Life, Technology, and Meteorology

Waiting for Review


You have no idea how surreal it is for me to see this right now.  For non-developers, this is what you see after submitting an application to Apple to review for the App Store.  It always feels satisfying to click that final Submit button, but this time is a little more special for me.  You see, Seasonality Pro has been the longest project I have ever worked on.

The ideas for Seasonality Pro started spinning in my head before the iPad even came out.  In the fall of 2008, I was taking a synoptic meteorology course and thought how cool it would be to have an app that would show model data in a beautiful way that would be easy to use and offer completely customizable maps.  Over the following couple of years, iPhones got faster, the iPad came out, and the idea of what the app could be solidified in my mind.

But I didn’t work on it…  The task was just too large.  Where would the data come from?  What data formats would I have to parse?  Where could I get the necessary custom maps and how do I draw them?  How do you draw contours, and shaded layers, and calculate derived layers from several model data fields?  How would it perform?  There were just too many unknowns; I couldn’t start working on it.

And then I could…  Over time enough of the pieces fell into place that I started an Xcode project in September of 2013.  A month later, I had my first base map plotted.  And the pieces started coming together faster when I started working on it full time in 2014.  By the end of the summer, I had a pretty good app going (basic plots, etc), but there were still so many details left to be done.  I had to take a few weeks break and spend some time updating my other apps before I could finish up Pro.

A few weeks turned into a few months, but by November 2014 I was back on it.  I presented my work at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in January 2015.  The reception was good.  It was a relief to finally show it to people who were in the target market and see their eyes light up.  The project was even closer to being finished, but I still hadn’t run a beta.

The beta started in late January.  Lots of bugs were squashed, and lots of adjustments were made to improve the feel of the app.   The beta stretched for months longer than a usual beta.  It was a complex app (close to 100,000 lines of code for even this first version), and finishing it felt like a big mountain to climb with the last 20% of the work taking 80% of the time.

So now we’re into May, but it’s done.  Seasonality Pro 1.0 has been submitted.  A labor of love for so many years, finally being realized.  Will I make back the investment put into it?  It’s hard to say.  A lot of people think it would be crazy to work on an app longer than a few months, not knowing if it was going to make it in the App Store.  For me though, these are the types of projects worth working on.  Bringing a product like this to market advances the field of meteorology, and it’s not something that just anyone (or any company) can do.  With millions of apps on the store, there is nothing else like it.

Here’s hoping for a speedy app review…

1 Comment

  1. Don Boys

    Congrats Mike.

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