working with dates and timezones and Dilims is 100% dates and timezones 🙃 I also recently learned that some timezones have a 15 minute or 30 minute offset which broke something I wrote. Did you run into any difficulties or weird situations with timezones while making Dilims?

The weirdest issue came after I released Dilims. Apparently there is a bug in system timezone list of iOS that causes an issue in London. That was weird. However, for things like timezones, internationalization or local specific formatting; it is almost always better to use the native functions.

12) Dilims - What’s next for Dilims? Do you have any big features planned that you didn’t get released at the initial release? Do you have anything you need to change to support iOS 14? Or add anything new that was announced in iOS 14?

The obvious 2 things I am planning right now are the iOS 14 widget support and the release of a Mac app. There are some improvements coming on the way like city search when adding a timezone. Other than these, I have numerous ideas that I am currently trying to find a good approach that will not make the app bloated but enhanced.

13) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What the most fun part of being an indie dev?

To me, the hardest part was to keep the motivation going. Also, there is always something more you can do. You need to stop somewhere and cut a release.

14) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?

I know I am not the best person for giving advices to other people, but I think I can say this to anyone thinking of creating something: don’t leave it to tomorrow, you can do it!

Christian Selig


1) Where do you live?

I’m in Halifax, Nova Scotia! It’s the largest city in eastern Canada but it’s still pretty small as far as cities go. :)

2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?

My name’s Christian Selig, I’m an independent iOS developer! I currently spend all my professional time building Apollo for Reddit, which as you can hopefully guess from the name is a third-party app for Reddit, much like how Tweetbot and Twitterrific are third-party apps for Twitter.

Education-wise I have a bachelors degree in Computer Science from Dalhousie University, but most of what I do professionally is self-taught, so while university has a lot of great advantages I don’t want to lead people into thinking it’s a necessary step in being an iOS developer, but it definitely helped in some ways.

My background for iOS specifically was learning some Objective-C in high school as a hobby, then keeping that up throughout university on the side, progressively building more challenging projects until I could publish something to the App Store, then land an internship or two, and eventually turn it into a career I’m proud of. But yeah, as far as iOS goes I’d mostly consider myself self-taught since none of my courses in university addressed iOS, it was all very theory based. I bet universities are changing that lately now, though.

My main job is definitely Apollo, I was going to say “I wish I had more time outside of Apollo to work on other projects!” but I honestly don’t, it’s so fun working on Apollo and there’s always so much to do that it’s genuinely a hoot. But yeah it very much consumes all of my professional time, and is all my personal income so I suppose that makes sense that I spend so much time on it!

Outside of tech I really enjoy woodworking. I’m in an apartment currently so finding a space to do it properly (lots of noise, sawdust, and space requirements) is tricky, so I leave most of my tools at my parent’s house outside the city and try to make it up whenever I can, but as a result I don’t do it as much as I’d like. I also really like electric longboarding, I’ve always really loved longboarding since high school, but with the advent of these electric skateboards making it so you can just zoom around everywhere, hill or not, makes it so much fun and a great way to explore new areas in a city you’re traditionally used to.

Specifically inside of tech, that’s a good question. Apollo in a lot of ways feels like a hobby in that it’s a lot of fun to work on, so I’ll sometimes work on a fun aspect of it on a weekend night when maybe that isn’t the most healthy work-life-balance thing to do. But since Apollo’s so enjoyable I’d say it’s probably my tech-related hobby if I’m in the mood for something computer related.

Oh, and video games! Do video games count as tech?

3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?

Haha, I have imposter syndrome in a lot of ways but I do like to at the very least consider myself an indie developer. Maybe just because indie sounds so cool. So does developer though. Being called a developer has such a cool ring to it that I never would have imagined a decade or more ago, anyone called a “developer” sounded so cool (I’ve since learned at least in my case that is not true). And then combine indie with that? Indie makes you sound like a cool artsy musician. So you smack those two together, indie + developer, bam, that’s one cool title that I just love.

4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?

Reading this question made me realize that I kind of haven’t really ever had a “normal” job in the tech world. It must be so cool being able to quit your job one day to go fully indie. I had some great internships, especially at Apple, but immediately after graduating university I sunk all my time and money into building Apollo rather than getting a traditional job, so I suppose the transition into an indie developer was a rather smooth one, rather than a hard break. But it was also pretty sink-or-swim in that if the launch hadn’t gone well I’d probably be in trouble.

But I got interested in developing applications in general simply because the concept of them was so cool. You could create something on your own accord, publish it, then maybe run into someone using it on the bus? That’s nuts! Sign me up!

5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?

