Issue #63 - Leo Mehlig
Happy Monday, everyone!
We made it to Issue #63! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️
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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 Leo Mehlig.
👉 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?
Hey! I’m Leo 👋 I grew up in a small town in the south of Germany and moved to Berlin around 3 years ago.
2) Introduce yourself. Education? Background? Main job? Interests outside of tech? Interests inside of tech?
Back when the 4. Gen iPod Touch was released, I used all my money to buy one and wondered how to build apps for it. So I started saving for a MacBook and actually learned Obj-C 🦕
Then in 2015, I won a WWDC scholarship, which is probably the greatest experience ever. This gave me a real motivation boost and introduced me to the iOS Dev Community.
After school, my path was pretty clear. I moved to Berlin to study CS and got a job at a mobile app start-up there. Since they did not have an open iOS position, I started as a Product Manager, which has taught me a lot about design and UX.
Besides work and studying, I enjoy running and biking (just did a bike vacation from Berlin to Copenhagen) and in tech, my biggest interest is, how to use it to make the world actually better…
3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?
I never knew how to call working on my app. Cause it isn’t “work”, right? So I always said I did my hobby. So I’m a hobby indie dev…
4) What got you started/interested in creating your own applications outside of your “normal” job?
When I started the PM job, I didn’t code at work or uni, so I needed something to keep my code skills sharp. Plus SwiftUI was just released, which I was super excited to try!
5) How do you balance your time between friends/family, work, hobbies, and indie dev?
With the pandemic and home office/uni, things got a bit easier, since I can just seamlessly switch between different tasks and don’t have to commute. But it’s definitely hard not to neglect one…
6) Structured - I love being on a schedule but I’m so bad at sticking to it. I’ve actually been searching for an app like Structured for years 😩 I’m so happy I found it now! I tried scheduling calendar events for something like Structured but it just didn’t work. When did you start building Structured and what problems were you facing?
I actually started building it, after seeing other people write down their day plan on a piece of paper. I’m way too unorganized to do something like that, so I searched for a simple app to do something like that. But most productivity apps are very powerful and complicated. So around 1.5 years ago, I set down and tried to design a simple day planner. After some iterations and 4 months of work, I just released the first version, even though a lot was missing. Unexpectedly I got very good reactions and immediately started implementing new features…
7) Structured - The inbox concept in Structure is so 💯 Not every task I do needs to be scheduled and sometimes I’m too lazy to even schedule a task when writing it down. Using inbox as a dumping ground for tasks and then optionally scheduling them works so well for me. And importing from Reminders makes this even easier! Was this feature in your original scope of Structured? How has it evolved? Is there any awesomeness about inbox that I’m missing? 😁
This is actually a new feature in Structured 2.0! I’ve always had a lot of people ask to import Reminders, but I didn’t know where to put the imported tasks. That’s basically why I added the Inbox, but I think it can be actually used in many different ways. For example, I’ve heard from a beta tester, that they have their template tasks in the Inbox and just create a copy, whenever they need to place it in their day plan.
8) Structured - The UI/UX are so 😍 I’ve noticed a lot of nice little animations and transitions that make the app even more fun to use. I focus a lot on functionality in my personal apps and not on the small details. But I want my next app to have all the fun small details like Structured does! How do you balance your design/animations with functionality? Or do you see them as one in the same? Do have any tips for other developers (me) on how to have a good process when designing the UI/UX?
I find this very hard to balance since I often go down rabbit holes wanting to perfect the interaction on one screen when I actually should just release the update…
I really enjoy using apps, that just feels great when you interact with them and I think good transitions and animations can really help people better understand what’s happing.
For the design, I usually start in Figma and iterate a lot. I also look at a lot of other apps and try to replicate things I like there. It has also helped me a lot to define a design system since I then don’t have to think about colors and fonts in the design process.
For implementing animations and transition, SwiftUI really does the heavy lifting ✨
9) Structured - What has been one of the hardest things you’ve come across when building Structured? What was one of the most fun things to implement?
From the UI side, the gradient timeline was definitely the hardest, since there are horizontal cells, but also elements, which span over the whole vertical space. I did a lot of iterations there since everything was just too slow and ended up basically splitting the vertical elements and including them in the horizontal cells.
From the logic, the recurring and imported tasks are definitely the most complicated. I spend so much time, figuring out what should happen when you change a recurring task or when a calendar task is updated. I bet there are still 100 edge-cases left, which I didn’t cover.
10) Structured - Oh my, Structured has as an amazing rating on the App Store (4.9 with 3.7K ratings) 🤯 I think I’ve always read through about 20 written reviews and there is soooo much love! Have this 🏆 for your App Store excellence. Not really question here but I dream to have ratings and reviews like this myself!
Thanks so much! I’m really amazed at all the feedback I get. I’m always so happy, when students or neurodiverse people write me, that my app helps them ❤️
11) Structured - What’s next for Structured? Anything awesome in the works that you can share with us?
Firstly, I hope everything with the 2.0 update went smoothly 🤞I’ve also already created a macOS target in Xcode already… One big goal is also, to make the plan easily adjustable if something changes (maybe drag & drop).
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 is definitely the time. I have so many ideas, but so little time to work on them. Everything takes sooo long.
The best is definitely the interaction with all the users 😍
13) Is there anything else you’d like to tell the indie dev community about you?
Sadly I’m not that active on Twitter, but I’ll try to do better 😊 But feel free to reach out @leoMehlig.
Also, if you know a third-party SF Symbol pack or want to collaborate on one, let me know!
14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?
As said, I’m not that active in the community, but if you want a good countdown widget, look out for @StefanLdhl
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 👀
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