littlelogs

Keep a social journal of your work progress as you make and learn things.

February 2017

belle
belle

Still slogging away at #HealthKit refactoring in #exist for #ios as well as adding sleep data from Apple Health. Got some help from @josh to help me figure out the best ways to make my HealthKit code as generic and simple as I can, and after implementing his suggestions I’ve probably cut about half the code involved in the Apple Health integration. I’m expecting lots of bugs to work through, but really happy about cleaning this up, as it’s definitely been the most complicated, messy code in the app.

josh
josh

I finished our #exist interactive report on what data you can bring from various apps. It’s simple, but fun to click around on I think, and will hopefully encourage 1) more users to have a play and then sign up, and 2) people with barely any data to realise not to bother.

josh
josh

The new #exist weekly email went out this morning and though we didn’t hear a lot of feedback, two positive tweets will have to be the evidence that it was well received :)

This afternoon I started work on a new public page for Exist showing would-be users what data they can get from various services, and what they’ll have in total from the combination of those they use, hopefully making it clear not just which services we support but what they’ll get from each.

belle
belle

Not a lot to report today, except that I started a new branch in #exist for #ios, ready to tackle #AppleHealth sleep data, which we’re always getting requests for. I expect It’ll be a painful few weeks (or longer) getting this working and bug-free, but I’m really looking forward to giving users what they want so they can ask us for something else :)

belle
belle

I’ve been testing my new year ago mood feature in #exist for #ios for a couple of days, so this afternoon I’m going to send it out to beta testers.

Yesterday I fixed a small bug in the year ago mood feature and sent an update of Exist to the App Store with a small bug fix. #laterlog

josh
josh

Finished and deployed #exist’s new weekly email today. Tested it against some random users to make sure nothing broke. Seems all good. The next one will go out Monday!

josh
josh

This week I’ve been working on #exist’s new weekly email. I’m using a template based on the recent end of year one, which was well received, but have got it almost set up with all the weekly data I want to share. I just need to tweak the styling on some parts, like the correlations, but it should be ready by next week. Hope people enjoy it.

In other Exist news, we did okay converting many of our users who signed up right after Christmas, so we’re on a new maximum paid user count, and our average weekly income is quite high too. I think listing the yearly plan on the home page (previously we only mentioned the monthly cost) is helping drive some more yearly upgrades.

Fingers crossed we see another big spike in conversions from Back to Work listeners! Their trials should start ending today or tomorrow I think.

belle
belle

What a week! Spent the past three days feeling stupid, frustrated, and confused, because I couldn’t get this new year ago mood feature working in #exist for #ios. Grappled with two different third-party libraries that didn’t work as I expected them to and roped @josh into an afternoon of helping me debug my #autolayout issues before giving up and building the UI myself from scratch.

This afternoon I managed to get the whole UI built and working with some more help from @josh, so now I can test it out. Hopefully I’ll be able to send this out to beta testers this week.

belle
belle

Wrote the #HelloCode monthly report for January today, and published the blog post version of the same.

Also sorted through all the suggestions for #exist that we got on #changemap over the past couple of days—only 1/5 was not a duplicate. It’s so frustrating when users ignore the message right on the suggestion form that asks them to search for their idea before suggesting it. It creates a big waste of time for me and doesn’t help anyone. /rant

Also updated the Exist FAQs page, as it was quite out-of-date in a few areas.

belle
belle

Spent most of yesterday afternoon debugging an issue in #exist for #ios affecting a couple of users. For some days (but not all), their steps and distance data from #AppleHealth (but not any other data) was super low and incorrect. Lucky @josh was able to help me debug it because I got really stuck and wouldn’t have figured it out by myself.

Turns out the issue was due to me asking HealthKit for data for each day up to midnight for the following day, which sometimes included a tiny number of steps and distance right in that first second of the following day. Once we figured out why I was getting the extra data (totally my fault) and how to exclude it from the results I was sending to the Exist API, the fix didn’t take long. And thankfully Apple approved the update overnight, so it’s already in the App Store. I think that’s the quickest I’ve ever had an update go through Apple review. #laterlog

January 2017

josh
josh

Overnight #exist got a mention on Gizmodo! Some kind of niche section called Field Guide. Well if we thought the Back to Work podcast helped, this has been nuts — over a hundred signups today, probably our biggest day since launch. I actually thought we were being targeted by spammers initially because of all the Hotmail signups 😆 if most of these people convert we’ll be doing so much better. I’m trying not to get too optimistic though.

