Developers! Developers! Developers! Steve Ballmer's favourite sweat-laden catchcry is a reminder that all those great apps we spend so much time using on our phones and PCs are made by someone, somewhere. Developers Cubed looks to get a behind the scenes look at some of Australia's up and coming development scene. This week, we speak to Don Fletcher from Queensland studio Vinclaro.
Why do we know you? What have you created? Vinclaro has only recently started to develop applications for the App Store, so we started with a couple of small apps to get our feet wet. Our first app was “DIY Popcorn”, which explored the iPhone’s graphics capability and performance (we ended up creating a physics simulation of popcorn, which was interesting!). “Worms Alive!” followed, which was designed to really get some high-performance graphics routines in place. “Symphonix Evolution” is our first “real” App for the iPad. We’re particularly pleased with it because it was designed specifically for the iPad as a music creation tool and we wanted to really show people what it could do!
What platforms do you develop for? We are currently working primarily on the iOS platform but also develop business applications for Windows. This year we’ll probably branch into OS X as well.
What are you working on right now? “Symphonix Evolution” is definitely our focus. We’ve released the title as the first stage in a suite of music creation tools for the iPad, so it was designed to be a platform that could be built upon with subsequent releases. There will be quite a few app updates over the next couple of months as we add features to the existing app. For example, we’re about to add iOS printing support and we have plans for incorporating some iPhone elements as well.
How did you get into development? Well, if you go back far enough I guess you could say I was one of the 80’s kids who started on their C64! I loved it so much I decided to make it into a career and I’ve been lucky to achieve that goal. Originally I started developing music software back in the early 90’s targeting some of the high-end keyboards at the time, but I ended up getting pulled into the ERP/business world and only recently got back to the music application scene.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles? The App Store is remarkable because it’s brought the software market to something like it was back in the 80’s, before the large publishing houses consolidated their hold on the market. It’s been a long time since a small company like ours has been able to compete on a level playing field with much larger companies, and the ability to market Apps globally through iTunes removes so many obstacles. As soon as I saw the iPad I could see that it was a whole new paradigm and was just crying out for new and innovative applications, so I immediately started to think in that direction.
What's your favourite app that you didn't create? Wow, there are so many. As a guitar player I love “Amplitude”, and because I travel a lot I also find apps like “Early Edition” useful because I can collect the news from my favourite sites and then read it on the plane or wherever I get time.
What phone do you use? Why? I have an iPhone 4, which I bought initially for app testing but soon found that I was taking it everywhere. It’s a fantastic platform, and I love the ability to demonstrate our apps wherever I go!
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? I think the best advice I could give would be to be persistent and never give up on a good idea, but make sure you always have a good business plan in place so you know where you’re going and don’t lose focus. Recognise the importance of testing your code properly and always aim for quality. Communication skills are also very important – it’s not always enough to have good code. Finally, our experience of developing a few small apps first has really paid off for us, as we gained a good understanding of the App Store marketplace before launching our first main app. I’d definitely recommend the same approach for any new developer.
Are you an Australian Developer? Want to be a part of Developer Cubed? Send me an email: [email protected]