Happy Wednesday, everyone!

We made it to Issue #98! Thank you to everyone who read last week’s issue ❤️

I pushed this week’s issue back to Wednesday due to Apple’s World Wide Developer Confernece (WWDC) 🤷‍♂️ Monday and Tuesday were going to be full of new Apple annoucements so I wanted to make sure that this week’s issue went out on a day with less noise 🙂

It’s also a new month so we have a new sponsor! This month is sponosored by RevenueCat 🥳 RevenueCat is an awesome platform that makes dealing with in-app subscriptions easy. I’ve been a RevenueCat customer for over 2 years now but… I’ve also been a RevenueCat employee for the last 6 months 😇 I’m honored to have them sponosor Indie Dev Monday so please take some time to check them out if you are or thinking of implementing in-app purchases!

Today’s Spotlighted Indie Devs

📆 Today I’m featuring Joe Hribar and Tom Angistalis.

Joe is the creator of Timery and Partly Sunny. Timery is an app that makes time tracking easy with Toggl. Timery allows you to start your most-used timers, edit recent time entries, see reports, and much more! It is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. It has support for widgets, Shortcuts, watch complications, and keyboard shortcuts. Joe has done an amazing job on giving Timery every possible Apple API and feature it could have it. And all of the effort shows! Timery is a best-in-class app that inspires me to improve the apps that I make 🙂

Tom is the creator of FilmNoir. FilmNoir is an iOS app that helps you keep track of your watched films and TV shows. FilmNoir is an awesome companion app for you and especially so if you are are Trakt user. It allow you to sync your full watched history from Trakt. You can also manually track the TV shows and movie that you watch that Trakt might not automatically catch for you. One of my favorite features of FilmNoir is discovering new shows and being able to easily figure out where to watch them. There are so many different streaming services that it gets very overwhelming on where to stream from. But FilmNoir takes care of that problem for me! It will list all of the streaming services where I can watch the movie or show from 🙂 It’s so nice! FilmNoir is beautifully designed and fully of great features. I highly recommend checking it out as soon as you can!

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

Indie Devs

Joe Hribar

Los Angeles, CA

VizRT touchscreen graphics creator for live television broadcasts and indie developer

Tom Angistalis

London, UK

iOS Developer at CMC Markets and creator of FilmNoir

Joe Hribar


1) What is your name? Where do you live (city or general area)?

Hey everyone! 👋 I’m Joe Hribar (pronounced “RE-bar” like the concrete reinforcement rods), and I live in Los Angeles, California.

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

Both my undergrad and graduate programs were sort-of hybrid programs that combined aspects of art & design with computer science. We had courses in design fundamentals, computer science fundamentals, specific programming languages, animation, interactivity, and more. They were good programs for me because I learned I like doing aspects of both: make something look decent and then write some code to bring it to life.

A big part of my career has been spent making touchscreen apps for live sports broadcasts including for a few years at ESPN on their broadcast graphics team. Show hosts and analysts used the apps I made for very large screens (82 inches / 2 meters or more) to tell stories and have some fun doing it.

For example, on SportsCenter, we had an app for the NFL and NBA Drafts where there was a list of teams on one side and a list of players on the other, and the analyst would drag and drop players to each team to project how the draft might go as well as change the order of the teams to project how that would affect the outcome.

Another was a tool for NFL football analysts to create, analyze, and forecast plays from a game with an interactive field set in 3D space. They could drag each player block around the field, make player substitutions, launch player stat panels, and draw atop the graphic.

These apps were created in a real-time 3D renderer (so not something traditionally used for touchscreen apps or actually built for them) which allowed them to have some depth and lighting when necessary. It’s the same program that traditional broadcast graphics were made in.

This part of my career allowed me to work with some super talented people—other members of the team doing some wizard things for broadcasts, show directors, stage managers, Steadicam operators, the hosts & analysts using the apps I made, and more—and even let me do some international travel.

For some time now, I’ve been fascinated by touchscreens and direct physical to digital manipulation of things—which is why I immediately fell in love with iPhone & iPad and why I use them so much.

3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?

It’s not something I’ve ever really stopped and thought about much, but now that I stop and think about it, yes? Hahaha. Independently developing an app makes me an indie developer, right?