In more practical news I helped @belle debug a tricky Apple Health issue and released a minor update to my own #Android app.

belle
belle

Yesterday I did some more work on #exist for #ios. I’m still working on building in the new feature to show your mood note and rating from this day a year ago after you submit a mood rating for today. I wanted to re-use layout code for the mood note and rating UI but being the n00b I am, I hadn’t made my old code generic enough, so I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon decoupling my code and making it more generic. #laterlog

belle
belle

Yesterday I cleaned up my extra #exist for #ios #git branches and started a new one for a feature that’s been in the Android app for a while—your mood rating and note from this day a year ago. Started working on the API call after you rate today to check if you have a rating and note to show from a year ago. Still need to finish this off and add the UI to show the data to the user.

josh
josh

I pretty much have the new data tab in #exist #android complete, but I want to add some interactivity and hide some stuff by default so you can drill down into it.

Today I did some overdue #support tickets instead though, and later tonight I set up macOS in a vm on my pc so I can build some #ios apps. I do have a macbook, but I’d rather be at my pc. I actually got that running with few issues, and I can build apps in xcode without it taking too long — performance seems decent. I’m going to have a go at learning #swift to build the #larder iOS app. I don’t really want to steal it from @belle, but she has enough on her plate already.

josh
josh

@belle and I had a chat over lunch about an idea I had for custom habit tracking in #Exist — essentially using a free text field to enter a list of tags, like “alcohol, piano, meditation”, or whatever you did. With some fiddling we could run correlations and generate graphs for each custom item, pretending that they’re real attributes. I’m still weighing it up but I think this would be easier and quicker than (finishing) adding manual tracking, with the huge benefit that users can track whatever they want. Of course there are downsides too, in that these aren’t real attributes so they’d not gain all the built-in benefits of being official attributes. Hmmm! More musing required.

josh
josh

This week l pretty much implemented #exist’s new location name attribute, based on Google’s reverse geocoding, plus some correlations for this. I’m holding off on deploying it for now, because we decided my focus for the next few months should be adding more to the #android app. I’ve added a new tab with some trend graphs in a rather hacky manner, and just need to keep working on these graphs, correlations, and a mood breakdown.

belle
belle

So far this week I’ve been mainly working on bug fixes in #exist for #ios and some small refactoring to make my code simpler and easier to maintain. I have a couple of new features on my to-do list to bring the app up to par with @josh’s Android version, so I’m hoping to have all the bug fixes done soon so I can get on with those.

belle
belle

Changed my #rescuetime hours this week to be 4 hours every morning so I have afternoons off for #HelloCode. I was finding it hard to be totally switched off from Hello Code for 3 days a week, and to plan everything I need to do for RescueTime in just 3 days. This setup seems to work better.

Last week I sent a new update of #exist for #ios to the App Store with some bug fixes and some different bug fixes to my beta testers. I also wrote a new post for the #larder blog about why I blog about my code even though I’m not an expert.

belle
belle

My update of #exist for #ios successfully uploaded to the App Store today. Phew! Waiting for that to get through review now.

Today I worked on a couple of drafts for the Larder #blog and some more bug fixes for the Exist iOS app.

belle
belle

Since I’m working Mon, Tue, Wed at #rescuetime now I probably won’t have many early-week logs. But Thursdays and Fridays are #HelloCode days so here’s a #laterlog for yesterday:

  • Paid my latest #tax instalment
  • Cleared out my inbox (mostly)
  • Followed up most of the #changemap tasks for #exist that came in over the past week
  • Wrote up the Hello Code monthly report for December and drafted a matching #blog post
  • Worked on bug fixes for #exist for #ios, sent a new version to TestFlight, and tried to submit a new version to the App Store but iTunesConnect was broken yet again.
josh
josh

To offset the good day I had yesterday, today was full of boring housekeeping tasks, and some #exist bug fixes and support tickets I’d been putting off. Tomorrow will probably be the same as there are more left to look at. Swings and roundabouts. 😶

josh
josh

I sent the #exist end of year report today! Yay! 🎉 thankfully, all the feedback was really positive, and a bunch of people made a point of saying they liked it, so I feel really good about that. A couple of people mentioned they’d like something in this vein more regularly, which we’d been thinking about. Time to look into replacing the weekly report with a new one, or maybe a monthly one (though the more regular the better I think).

