news trivia

Two Weeks

It all started with an innocuous looking email to Yummy’s support email address:

Tagging seams a bit buggy. When I try to correct a typo with the cursor it works the first time (laggy though) but the second time I’m not able to move the cursor anymore.

Without getting too technical (visit my question on StackOverflow if you want to see them), the way the iPhone works is that it tells the application when events happen and the application can respond appropriately. When certain events occur, you are expected to behave in a particular way in addition to your own actions.

Of course there are lots of events that happen that the application is not interested in. I could rotate the phone into portrait mode or touch in the middle of the toolbar where there are no buttons or hold the phone to my ear, all of which the phone can detect but I don’t care about.

So, inside Yummy I could be responding to events incorrectly or I could be ignoring events that I should be listening for. I was pretty sure that it wasn’t the former, though I did spend some time checking. It took me nearly two weeks to convince myself that it wasn’t the latter either.

So what’s left? As far as I can see, the only code running at the time of the “laggy cursor” is Apple’s so I raised a bug report with them.

Of course even if Apple decide to help, that doesn’t help you immediately.

In the end I got lucky. After getting nowhere for those two weeks the fix that you should be seeing very shortly came to me in the middle of the night. It’s not a complete solution but it works significantly better than before and I also managed to sneak in another smaller fix while I was putting the release together. More details when it hits iTunes.


Happy Holidays

Wishing all readers of this blog, users of Yummy and, indeed, everyone else a fabulous festive season.


Gaming the System

It’s at times like these that I realise that I am too, well, nice to ever become a gazillionaire. Every few months I see a new scheme that attempts to game the placement of programs in the App Store and I wonder if I should consider it for Yummy. Every time I decide against it. Sure, in theory I might get a few extra sales but I feel that it would cheapen both me and my software. At the risk of sounding pretentious, you can’t really buy integrity.

But that’s not to say that the text I use to describe Yummy hasn’t evolved as I’ve learned some lessons along the way.

When I first launched it went like this:

Yummy synchronises all your bookmarks with your iPhone or iPod touch, allowing you to quickly browse or search for them. It is also a convenient way to add, edit and delete bookmarks all within one application.

It’s kind of minimal, but that was a deliberate reaction to some of the other apps that were available at the time. Their descriptions talked about very basic features as though they predated sliced bread. I wanted to draw attention to the key differentiators — searching and editing bookmarks — without assuming that my prospects were idiots.

Turns out that there are problems with being minimal, in fact the problem that spamming your description with other apps attempts to solve. After a little experimentation, I found that my original text didn’t appear when I searched for “delicious”. In that sense it’s a wonder that as many people found and downloaded a copy!

Last month I extended my text to this:

Yummy synchronises all your bookmarks with your iPhone or iPod touch, allowing you to quickly browse, search, add, edit and delete them.

Key features:

  • Synchronise with Delicious whenever you want
  • Browse bookmarks by date
  • Search for bookmarks by tag(s) or title
  • View all fields held by Delicious (notes, date, tags, etc)
  • Add new bookmarks. Includes handy bookmarklet for Safari
  • Edit and delete bookmarks

I thought that this version was a reasonable compromise between conciseness, using genuine keywords and showing the key features of the application.

Right now while Yummy is placed behind an application that counts the number of days to Easter and a tourist guide to London, it’s in a much better position now. And all without using sleazy SEO techniques.


Yummy (Cakes)

The folks over at Veiled Games have decided to “market by cookie,” a strategy unfortunately missing from most text books on the subject. I am always willing to learn new techniques, so here is my attempt:

This is the real life yummy cup cake from the Yummy logo. Maybe next time I should make the colours match those in my first attempt at a logo?

(As with the logo, these cakes were baked up by

[Update: now part of The Great Indie Bake Off 2008. I’m not a judge but if you want to send me any cake I would be more than happy to accept…]


10 000+

I thought this image was neat:


It’s supposed to be the icons of the ten thousand applications now available on the App Store. I see plenty of duplicate icons but not Yummy’s cupcake. Can anyone else find it?

support trivia

Safari Bookmarklet

One of Yummy’s most useful and unique features is the ability to add new bookmarks to Delicious. A bookmarklet in Safari makes this even easier to use, but there is a price: it’s tricky to add this bookmark on the iPhone.

I’ve love to be able to make this whole process easy, a one click process, but the ball is in Apple’s court on this one. Craig Hockenberry of IconFactory wrote about this (“Difficult for users to take advantage of URL schemes in Safari“) and I wholeheartedly agree.

However, for the moment we are all stuck with what Apple has provided. So, I have a question for you: can you think of a better way of doing this?

The two approaches that I am aware of are:

Do you find the Twitterrific way significantly better than Yummy’s?

news trivia

Yummy Screencast

One of the hard things about buying an iPhone application is that, unlike Mac or Windows programs, there is no way that you can see the program in action without actually buying it. Even when the cost is less than a latte at your local coffee franchise, the thought of putting down money for something without seeing it in action makes the process harder than it might be.

Much is in Apple’s court. There is no way, for example, that I can make available a demo version. I can, however, do one better one better than screenshots. With apologies for the poor audio quality, here is a “screencast,” a quick overview of Yummy’s key features in video form.

What do you think? Does this give you a better idea of what Yummy is like to use?



One of the finishing touches of any application is its art work. In the case of Yummy little more than an icon was required but, as a developer rather than a graphic designer, this proved to be much harder than I originally expected. Here’s how it happened.

Playing free word association I tried to find concepts that included aspects of both and Yummy. Delicious branding is basically just four quadrants in different colours. Not terribly limiting.

More limiting was the size, which Apple tells me is fifty seven square pixels. (Still, I remember from my days on the Sinclair Spectum which had entire characters made from an 8×8 monochrome grid.) I settled on a muffin or cup cake as my “yummy” concept and the Delicious colours. My first attempt looked like this:

I’d be the first to admit to the limits of my design skills. However, even setting my technique aside there are problems. It’s a bit too fussy; too many details in too small a space. Additionally, the iPhone adds a “shine” to icons and adds a border with curved edges. It didn’t look great on-screen and looked even worse on my iPhone.

I decided to focus on a single cup-cake and use the Delicious colours as a back-drop. I grew quite attached to my second attempt which I can’t show you. I made the mistake of using clip-art that was really designed for PowerPoint and not distribution in software. The licence agreement was not clear, but it looked as though they wanted to claim copyright on the whole “derived item” and claim an absurd royalty rate.

Anyway, long story short, I emailed them at six of their email addresses to clarify terms. Five addresses bounced, the final message got through but was ignored. Not great customer service.

But in a sense I lucked out. My wife put together the logo you see now, which not only do I prefer but is entirely original and royalty-free.