Probably not the greatest to be honest! Like many I find the issue with working from home is that it can bleed over into what would traditionally be personal time, which definitely happens to me probably more than it should (but as said, I enjoy the work so it’s not particularly painful). The flexibility of being an indie developer also allows me to hang out or partake in activities that are pretty spur of the moment, so that helps a lot too. I also try to do some things with friends that get me out of the house (harder during pandemic times), like for instance my girlfriend and a few friends and I are taking Japanese classes, which is a fun activity to do together weekly which is nice.

But I think you definitely have to get good at looking at your life from above and figure out if you’re spending too much time on one area of your life or not balancing properly, because while the flexibility of indie life can be nice sometimes, things can get out of whack if you don’t stay on top of it. And no one but you is going to do that for you.

Reddit at the time (well and the current time as well) was the most used app on my phone. I was at university and a lot of us shared memes and laughed at stuff on Reddit so it was a pretty common place to end up, especially during lectures and whatnot when you probably shouldn’t be.

So I was spending a lot of time on it while also not being 100% happy with the mobile experience I was having. Combine that with looking for a new iOS project as university was winding down, and Reddit just kinda hit me as an awesome fit when walking home from university one day. And don’t get me wrong, there were some great Reddit apps for iOS at the time that I used, Alien Blue was my favorite, but nothing ever just felt 100% right, so I wanted to take a swing at it myself.

And I definitely hear you on building an entire client can be pretty hard to see through, I’ve definitely seen a lot of people attempt it as well and underestimate it and not end up finishing. And I could probably have been very close there myself, but as I said I kinda threw myself into it as my job for a few years before I even got the beta out, so it was kinda like “You better finish this soon or your savings are going to run out and good luck eating”. Pretty good motivator. Plus I wanted it so I could use it, haha.

7) Apollo - I think the majority of the time spent on my side projects is coming up with a perfect name. Where did the name Apollo come from? Did it take you a while to come up with the name? The name Apollo just seems to fit. I’ve never questioned how it came to be 😊

Names are the woooorrssttt. I hate coming up with them also and it always takes me months, but normally then something just clicks into place and I know I found the right name.

I originally wanted to name it Calico for whatever reason, but Google launched a Project Calico thing at some point during the development process and it made the name seem a lot less unique.

For Apollo I was walking with a friend between classes at university and mentioning my struggle to name it to him. He started helping me brainstorm a bit and mentioned how Reddit is kinda space/alien-themed through their “Snoo” mascot, and my app would be for navigating Reddit, and if you’re navigating space you do that in like a spaceship kinda thing. And then it kinda just hit me, Apollo’s an awesome spaceship name, and it just really clicked with me.

Something about it felt like the name held a lot of oomph too, if that makes sense. Like I could name the client, I dunno, “Leaf”, but something about the name Apollo seems to have a bit more weight behind it, if not because of the space mission certainly because of the Greek god, and since I wanted my client so stand out with some weight behind it in a competitive category, Apollo felt really great.

8) Apollo - Whats it like having a product that depends on another company/service? Does it ever get a little scary? Does Reddit support you?

Kinda? A lot of people are very understandably wary of depending on other companies like this, and I see where they’re coming from, but Reddit’s been great in a lot of ways, and I love the platform that is Reddit so much that it makes up for any little fears I might have, it’s just a great community to build for.

Reddit was really great with setting me up with a contact I could hit up if I had any questions or concerns, and he’s been really great, I feel very fortunate. They’ve been great to develop for as well, I think from a company culture they have a very developer friendly attitude since their inception and all the way to today, and have been pretty open with making newer features they introduced available via their public API (not all though, so I can’t give them a perfect score), so I think they’re doing a great job.

9) Apollo - I’m guessing you test against production Reddit quite often. What is the weirdest Reddit post or subreddit that you’ve found while testing? 😈

Quite a few bug reports often have adult material, so you see a decent amount of that, that’s probably the weirdest as far as things go. Thankfully though I honestly haven’t had anything too, too weird.

10) Apollo - I’ve been browsing the Apollo subreddit lately and I love how active it is! What’s it like having hyper direct feedback from users? Are most people pretty respectful? How do you handle the rude people? What’s been the best outcome of having your own active subreddit?

Oh it’s awesome. It almost feels like cheating in a lot of ways. So many companies pay and spend a lot of time on acquiring expensive (and limited) focus groups to try to figure out what users want, and I almost have a direct injection into what they want and how they’re feeling and it’s a really great tool that I feel I have to make the app better. It’s even weirder when companies have active subreddits and choose to not listen to them or be antagonistic, since I honestly think Apollo having an active subreddit is one of my biggest advantages, haha. That’s definitely the best outcome of it, you can play around with a feature, and if it’s terrible they’ll tell you and you can get back to the drawing board without burning a bunch more time on it, I’ve had that happen a few times and I look back a little while after and I’m like “Damn, that was terrible, thanks y’all”.