Here’s an example report: https://twitter.com/joshpitzalis/status/816555042215903232

josh
josh

Finally finished the #exist year in review late this afternoon, and was going to send it out tonight but at the last minute we decided we needed to add an in-app notification about it too. I didn’t want to code that and send it out right before bed, so it’s delayed until tomorrow. I hope people appreciate it! I’ve put a lot of time into it now.

josh
josh

Happy new year littlelogs! Wishing you all the best to do some cool things in 2017.

I’ve nearly got the #exist end of year report finished, after quite a few design iterations, but I’m not going to rush. I can’t send it for at least 2 more days, for those who are negative UTC and to give everyone a chance to sync their data, but even if it takes a couple more days after that, I think it’ll still be relevant. Hoping everyone gets a kick out of it! I think it has some fun stats.

December 2016

josh
josh

It’s been more like tropical weather here recently despite living on the southernmost point of mainland Australia, so I extended my Christmas break a few days — too hot and humid to work. Today was a bit better, though, so I got stuck into the #exist end of year report. It’s coming along nicely and I think I’ll have it done in time, if I can make it pretty enough…

belle
belle

Last week I did some ad-hoc work for my new job. #laterlog

This week I’m on holidays so it’s all about relaxing!

Today we got back from holiday travel so I’m quite tired and it’s very hot. But I did send off a new version of #exist for #ios to beta testers that fixes some bugs.

josh
josh

I’ve been working on the #exist end of year report this week (but not too hard). Finally collected all the data I need to put it together, so next week I’ll be designing and endlessly retweaking the email layout to make it all look pretty. Decided it definitely needs to arrive in 2017, based on some stats I’ve added like a breakdown of how you spent the year, so I have at least until the 3rd (which is the 2nd for everywhere else in the world that’s behind).

Until then, happy Christmas or secular holiday times, littlelogs friends! I hope you have a good time with people you like, receive at least one good present, and eat some delicious things.

josh
josh

The last few days I’ve been working on a new design for #changemap. I was never quite satisfied with what I had, but I think the new version is quite an improvement. Nearly done. We’re up to about 85 mailing list signups now also.

Once that’s out of the way I’ve decided I’ll make a nice end of year report for #exist users. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t ship quite on January 1 I don’t think, so I’ll try and get it done over the next few weeks but will be taking it a bit easier also.

belle
belle

A very late #laterlog to mention that @josh and I spent all afternoon Sunday #pairprogramming to implement a new feature in #exist for #ios: in-app notifications! We’ve had these for a while in the web app, so users are alerted when we’ve made a major change like adding a new feature or integration, but not on mobile. Josh recently added them to the Android app and was kind enough to help me get them done on iOS in an afternoon. Just need to do some testing now, but hopefully I’ll be able to release a small update with this feature included soon!

belle
belle

My passion for working on #exist for #ios has been reignited! I sent out the latest update including lots of new Apple Health data (workouts, nutrition, active minutes, heart rate) to the App Store this week, so I’m just waiting for it to be reviewed.

For some reason we had a bunch of users all asking us for menstrual tracking over the past week or so, and it’s something I’ve always planned to get from #healthkit but haven’t gotten to yet. So after sending out that update I was really motivated to explore getting menstrual data from Apple Health. Exist doesn’t support it yet but I’ve started working on getting the data anyway. I think my motivation really wanes when I’m working on bug fixes. It’s a very slow, difficult, lonely process for me, and I often struggle to replicate bugs and feel like updates just get stuck in limbo for ages while I worry about how to fix all the bugs. But starting a new feature is always fun and exciting—and a lot faster these days than it was a couple years ago!

josh
josh

Got #exist’s “location name” attribute sorted on the dev server today, did some #support requests, and later released #larder for #android v1.0! Nice to have the stable version out there. Anecdotally it seems like most paying users are using the app, meaning maybe it seems more valuable to Android users right now, meaning we should get the iOS app out too so we can convert some more folks. Onwards and upwards.

josh
josh

Launched the new “day length” attribute for #exist today and added an in-app notification about it, updated our roadmap, etc. I’m not sure how useful it is in its current incarnation, but it was a quick win for more data, and if we focus more on exposing long-term trends in future, it’ll be appreciated.

Now working on adding a location name attribute via Google reverse geocoding. Once we can match raw lat/lng to a “locality”, as Google calls it, we can do some specific correlations based on the cities users visit. Stuff like “you have a better day when you’re in Melbourne”. That’ll be good.

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