But sometimes I don’t really feel like one because I see so many other indie developers who legitimately are that, and I don’t feel like I’m at that level. I don’t have a formal background in iOS development and haven’t ever had an iOS jobby job. So sometimes I just feel like a guy who’s making an app because I think it’s fun!

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

Having gone from making website front-ends to interactive Flash widgets & apps to broadcast touchscreen graphics, I felt for a while the next step of my interactive journey was to make an iPhone app. So I learned how, and I did!

After completing a series of tutorials, I figured I should practically apply the things I learned, so I decided to make a weather app (more on that below).

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

In one way, the pandemic has made this easier for me because I just sort of stay home and work all the time. Hahaha. Which I know is not a good thing, but that’s what I end up doing. So there doesn’t end up being much to balance!

6) Timery - I have heard so many great things about Timery! I’m sadly not a Toggl user which means I’m not a dedicated Timery user but I feel like I’m always talking with Timery fans ☺️ When did you start working on Timery and what was your initial goal for Timery?

Timery in spirit started in 2017 when, thanks to inspiration from Federico Viticci at MacStories, I started tracking my time with the Toggl time-tracking service through then-Workflow workflows to interface directly with the great Toggl API.

Eventually, I wanted to do more with my setup, and I decided instead of making more workflows and more complex workflows, I should just make an app, so in 2018 I started working on Timery.

The initial goal was to give myself a way to start my most-used timers, stop the current running time entry, and edit the current and logged time entries—it was solving a problem for me to do the things I wanted it to do in the ways I wanted it to do them.

But at some point, I realized I had something that could be beneficial to people beyond me, so I polished it up and added some beta testers who I’m grateful to for providing excellent feedback to help shape the app and make it better.

7) Timery - Timery truly feels like a best-in-class app! It has all the functionality needed to track time with Toggl but does it in such a great way. It’s very easy to use while providing so many features while also built across all of Apple’s platforms (iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS). It has support for watch complications, widgets, and shortcuts. Do you have any tips or lessons you’ve learned how to build such a great product on all fronts? With so many different parts of Timery, how do you determine what to focus on?

Thank you! I think for me, to fully understand how the different platforms and technologies work, it’s important to be a heavy user of the app myself. And I am. I’m using it all day every day to track my time. So it helps that I’m building the thing I want to be using myself.

It’s also important to listen to the people who heavily use it too and thus are also invested in the app and all its iterations. They’ve provided such great feedback, and since they may use the app differently than I do, they can help improve the app in ways I may not have thought of.

And consistency is good. If I add a feature in one place, I make sure it’s available elsewhere too where it makes sense. For example, if I update something in the app itself, I make sure to update the corresponding Shortcuts action with that thing too.

As for determining what to focus on, some updates (like the recent Apple Watch update) are focused on one particular thing or platform because it makes sense for that update, but mostly it’s about trying to advance the app and all its pieces simultaneously (it’s that consistency thing). I see them as all parts of a whole, so with many big and small updates, I’ve tried to touch all aspects of the app with the goal of making things simple and easy to use while being flexible to adapt to different workflows.

8) Timery - What’s been the most fun thing to build for Timery? What is one of the hardest things you’ve had to do with Timery?

The most fun thing I think really in a long time was working on the Apple Watch app. It was invigorating in a way a single thing or feature hasn’t been in a while. An Apple Watch app was a very popular request, and I wanted to have one too, so it was doubly exciting to bring it to life and share it with everyone.

The hardest thing has been getting past my doubts about myself. Much of Timery development has been me learning as I go and starting in the unknown and trying to make something from nothing. Doubts like “oh my god this going to be so hard where do I even start I can’t do this maybe I shouldn’t even try what was I thinking”.

And because I’m doing this by myself and I don’t have, say, coworkers to ask questions to or ask how they might do something, I always question myself regarding if a solution is the right way or best way to do something or if it’s merely a solution that happens to work.

9) Timery - I’m a huge fan of Timery’s website! It’s very clean and very informative. I probably spent around 10 minutes on it reading all of the information and trying to take inspiration for my own projects 😛 Do you have a strong background or interest in marketing? This is so well done! Have you gone through multiple iterations to see what works and what doesn’t on the website?