Rude people are pretty rare thankfully, just by the nature of Reddit. I think Apollo has a pretty respectful community around it, and as a result if someone’s being rude/unnecessarily confrontational it normally gets downvoted into oblivion and even sometimes they realize they acted poorly and apologize. I love some constructive criticism and the subreddit routinely churns it out, but yeah I think Reddit is pretty good (at least in most subreddits) at recognizing you can get your point across while still remembering the human on the other side of the monitor.

11) Apollo/Personal - What is your favorite subreddit (besides r/ApolloApp) and why is it r/aww? 🐶🐱

Ooo, that’s a classic for sure, spend more time there than I probably should. Favorite subreddit is probably a 4-way tie between r/WhatCouldGoWrong, r/YouTubeHaiku, r/HappyCowGIFs, and r/ElectricSkateboarding.

12) Apollo - I feel like I could ask you a million more questions but I need to pull it together over here. What is your favorite feature that you’ve added to Apollo and what gave you the inspiration for that feature?

Ah that’s a tricky one. The first one that comes to mind is the recent “Portrait Lock Buddy” feature I added where if you have the iOS Portrait Lock feature enabled from Control Center and you turn on this feature, if you’re in the media viewer and manually rotate your phone, Apollo will still detect that using the accelerometer and offer to rotate the media manually for you. This was really nice because I like to leave my phone in Portrait Lock most of the time because I’m lying down in weird positions a lot, but I like to have the option to watch, say, videos in landscape without having to toggle out of that mode. With this you can kinda have the best of both worlds. I really liked building it because it was challenging, and I wasn’t aware of any other apps that did it, but Apple provided all the building blocks that made it not too, too crazy to build, so it was really fun to see it come together.

I also really liked building the command/control-F style search through Reddit comments. It was a lot to get right, but in the end Apollo has a search feature that really feels as powerful as hitting command-F to search for something on your desktop browser.

13) I tend to start small side projects often for both fun and to get my brain thinking in different ways. Do you work on anything else besides Apollo?

I honestly don’t, but it’s because I cheat. Apollo and Reddit as a whole is basically a bunch of small side projects in a lot of ways, you have a messaging system, commenting, a Markdown editor, a media viewer, rich lists, and so much more that by tackling a feature you’ve been meaning to do for awhile it kinda feels like a side project, but I don’t have to worry as much about if people will even use my side project because with Apollo I can be reasonably sure they’ll notice since its in the app they already use! Soon I’ll be building a widget for Apollo on iOS 14, which will be a fun little side project in itself.

That being said for the reasons you outlined I probably should work on more side projects, haha, just to change things up and keep a fresh perspective.

14) What’s been the hardest part of being an indie dev? What the most fun part of being an indie dev?

Hardest part I would say (and I don’t mean this to sound as dramatic as it does) is the isolation, in a lot of ways I miss working in an office and having coworkers to hang out with, and sitting alone listening to music for 40 hours a week can get a bit lonely at times if you don’t take the right steps. I’ll go to my girlfriend’s work for instance and really be envious of having coworkers to have a laugh with or bounce a question off of, so I just bug her coworkers.

Best part is tricky because there’s honestly a bunch of awesome parts, like the community both around the app and the iOS development community is especially an awesome part to be a part of. But overall I’d say just the flexibility is awesome, if my girlfriend has the day off from work unexpectedly and wants to go sledding somewhere, unless I have an urgent bug to fix I can pretty much drop everything and go sledding for an afternoon and have a hoot. Things like that and just the freedom it permits in life is really, really nice.

15) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?

I think you covered it really well! All in all I’d say if anyone is considering going into the indie side of things, I’d definitely recommend it. We aren’t in the gold rush era of the App Store anywhere from like 2008 where you could whip up a fart app on a Saturday night and be a millionaire by Thursday, in fact it’s very competitive out there, but it’s an awesome, super creative and fun place to be that’s very rewarding, so stick a toe in. That doesn’t mean you need to quit your full time job tomorrow, but seeing a side project all the way through and publishing it to the App Store is incredibly rewarding and a really fun thing to do, even if it’s just on the side. And if you keep at it and you’re passionate about what you’re building, you might totally be able to transition it into something full time.

Oh, and listen to your users! A lot of people like to shrug and think they know best because they’re the developer, but eating some humble pie and listening to what a bunch of people have to say instead, and readjusting your mindset can really make for a much better end result, and users really appreciate it.

Thanks for having me Josh. :)

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