iPhone App Developer Spotlight: Barry Schwartz and Siddur

Another in my continuing iPhone App Developer Spotlight series, brought to you by The Business Blog @ Intuitive.com
Q: You wrote Siddur. How long did it take you? How many lines of code is the program? Written in what language?
Objective C, using the Cocoa. It took us about two weeks to launch with limited features, but we are currently on our fourth week of development. It is a lot of time, if I had to guess, 200 – 300 hours, so far. The lines of code, about 9,000 so far, specifically 1164 header file lines 7378 implementation lines.
Q: The iPhone Software Development Kit has been written about quite a bit, but I’d like to know your opinion: was it easy to get up to speed with this SDK? Is it sufficiently complete that you weren’t stumped as you developed your application?
It was a bit difficult to get started, but once you get to learn all the rules, it moves smoothly. There is a lack of documentation out there, since it is so new. But after working threw it, it gets much easier. We are much faster at coding this now.
Q: Tell us about the experience of submitting your program to the iPhone Application Store and how long it took to gain approval. Did you have to demonstrate that you weren’t accessing external data like the Address Book? What else was required for your app to show up in the public store?
Apple iPhone Application App Store: SiddurThis might have been the most stressful part of the project. We first submitted our developer application under our company, RustyBrick. But it just went into the queue, so Ronnie, the co-founder of RustyBrick, decided to try submitting a new application to Apple, as an individual. We were approved right away. So then we uploaded our application to the iTunes Connect area and noticed that we had to wait for Apple to approve the app. So we waited, the wait felt like it was forever, but it was just 4 or so days until we got a rejection notice, due to a feature that was missing. So we immediately added the feature and resubmitted it.
About four days after that, it was approved. But no, the app did not make it to the iTunes Store, it was on hold due to Apple having to approve our legal contracts. Two days after the app was approved, Apple approved the legal documents and it finally went onto the iTunes store. It was a very stressful process and we emailed and called Apple, at least 5 times, to urge them to hurry, but it did not help.
The issue then was adding upgrades. The people who downloaded the app, wanted more. So we released a much richer version, submitted it to iTunes connect and it was rejected about four days later. This time due to a document saying, “iPhone Siddur,” as opposed to “Siddur on the iPhone.” We corrected it, resubmitted and four days later it went live. People were ecstatic, they loved the new features.
Now that people are happy, we are less stressed about waiting on Apple to approve the next releases. We submit new versions often and keep our customers up to date on what we are doing.
We have two spots where we talk about this, with detailed info on what we submitted to Apple and when. We also have an active groups area for for feedback too.
Q: Did you develop all the graphics in the app yourself or contract
with a designer to create the look-and-feel of your application?

We did everything internally. We do web design and software, so we have a staff to facilitate the branding and design of the app and logo.
Q: How much is your application, and how did you decide on a price-point?
We charge $9.99, we wanted to price it very competitively. There is nothing like this out there yet, but similar products for the Palm device run closer to $30 or more and have less features. We didn’t build it for the money, but rather for the community. If we make money on it, great – but that is not our goal with this specific application.
Q: Are you inspired to write more iPhone applications? What’s in the pipeline?
Yes, we have built out a few more Jewish apps, including Tehilim and Tefilah Pack. We plan on doing more Jewish apps and we have some cool ideas for generic apps any iPhone user can use.
Q: If you’re not a full-time iPhone application developer, what’s your day job?
I run a web development shop in RustyBrick. Although iPhone dev is not our full time thing, we do think this will pick up and we might make a division just for it. I also write about search, search engines and search marketing.
Very interesting, thanks for your candor and participation, Barry!

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