Thanks! No, I don’t have a marketing background. I just tried to build a simple but informative website highlighting the most important features while trying not to be overwhelming. Because there’s a lot to show!

10) Partly Sunny - I have to admit I didn’t know you made Partly Sunny but I love it 😍 I do love weather apps that have all the information I would possibly need but I also just want to see the weather in its simplest form… and Partly Sunny does just that! It also almost feels more Apple than iOS’s native Weather app. Have this 🏆 for that! And what inspired you to make Partly Sunny? Is it hard to compete in the weather app category?

Hahaha, thank you! That’s very high praise!

As mentioned above, after going through the iOS development tutorials, I made a weather app to practically apply what I learned. I wanted to make a weather app not because there were a shortage of them in the App Store (there were and still are many great weather apps!) but because I wanted to make one to do the things I wanted one to do.

The goal of Partly Sunny was to offer quick glances and detailed looks—where it could provide a quick overview of what’s happening but also could provide more data, more information if you want it without it getting in the way.

I don’t really see Partly Sunny as a competitor to other weather apps because I don’t spend enough time on it to make it one. Since Timery came along, I haven’t been able to give Partly Sunny a lot of love.

Forecasts in Partly Sunny are powered by Dark Sky, and with it going away now next spring, I’ve been really hoping Apple would announce a WeatherKit for developers, and this year we got it! So I do plan on giving the app some love this summer and updating it to use WeatherKit.

11) Timery, Partly Sunny - What’s next?! Do you have any future features that you can share with us?

Good question! As I write these answers, it’s WWDC week which of course is so very exciting to see all the new things, celebrate everyone at Apple who worked on those things for us, and dive in and learn about all the things. So I’m still doing that and figuring out what new things I want to work on.

For Timery, absolutely Lock Screen widgets. I’m a big fan of widgets—Timery currently has six customizable Home Screen widgets to check the current time entry, start timers, and see time tracked—so for sure I’ll be working on Lock Screen widgets. I’ve already started tinkering with them!

I’m also a big fan of Shortcuts actions which are a big part of Timery to do things like start & stop time entries, check the current time entry, check time tracked, and more. The new stuff there is really intriguing, so I’ll be exploring that too.

And for Partly Sunny, I’ll be updating it to use WeatherKit. It may also be a good time for a complete rebuild of the app. Do I hear SwiftUI calling?

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

One of the biggest things I struggle with is imposter syndrome and feeling like I don’t belong. I constantly feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing. And that’s not helped by me in general being a pretty shy and reserved person, so I often don’t feel comfortable engaging other developers on Twitter, for example, and discussing technical things and details. Which then, of course, feeds back into the feeling of not belonging. It’s really an enjoyable cycle! 😬

The most fun thing is building apps that I want to use—and remarkably other people want to use them too. That’s so rewarding and exciting, and it hasn’t become old yet. So thank you to everyone who uses my apps!

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

One interest of mine outside of tech is orchestral film scores. They’re really the only music I listen to. I’m a long-time band geek, so that’s part of the reason. And a long time ago I realized I generally can’t listen to music with words as I’m working, so liking film scores worked out for that!

Because film scores accompany so many styles and genres of movies, there are also so many styles and genres of scores that it doesn’t get boring to me. There’s always something to listen to that fits my mood.

Also I love fries. Doesn’t matter the shape. Standard, waffle, chunky, crinkle, curly—as long as they’re hot, I’m eating them!

14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?

These questions are always hard! I want to mention people but don’t want anyone I didn’t mention to feel left out. Please no one feel slighted!

Charlie Chapman (Dark Noise and Launched podcast) is a source of inspiration for me (if you haven’t listened to Launched yet, you’ll probably enjoy it if you’re reading this newsletter!). And he and I have historically worked on similar updates simultaneously—first the iPhone/iPad app then a Mac Catalyst app—so it’s been fun exploring those things at the same time.

I enjoy seeing developers developing in the open on Twitter sharing what they’re doing and considering as well as issues they run into and how they solved them. Simon Støvring (Runestone, Scriptable, Data Jar) and Michael Tigas (Focused Work, Ochi) are good at this.

And finally, Ben McCarthy (Obscura) in addition to sharing lovely photos shares delightful puns and funny jokes.

