Happy Monday, everyone!

We made it to Issue #51! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️

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 👀

Bakery Newly Released
Bakery makes it easy to create simple, clear and good looking app icons to replace the default Xcode white icons for all your side projects. Choose a color and add an SFSymbol or Emoji on top to make your apps stand out on your homescreen. Afterwards just drag and drop directly into Xcode!
TuneStalgia Newly Released
TuneStalgia is like Snapchat memories, except for Music! See the songs you added or last played on todays date 5+ years ago. Listen to the songs you forgot you loved, and get a burst of nostalgia.
Rosemary and Bear: Animated is an iMessage sticker pack with two cute friends who want to help add more smiles and fun flavour to your conversations.
Shoobie Updated
Shoobie helps you to make the best out of the beach by providing every information you need to go at the best moment of the day. This revamp is full of new stuff and more will come soon...
It's now possible to download Book Track for free to allow everyone to experience the potential of the app. By downloading the free app you are limited to add 20 books. In order to unlock an unlimited number of books, you need to make a single in-app purchase. Those who purchased the app before this update can continue to use it for free!
Repod Updated
Repod is a social podcast app to share and discuss the podcasts you love. In our latest update podcasters can claim their show(s) and build a community directly in our app. We've kicked this off by partnering with the hosts of 40 popular True Crime podcasts.

Today’s Spotlighted Indie Devs

📆 Today I’m featuring Zachary Lineman.

Zachary is the creator of Jellycuts. Jellycuts is an IDE for iOS shortcuts that allows you to create complex shortcuts quickly and easily. You can create a shortcut in the Jelly language, a full language for iOS Shortcuts. Jellycuts takes your code and converts it into shortcuts that are runnable in the shortcuts app. This is such a mind blowing app 😎 I wondered a while back if a shortcut could be reverse engineered but I didn't dare go down that path. It turns out that Zach was brave enough and turned it into a high quality app 😊 Jellycuts is one of the best mobile IDEs with I've seen. Besides it's amazing text editing and toolbar with all the functionality you need, you also get documentation and examples of all functions with just a few taps. I was sure that Zach had numerous years of professional experience making mobile apps and IDEs. Turns out that Zach is a senior in high school 🤯 I couldn't imagine myself having skills like this in high school. Zach should 100% be the coolest kid in school if he isn't already. Zach is going places and you all should be keep eyes on him ☺️ But make sure to download Jellycuts today! It will be the most fun and easiest way to make complex shortcuts 💪

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


Indie Devs

Zachary Lineman

Philidelphia, Pennsylvania

Senior in high school and creator of Jellycuts


Zachary Lineman

Q&A

1) What is your name? Where do you live?

My name is Zachary Lineman! I live outside Philidelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

I am currently a high school senior, so I have not yet had the opportunity to pursue higher education. I have taken 2 computer science courses at my high school, and I currently participate in a few clubs that are tech-focused. Beyond tech, I enjoy being outdoors. I am currently working towards my Eagle Scout rank, and I enjoy traveling to different National Parks with my family. I also really enjoy Mountain Biking, and I am currently biking for my high school. My interests inside of tech consist of a large range of topics. Something I am interested in is how computers work, at a lower level. I have been slowly teaching myself about making my own programming language, and I hope to keep learning more about the lower levels of computing. I am also interested in the intersection of humans and computers. I find it fascinating how we have been able to adapt computers to work with humans, inside things like prosthetics. I hope to be able to work in this sphere more in the future.

3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?

I haven’t always, but recently I have been trending towards considering myself an indie developer.

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

I have never had a “normal” job. I don’t have a full time job currently, as I’m still in school. But what got me interested in creating my own apps was really just curiosity for what could be done. When I was in 6th grade, I heard about this thing called Swift that had just come out. I have no clue how I heard about it but I wanted to learn how to use it. I also wanted to create a game with one of my classmates for a school fair and I thought it would be a great way to learn iOS development. So through my school’s enrichment program, our teacher was able to find an old Mac somewhere in our school and let us use it. This sparked my interest in iOS development and even got my dad interested. He would help me out with coding, as he was also learning swift through the same tutorials as me. After the sixth grade year was over, I kept working on iOS development for a bit, but I stopped during my 7th grade year. It wasn’t until the end of 8th grade that I really got back into iOS development. I started working on a suite of apps, like journaling, finance, and to-do apps just to learn more about developing. I was having a ton of fun working on these projects, so I just kept making more. Eventually I got an opportunity to work with somebody on an iOS app, so I built it in partnership with them. After that, I just kept working on more projects and building my skills.

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

I make sure to spend a lot of time with my friends and family outside of developing. For a while, I had a really hard time separating everything, as working on apps was my hobby and passion. Now, I am slowly getting better at separating out my time and energy. I am making sure to leave my work where it is when I take a break, and not continuously check Discord and Twitter while I’m with other people.

Thank you! I have had an absolute blast working on Jellycuts and I can’t wait to keep working on it.

What got me started on Jellycuts was actually me diving into reverse engineering shortcuts! I had seen a post on r/shortcuts about the possibility to edit a shortcut by extracting a file and editing the underlying structure. This sparked an idea in my head for a way to edit shortcuts in some external editor and then import them back in. It wasn’t until a few days later, a bit after the release of the iOS 14 betas, that I really had the idea for Jellycuts. I was getting tired of dragging blocks around the Shortcuts editor and constantly messing it up because I couldn’t drag far enough or something just didn’t work. I wanted a way to code shortcuts using a text based language. At first, I wasn’t thinking of this as an entire programming language. However, my first experiments were successful, and I just kept adding features. So Jellycuts was definitely an experiment that evolved over the long, long beta period (About 11 months of beta testing).

