Tranquil Diary 1

Posted on Jul 9, 2020

Well… it’s been a while! More than 2 years since I worked on my pet projects. Family just has a higher priority, but things are calming down a little lately, leading to a couple of hours here and there to play around with new stuff. I recently dipped my toes into Python and GTK development on Linux and while this project will take quite some time to get anywhere, I‘m fairly excited about it and look forward to continue on that front.

I hope it won’t take me four years with my Linux project, which is the amount if time it took me to revisit Tranquil again. In one of the few posts 2 years ago I already mentioned it. Unfortunately I lost track, but I always had the idea in mind. Not that I think this will be a huge hit, but it’s something that I (still) think would help at least myself. With SwiftUI getting a big push for its second year at WWDC a couple weeks ago, I needed a dummy project to start digging into development with SwiftUI.

And so I got hooked…

SwiftUI is far from being ready to be used solely for an entire app. There were some additions like a MapView this year, but this only gets you so far. If you really need to interact with a Map and provide more information and features, you still have to fall back to MKMapView for example. But that’s actually no big deal… and this is part of the beauty of it. It takes a little while to wrap your head around this style of UI programming, but the overall learning curve is way easier than with Swift itself for example. There are certain quirks of modern Swift you will run into, but besides that, you can get up and running with a (mostly) SwiftUI app in no time. Now, this of course depends on the kind of app you want to build… in my case it’s fairly simple.

Not much has changed about the project itself. I scribbled some new mockups, came up with one or two new features and was reminded by some other things while looking at old documents. I won’t use any code from my old version, but since it was almost completely done, I think I can get a lot of the lower layers ported in relatively short time. I’m currently just hacking away to learn new stuff and re-learn old and forgotten things I didn’t have to use during the last couple of years. Both is fun, although it’s not how I want to set up an actual product. That’s right, I’m still going to charge for it… free for the basic stuff, in-app purchase to unlock different kinds of features. Also here… I don’t expect to earn any money from this. I just want to try it out and learn from it. But: in order for this to become a product I feel comfortable charging money for (even if nobody should by it), I need to put this on safer grounds. After I got a first prototype running, I will take my lessons learned – this is the first experience with SwiftUI, so lots and lots will need improvement – and try to recreate everything in a little more professional way, reusing what I came up with until now.

I also won’t commit to anything. It’s fun for now, and at the moment things look pretty okay and reasonable to finish. But things might change tomorrow and it will take me another four years to revisit this app, and that would also be just as fine.