Thank you to these developers and so many more for your inspiration and the good you put into the world!

And thank you Josh for having me for this edition as well as for all the work you do each week!

Finally, thank you everyone for reading about me. As I said, I’m shy, but please do come say hi on Twitter! 👋

Tom Angistalis


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

My name is Tom Angistalis. I am from Greece and for the last 3.5 years I live in London, UK.

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

I’ve got a Bachelors degree in Computer, Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering and I am an iOS Developer since day 1. I was always passionate about computers but I had never used a Mac until iPhone SDK was announced in 2008. Then I decided to buy a new iMac and iPod Touch and with some friends we started working on iPhone apps. I was also lucky enough to be able to build an iPhone app for my final project at the university. It was a multiplayer chess game that had to work locally via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It was pretty cool to see it in action now that I remember about it!

On 2011 I’ve started working for Sourcebits and I was responsible for their in house product apps like Night Stand HD 2 and Twine.

Finally since 2018 I work for CMC Markets and FilmNoir on the side.

Outside of tech I like watching films and tv shows obviously! If I have time I like playing multiplayer games, especially strategy games like Age of Empires or Company of Heroes.

3) Have you ever considered yourself an indie developer?

Not really! I admire all the developers that left their job to make applications full time and I feel “bad” saying that I am an indie developer mostly because I have a full time job. Having said that, I’m working on every aspect of the FilmNoir myself, from design to coding to marketing, etc. I also have the occasional help from my brother who also is an iOS Developer and we take turns on the coding side of the app.

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

I’ve always had lots of ideas I wanted to explore but never had the time to actually build them. The last few years I work more regular hours and that’s a great opportunity to learn about new technologies. I’ve always been passionate about films and tv shows and wanted to make an app for that.

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

Now that’s a question my wife should answer :) We have a 2.5 years old daughter and there’s very little time left for anything else. I try to force myself to work on specific hours when I am alone. Sometimes it helps to focus and do short bursts of work, especially when an update is close to release.

I had the opportunity to attend on a speech that Felicity Aston (http://www.felicityaston.co.uk) – the first woman to cross solo the Antarctica – gave at my workplace and I remember a quote about how she managed to keep up:

“Antarctica. It was clear to me that the success of my expedition had not depended on physical strength or dramatic acts of bravery but on the fact that at least some progress – however small – had been made every single day. It had not been about glorious heroism but the humblest of qualities, a quality that perhaps we all too often fail to appreciate for its worth – that of perseverance.”

I always think of that when I feel I don’t spend much time on FilmNoir. I’m constantly thinking what to build next so even a very small change helps to have the feeling of progress. Then I can spend my time and energy on things outside work.

6) FilmNoir - Congrats on your latest release! I read through the Twitter thread showing all of the new version 1.7 features it they all look incredible and very well thought out 🙌 The thought and care that has been put into FilmNoir is amazing! When did you start working on FilmNoir and what inspired you to make it?

Thank you! I had to look it up and the first screenshot I have of FilmNoir is from 2017! I’m using it for a long time but it was never in a state where I would feel comfortable to release it in App Store. I’m passionate about design and the small details and I feel that something is missing all the time. The COVID lockdown was the final boost to get serious about it and release it on App Store. We all started spending more time on TV and it was the perfect timing for an app like this.

7) FilmNoir - My TV and movie consumption has greatly decreased since becoming a dad but I think I’m finally ready to get back into them and using FilmNoir seems like a great way to do it 😊 Would you be able to explain a little bit about how Trakt works and how it can automatically track everything I watch on my TV? It seems magical and something I would definitely like to setup.

Trakt.tv is an amazing service. It integrates with your media center or home theater PC to enable scrobbling, so everything is automatic. They also have plugins for your browser so you watch something on Netflix.com and all plays are added to your watched history. It truly is magical! Unfortunately we can’t have this integration in the native Netflix app for example but that’s where all third party apps like FilmNoir come to fill that gap. You can manually add anything to history or check in when you are at the cinema. Trakt is also very developer friendly, promoting all apps and their API is free!

8) FilmNoir - What is one of your favorite parts of working on FilmNoir? Have you learned anything cool that you didn’t expect?