7) Jellycuts - This is the only way I want to write Shortcuts from now on 😊 I’m much more comfortable writing code than dragging and dropping action together but I also love that I can easily backup and version my Jellycuts since its a text file 💪 First, take this 🏆 What have been some of the most fun Jellycuts that you’ve written or seen? Are you able to share them with us?

I’m happy you’ve found a spot for Jellycuts in your workflow! I haven’t actually seen a ton of people sharing Jellycuts that they’ve written, but I would love to see more! If anyone has any make sure to share them on the Jellycuts discord! My favorite Jellycut that I have written is a Jellycut that allows me to parse my school’s assignments and build a list of reminders for myself. This helped a lot during virtual learning both last year and this year.

8) Jellycuts - The quality of of the Jellycuts IDE is amazing! The text editor feels so natural to type in. The toolbar above the keyboard has all of the functionality I would expect from an IDE. And the built in documentation and examples actually feels better than some other IDEs that I use 😝 I can’t image making this IDE on top of engineering the Shortcuts integration. Have you made development tools like this before? What was the hardest part about making the IDE? How about the most fun part?

Thank you! I have spent a ton of time working on making the editor feel as good as possible on an iOS device!

I have actually never worked on anything like this before. This is the first text editor, syntax highlighter, parser, and transpiler that I have ever created. I just jumped right into the project and started coding away. It was definitely a challenge to get the editor working on top of the Shortcuts integration. The version of the app on the App Store is actually completely different than the version I started with. I rewrote the entire IDE and Shortcuts Integration at one point, and I am super glad I did. This allowed me to add new features, like the documentation integration and the console. I think doing so really brought together the integration between the editor and language.

The hardest part about making the IDE was definitely getting it to be fast. I had a ton of trouble creating a performant text editor within the constraints of iOS. There isn’t a ton of RAM on most iOS devices and that doesn’t play well when you are trying to store a lot of data about the text the user is looking at. So I definitely spent a bulk of my time working on making the editor as fast as possible with the constraints I was working in, without having to rewrite UITextView itself.

The most fun part about making the IDE was definitely adding in all of the auto completion layers. I had a ton of fun integrating the documentation right into the editor, along with adding quick completion for common characters like “ and {. I think that these touches really make the IDE feel natural and familiar for a lot of people.

Oh boy, WWDC this year was a rollercoaster of emotions for me.

I was so happy that Shortcuts was coming to the Mac. I have always wanted a way to automate my Mac the same way I automate my phone, and I just didn’t have the time to jump into things like Keyboard Maestro. I also really like the changes they made to how Shortcuts appear when shared, along with all the new privacy features. I think this is a step in the right direction for Shortcuts, and I hope they keep adding more features to keep users protected. I am also really happy that I am now able to bring Jellycuts to the Mac! I have been wanting to do this for a long time, and I can’t wait to get the Mac version out to everyone! I think that a code based interface really fits the Mac better than the drag and drop that is currently in shortcuts, and I can’t wait for Jellycuts to fill that spot when it is released!

Now on the other side of the coin, WWDC brought a lot of trouble for Jellycuts. With the sharing of Shortcuts being altered so drastically it killed the way that Jellycuts is able to export to Shortcuts. However they did give ways for Jellycuts to continue, albeit it is much more difficult to do. This was definitely the biggest issue with the new Shortcuts version. However in the long run I think this new way of importing Shortcuts is a much much smoother experience for the end user.

10) Jellycuts - I was blown away when I found Visual Studio Code extension! It’s a really neat feature to be edit Jellycut files on my Mac and have it directly connect to Jellycuts on my phone 😎 Was the VS Code extension planned from the start or something a user suggested? I know very little about how this technically works. Was there any major changes you needed to do to get this to work?

The VSCode extension was actually not planned from the start. It was actually a suggestion from a few different people in the r/shortcuts community, asking if they could have Jellycuts for windows. I don’t know a single thing about windows development, so I decided that the next best thing would be a VSCode extension. This would allow people to edit files on their computers and allow me to stay focused on the iOS version of the app. The extension is really just a web socket connection between the app and VSCode. This allows me to send commands back and fourth between the devices, and also transfer files! This transferring of files is what allows the extension to work now. You can open up a bridge connection and view all of the files you are currently working on and move them to your device for testing. There were some major changes needed to get this past app review, as it can be seen as remote code execution. But in the current state it passes by app review and is a great feature!

11) Jellycuts - What’s next for Jellycuts?! Do you have any fun features planned that you can share with us?

Jellycuts is going to keep evolving! The next big thing for Jellycuts is definitely going to be the fully native Mac app. I have been learning SwiftUI and AppKit the past few weeks, while creating the new Mac app. I am really happy with how it is turning out. For Jellycuts overall I am planning on third party app support. And for the Jelly language I want to bring more language features, that will make it feel more natural to write.

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 for me is definitely finding a good work life balance. It’s super easy to just get completely sucked into my work and forgetting about others things that I need to do. I’m slowly finding way better ways to deal with this and hopefully I can find that balance soon!

The most fun part for me is getting to meet a ton of new people. I have met so many people I would have never met before, and meeting those people has given me a ton of experiences and opportunities I would have never imagined.

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

If you have some extra time on your hand check Firefly (the Jellycuts editor) out on GitHub!


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