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Obvious progress

April 12, 2023

I’ve been working hard on my side hustle for the last few months. It’s the same project I started a few years back, but it’s finally all coming together.

Fundamentally, the app is the same: an activity log with a periodic timer. It’s the easiest way to keep track of what you’re working on without getting in your way. Progress-wise, it now runs on iPhone, iPad, and Mac and can sync to devices on any platform, including Android.

The Timer

Obvious Plot timer screen

The new timer is based on the Pomodoro Technique, but with a couple of key differences:

First, traditional Pomodoro apps ask the user to write down in advance what they’ll do during each session. My app asks at the end of the session, which makes it easy to track changes and unexpected activities.

Second, Pomodoro apps use timed sessions. If you start at 9:43 AM, the first session will end at 10:08 AM. The following session will be 10:13 – 9:38 AM, and so on.

My app now uses scheduled alarms. If you start at 9:43 AM, the first session will end at 10:00 AM. The following session will be from 10:00 – 10:30 AM, and so on. This means you will always be in sync with scheduled stuff like meetings.

Action Log

obvious-plot-4-2023-action-logoversize-100x

The journal is now called the Action Log for semantics. It presents a list of days you worked along with the sessions for each of those days. I’ve added a session count and timeframe to each day, but that will change soon.

Other Stuff

One of the biggest changes is the code base. Since starting this project, Xcode has evolved towards native multiplatform deployment. So instead of building two apps (one for iOS and another for macOS) or a single iOS app (with Catalyst), I’m building a single app that will be native for each Apple device.

Oddly, most of the work now is boilerplate. User auth, password recovery, yadda yadda. Also a Settings section with support, terms, and other basics. Finally, there’s also a handful of platform features like dark mode and iPad's split view that have to work, just to be able to share this in Testflight.

I’ve already formed the company (Obvious Plot, LLC) in preparation for my Apple Developer account. I also registered obviousplot.com and @obviousplot on Mastodon and Twitter.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow me on Mastodon and Twitter!

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