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 Graham Clarke, one half of the team at Glasshouse Apps, makers of the marvellous Cellar, Early Edition and Barista apps.
Who are you and where do you work? I'm an espresso-loving, scooter-riding, thirty-something, father of three and UI designer at Glasshouse Apps. But I'm only one half of our huge two-man team. The other is Nick Takayama, who also just happens to be an espresso-loving, scooter-riding, thirty-something, father of three. We both work out of our homes, but they are about as far apart as you can get in the same country (I live near Sydney, Nick in Perth).
Why do we know you? What have you created? Our first big success would have to be The Early Edition for iPad. We launched it on day 1 of the first iPad and a few weeks later it was chosen as iPad App of the Week in the US App Store, then again for the Australian launch of the iPad. But the first app I designed - Barista for iPhone - was also chosen as App of the Week the year before. Barista has done well, but it has a smaller audience than The Early Edition. I also designed Cellar (for iPhone), and our latest app is called Gift Plan, which is an iPhone app that helps you keep on top of gift-giving occasions like birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries etc.
What platforms do you develop for? We've decided to stick with iOS and the App Store at this stage. We're too busy working on iOS apps to even consider supporting other, more fragmented platforms.
What are you working on right now? Haha, I could tell you, but I'd have to… make you sign an NDA! Seriously though, we've decided to keep fairly quiet about what we're working on and what we're planning next. Software development can be very unpredictable, so we dread the thought of announcing something and then delaying or potentially not delivering it. You know how it goes: under-promise, over-deliver etc.
How did you get into development? I just wanted to give it a whirl really. It was two and a half years ago and at the time there were only 10,000 apps on the App Store but it was already emerging in a big way. I chose to make an espresso-themed app simply because it's a passion of mine and something that's easy to get excited about.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles? It's definitely given us some confidence that mobile and touch-based software aren't going to be quickly forgotten fads. In terms of our titles, there are definitely strategic choices you have to make, but whatever we develop, we have to be excited about using it ourselves. If you can't get excited about an app, it will show in the quality of the end product.
What's your favourite app that you didn't create? That's a tough one. If the measure is by most used, then definitely Twitterrific by The Iconfactory. I prefer it to the official Twitter app for many reasons. Also anything by Bjango - an Australian two-man team just like us. Everything they do is awesome.
What phone do you use? Why? An iPhone 4 of course! Being a iOS developer means I always have the latest from Apple, (a burden I can live with).
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? Aim for a future, not a fortune. It's a thrilling job to have and there are plenty of ups and downs, but I think it has to be seen from further back. Expect low points and work at it for the long term like any other job, because for every overnight success on the App Store there are thousands of developers who just want to make a living doing what they love.