Besides making an app that I enjoy using, I wanted to learn about new technologies as well. FilmNoir is a full stack Swift application since the beginning. The iOS app is written fully in Swift and there is a backend server that extends the Trakt API hosted on DigitalOcean. Trakt doesn’t provide the “Up Next” list with the next episode to watch and developers are responsible for building it from user history. Initially the server used Kitura, but I’ve ported it to Vapor last year. It was the first time to use async/await in Swift. It’s so much easier and yet so powerful! Another thing I didn’t expect was to go deep in the web frameworks and JavaScript. I’ve adopted Cloudflare Workers which is another amazing service. I use it for aggregating and caching responses from multiple APIs. The filmnoir.app website is built with SvelteKit, Tailwind CSS and hosted on Cloudflare Pages. There are many serverless platforms that you can do all these things now very easily, but I’ve found it very interesting to build them myself and see how they actually work.

Trakt is the primary source for most of the categories you see in FilmNoir and also the only way currently to sync your watched history. The standard information come from the Trakt API. I’ve wanted though to provide much more in the app. The other major API that is used is The Movie Database (TMDB API) which powers the people profiles and filmography, images and videos for films/series, search results, posters/backdrops, ratings and more. TMDb API also provides access to the JustWatch API which helps finding where to watch a film or episode. Trailers are aggregated from the YouTube API and news from 6 RSS feeds.

It’s always a challenge to aggregate data from lots of different sources and at first I wanted to the app to be flexible enough and load what needed to be displayed from the appropriate source. Later I’ve used Cloudflare Workers to aggregate and cache some of the data.

On the app side I’ve build a custom framework that does 2 things: 1. It provides a declarative syntax for creating a table view list (Inspired from Eureka and similar to AirBnb Epoxy) and 2. Every section can be hooked up to an API endpoint and display the results. The movie details view loads data from many different endpoints and APIs. A section like user comments for example can be easily added by just providing the endpoint and a UITableView cell.

It was just released but I hear Top Gun: Maverick is amazing! I’m a huge fan of Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve so films like Oppenheimer and Dune: Part Two are high on my list. And for TV check out series like House of the Dragon and Rings of Power. They look incredible.

11) FilmNoir - What’s next?! Do you have any future features that you can share with us?

iPad and macOS support is the next big thing where I’ll have a public beta soon. I’d also like to add support for Shortcuts automations. I have lots of ideas I want to explore but the main problem I’d like to solve is how to get recommendations from your real friends where you know what they like or how they rate films and tv shows. Not just getting recommendations from an algorithm. Hopefully there’s gonna be something to try soon!

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

I guess the hardest part is having an app to generate enough income to support you and your family. Since I have a job the most challenging thing is definitely marketing where I have no experience and support which is very time consuming. Everything else is fun especially when you can work on anything you want or try all the latest technical features of the iOS SDK.

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

Not much else! Come and say hi on Twitter (@boxy37).

14) Do you have any other indie devs that readers should follow / lookout for?

I’ve got a great exposure by Oliver Haslam’s (https://twitter.com/OliverJHaslam) posts on iMore and Steve Troughton-Smith’s (https://twitter.com/stroughtonsmith) frequent threads highlighting lots of apps on Twitter. Every indie developer should follow them. Also in no particular order:

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 👀

Typoversity is an educational iPad introducing to the field of typography in a fun and interactive way. Small, bite-sized lessons coupled with interactive challenges teach some fundamental rules of good typography. This app is my winning Swift Student Challenge 2022 submission, that I have refined and now published on the App Store! I was lucky enough to be featured in the "New Apps Section" in the App Store in DACH region :D Have a great day and an awesome WWDC! Henri Bredt
Amato Newly Released
Amato helps you stay in touch with your loved ones. Add people most important to you, set reminders, and never forget to call or visit them.
Timery Updated
Timery is now available on Apple Watch too! Start, stop, and edit your current time entry. Start saved timers. Edit logged time entries & start duplicates. All right from your wrist.
Pi-hole Remote Updated
Version 3.0 is here and it's huge! You can now block entire services (like Facebook) with just one tap. Alongside this, the query-detail screen got a redesign, there are some Watch updates, UI improvements, and more! Enjoy!

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