Converthis Update 1 — Chris

I wanted to start to log my progress in creating converthis. Let’s catch you up to see where I am so far, since this is my first post this…

Converthis Update 1

I wanted to start to log my progress in creating converthis. Let’s catch you up to see where I am so far, since this is my first post this one might be a little bit longer but I want you to see the full picture and how this project came about.

This all started back in early 2021, I would say January. I noticed that for work I was doing unit conversion quite frequently and I decided to download an app onto my phone so I could just easily do it. I found that yes I could just google my request but when precision mattered it wouldn’t give me what I was looking for and an app is always just so handy. I popped over to the app store on my iPhone and searched unit converter and downloaded the first result thinking this would be the best because it was at the top. This is where things when wrong… oh so wrong.

I open the app and immediately get presented with a request to pay a fee to unlock ‘pro’ features and access every part of the app. Hoping this was just things like currency conversions because those need to be updated from a database which isn’t necessarily free I dismissed this notification and searched for what I was looking for. Everything seemed to be working but after a few conversions I was startled with a full screen video advertisement. So I decided to download more of them from not only the Apple Appstore but also the Google Play store and all of them were the same. Additionally the quality of the apps were varied as well the features that they offered.

I understand the apps that use ads or request payments. I know all to well the time, dedication and stress that building an application can add to a person on top of maintaining and updating it with more features or to add additional functionality. Just… something rubbed me the wrong way when it came to this app. It is such a vital function to be crippled with so many intrusive ads and asks for money.

I see this as I see a calculator or camera app, it is a tool or utility. You should not be hindered or blocked from using a tool because it should enable you to complete your task or need as quickly as possible. I also noticed that these apps are getting hundreds of thousands of downloads so I can see there is a huge need for these apps and then I devised a plan to create a new app that was free of ads and payments.

Where to start…

I wanted to create an application on both the iOS and Android app stores. I have experience in the Apple ecosystem but I have very limited experience in the Android world. I looked into just learning native development in iOS with Swift UI and Android with Kotlin. This would take much longer because I would need to learn two complete different systems and I would like to bring this product to market as fast as possible and honestly I would like to bring it to more than just those two platforms. I had thought about using React to help build the web version and then I would use React Native to bring it to the mobile market but I felt as if again, I would need to learn two different platforms and systems and additionally it was going to be built on the back bone of a web platform which has it’s own slew of compatibility issues and every changing needs. I was just about to just choose one platform and stick with it until I found flutter.

What is flutter you ask? Well… I would like to create a new post that goes into what flutter is but in a short form. Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google. It is used to develop cross platform applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, Google Fuchsia, and the web from a single codebase. It uses the language dart and allows great features like hot reload and a vast open source community of packages.

Where I am now…

I have spent the past couple of months working on this app which I have deemed as Converthis. This will start out on iOS and Android with a roadmap for web and desktop versions coming in the future. I am going to keep the app closed source for now because I am unsure about security and permissions with having my developer profiles in there up on the public view so once I understand and learn about all of that I can move the application into public view.

So far I have great amount of the backend functionality created and am now working on designing the UI of the application. I have taken to looking at all of the apps currently on the App Store and replicating the best parts of all of them. You can see all of my notes and progress in my Notion.

This really is just a quick update to jot down my progress and thoughts and I hope to create these more frequently as I make progress.