Squat Cycle

Link: Squat Cycle

My latest app, Squat Cycle, has just been approved by Apple. It should be available soon.

This is a pretty nerdy, powerlifter app. Even more so than WOD is. I wrote this because I wanted exactly this app for myself, and because I hated adding things by hand to iCal. I am, of course, looking for feedback about the app, and how to improve it. I just implemented the core stuff I wanted for the initial version, but I’d love to hear from anyone who has suggestions about how to improve it and make it more useful.

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WOD 1.6 now available

WOD version 1.6 was approved by Apple today, and should be available in the app store soon, if not already.

The coolest new feature of this release is a web-based backup, restore, and sync service, which you can use to create an online backup of your logs and personal records, sync these between multiple devices, and restore them to your phone, iPod or iPad if you ever need to make a full restore. And, since the web service is a full web service, we’re looking to add more functionality beyond sync in the coming months. If there is some feature you want to see (like posting results to Facebook or Twitter, or a web-based interface for adding new entries) let us know!

Check out the feature page or the FAQ for more info!

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"Thanks for the prompt reply!"

I get email about WOD. Not a lot, maybe… 2 or 3 per week, on average. It’s almost always someone with a question or problem report, which is usually easy to answer, or it’s a suggestion of a feature they want to see. I almost always answer, usually within a day or so. I don’t usually jump on the emails that I do get, and send responses immediately, but try and consider the question and come up with a good answer.

Almost invariably, if I get a reply back to my response, they include some variation of: “thanks for the prompt reply!”

(I am an absolute fiend when it comes to keeping my inbox at zero unread. I don’t get nearly enough volume for it to be even a potential problem, but still, I am ninja)

It strikes me as odd that this is what so many people respond with. I was puzzled when I got the first reply like that; I was even more puzzled when people kept responding with it. This is just speculation, but it must be that:

  1. People expect that anyone who sells them something will not consider them worth the bother of a quick response, and thus they expect a response, if any comes at all, will be delayed by a few days.

  2. People generally fill their time with senseless crap that does little more than distract their focus from their task at hand. This makes it easy for them to delay responses, or forget about them entirely, because they are swamped with other junk.

The recipe for success at something doesn’t strike me as all that complicated.

  • Don’t fill your time with things that contribute too little (meetings, of course, are the prime example of time-filling nonsense).

  • Be obsessive about the things you love to do and do well.

There might be more, but that’s a start.

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Version 1.6 Beta Test

I’m working on some pretty exciting new features for the 1.6 release of WOD, which will include backup, restore, and sync over the web. This web service for WOD is only the beginning, too; I’d like to roll out a full web service for logging and viewing CrossFit workouts.

And right now, I’m looking for beta testers! To be a beta tester, all you need is an iOS device (having multiple devices would be neat, too, but isn’t required) and the bravery to try out some new features. If you’re interested, send an email to feedback@wodapp.com.

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WOD 1.5.1 resubmitted; converting to CSV

I’ve just replaced the binary for WOD 1.5.1, to also include a fix for an odd little bug in UIDatePicker that was introduced because I built the newest release of WOD with the iOS 4 SDK (Xcode 3.2.3). This will delay the release of 1.5.1, since it went to the back of the app approval line, but I wanted to get this fix out as quickly as possible, and waiting for 1.5.1 to be approved and then submitting a 1.5.2 binary would take too long.

Also, I’m working on some web services for WOD. The first one is a JSON to CSV converter, which takes logs and records exported from the app and converts them to comma-separated values, which you can import into programs like Excel. This is really only the beginning of the things I have planned for web services around WOD — stay tuned.

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Version 1.5.1 Submitted

I’ve just submitted version 1.5.1 of WOD to the App Store. This release fixes a bug that caused new log entries added through the “workouts” tab to not have the notes field filled in.

Thankfully, this bug turned out to be extremely simple — it was just caused by me not filling in that field when the view appeared. Less thankfully, it was pretty stupid that I even put that bug in. At least my incompetence is easy to work around!

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WOD 1.5 now available

Link: WOD 1.5 now available

This release adds a graphing feature for your personal records, and adds hi-res versions of all the graphics for the fancy new iPhone 4.

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Another day, another feature. Graphing of personal records is almost ready.

Also of note: I am working on an iPad version of WOD, tailored to that device’s interface. Progress seems a little slow right now, but we should see it come together soon.

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Creeping Featuritis

I’m really of two minds when it comes to adding a new feature to an application like WOD. On the one hand, lots of people request certain features, like built-in timers, so it makes the app more attractive to more people if it has what they want. But the hard part is adding these features in a way that makes sense, and doesn’t overwhelm the limited space apps on the iPhone has.

I think I’ve done it right, with the few features I’ve added to WOD in recent releases. For example:

  • Adding the ability to add new workouts and movements. This is transparent and obvious: new workouts or movements you’ve added just appear first in their respective lists. The way to add it takes up some real estate on the screen that was just empty space before I added the feature (it’s just an “add” button in the top right corner). Editing and deleting these custom entries uses existing iPhone UI operations, or just uses two new buttons that are put at the bottom of a view that is already scrollable.

  • Adding the timers introduces another table view and an entirely new, full-screen view, which I think I’ve designed pretty well. It has probably the most functionality you could cram into one screen on the iPhone and not have it be confusing and unusable (especially if you use it while working out). The way you count repetitions is, I think, pretty neat: just tap anywhere on the upper part of the view, and a rep will be counted. There is a button behind the scenes, sure, but it doesn’t have to look or act like a button: it doesn’t need to use up very limited space on the screen: it’s fine if the bulk of the screen does double-duty as the timer itself and as the big button to press to count a round.

One issue I’m running into is overloading the “more crap” screen. The “More” tab in WOD has slowly been accumulating the little extra functions, like settings, import and export, and now the timers. If the app has enough features, this corner of the app will get crowded with a bunch of stuff.

Then again, maybe that’s the goal in a tab-based application. I could imagine this as the dialog the application layout is having with the user:

  • This is the first tab. It is the most important. You always see it first.

  • This is the second tab. It is pretty important. We wanted you to know this by where we put it in the order.

  • This is the third tab. It is useful.

  • This is the fourth tab. It is useful, too.

  • This is the fifth tab. There is a lot here, but we don’t think you will use it very often, but we wanted it to be available. So, if you are looking for advanced stuff that’s kind of outside of the core functionality of the app, this is where you look. You might have to look a bit to find what you want, but we hope you understand.

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Preparing a new feature for WOD 1.4. Yes, a Tabata timer. And a couple other timer styles. I can only take so many people saying “it’s great, but…” until I say uncle and just implement the damn feature. And people keep asking for a version of WOD for Android, so you know…

I’m thinking I’ll submit this to Apple in the next day or two, which means it might be out on the store with the launch of iOS 4.

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