Timer App – My First Android app

On last count Google Play store has an approximate 2 million Android Apps listed there. Apple store has another million… and million other app stores have millions more. But I have always wondered how does the app developer feel when he completes an app and uploads it to the app store. What sort of accomplishment do they feel? Is there a background story behind that app, or was it just cos of professional contract?

I got the opportunity to experience all these feelings in the last 10 days. I work in a Mobile Ad network as as part of the Ad Operations team. Though I delve with apps day in and day out, I am not the technical guy. I am a quasi-tech guy, who can understand what sort of discussion is going on within the Product team. One of the few advantages of working in a Product startup. I am also a person who gets intrigued with any new tech challenges. That has led me to get my own domain names, my own self-hosted WordPress blogs and so on.

Now coming back to the story, it all started when my wife went to a Reiki course. She came back and said that she wanted to practice Reiki everyday and she need a timer app for it. I checked the default apps, but they weren’t helpful and the appstore had 100’s of variations, but my wife wasn’t satisfied with any of them. She challenged me to get an app done for her specific requirement.

The requirement was, it should have a timer that counts down from 180 seconds. After every 180 second, the timer should reset. Each 180 seconds was 1 Task for her.

I was already dabbling with MIT App Inventor, initially developed by Google, but later open sourced and taken up by MIT. Since I know the basics of programming, it was easier for me to set up the logic. And the App Inventor’s WYSIWYG editor was very easy to set up the interface. After 3 hours of dabbling, I got her basic Reiki App ready. She was happy with it.

Then an idea stuck me. Why to restrict this to 180 seconds only. This sort of timer app can be used for any exercises. This is my golden opportunity to work on my full-fledged Android app. Another 4 days…and 8 hours later… I had my first prototype of Timer App. On May 30th, on my Dad’s 64thBirthday, I released the app in Google Play store.

The Timer App is available for download here.

That moment, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was very happy the entire day. My wife’s requirement was met. I have published my first Android app. I have learnt a new semi-skill now. On last count, My app had 21 installs (in a span of 4 days) and 5 uninstalls. But, I am very happy that my app is still useful for those remaining 16 users.

P.S: There is a known issue with this app. The screen will not turn off during the usage of this app. The reason is, since this app was created using App Inventor, it won’t be kept alive in the latest smartphones that have the Doze facility. So, I had to create a workaround such that the app stays live for the entire duration of the app usage.

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