Well, it’s done. The requisite number of months have passed and I am now officially a freelancer. I am also now officially a published iPhone app developer as, on October 5th 2010, the Open Plaques iPhone app got approved and went live. You can download the app from iTunes or directly from your phone. You can also find out more about the app from this page
Rather disappointingly it was not in the app store in time for the Open Plaques Open Day on the 25th September which was the original goal, but I have learned a lot about the app store approval process in the mean time.
It took me two attempts to get the app into the store and I thought it might be worth documenting those reasons here. The first rejection happened because the app crashed in iOS 4.1. Fair enough, you might think, and yet I submitted the app 6 days before 4.1 was released and so was rather annoyed to find it rejected for that reason. A lesson learned there. If you are submitting around the time of an iOS release, submit your app compiled on the beta version. Even more annoyingly, all I had to do was recompile the app with the new API and resubmit, so it’s not as if I had actually done anything wrong.
The second rejection was for a more justified reason, I suppose. Google Maps have a logo at the bottom of the map. You, as a developer, are obliged to ensure that this logo is displayed at all times, otherwise the T&C’s that Apple have with Google are violated. My map was slighly too big, causing the logo to not appear on the page. This change required a 2 minute change and resubmission. Rather delightfully the app was accepted on the third submission.
I am currently working on the first update to Open Plaques. The update consists only of performance improvements and fixing a couple of small memory issues in the first version. I do also have a loose roadmap for future versions. The ones displayed in Black are implementable now, the ones in Blue are awaiting the creation of a suitable API at openplaques.org
- Display Plaques in an alternative Table View, each entry showing plaque description, location, distance from current location and direction that you should walk in to find it. Clicking on the table row will take you to the Plaque Details screen
- There are often more than one image for each plaque in the flickr pool. If there are more than one then all images will be displayed on a swipe-able view in the Plaque Details screen.
- Allowing the user to take a photo of any plaques found from within the app itself. This photo will be then uploaded to the openplaques flickr group, machine tagged with the id of the plaque so that openplaques.org can pick it up.
- Adding search to be able to view plaques in other locations around the world, or by subject, organization, name or role.
- Displaying plaques based on the current view within the map, rather than just on the users current location
- Allow the user to upload plaques currently not on the app directly to openplaques.org
- The ability to access further information about the subject of plaques from the Plaque Details Screen