My First Post About My First iPhone App

It’s been now almost three months since I got serious and wanted to cross the “Learn iOS development” item off of my to-do list. Two months worth of work derived in my first app, and I’d love to share some facts and objectives that I’m pursuing with it, along with a timeline screenshot of the app’s evolution.

The App: Madrid Bus

I’m currently in The U.S., but before, I lived in Madrid for a little bit more than six years. I was very accustomed to using public transportation, buses, to be more precise. Bus service in New Jersey —where I’m staying— is not as good as in Madrid, but it’s way better than you would expect it to be in The U.S. when two thirds of the population own a car[1].

Well, I had the simplest idea of making your bus waiting at the stop less anxious, by developing an app that tells you how long the next bus is going to take. Sadly, this information is not still public on the NJ Transit API. Then, I decided to capitalize on my tenure in Madrid and build the same idea for the beautiful city that embraced me during all those years.

Thanks to the Municipal Transportation Company of Madrid or EMT, this is very easy for developers. They have a solid, reliable API, with tons of information and an open program that allows anyone to use it. So I went for it!

Another Transportation/Bus App?

I had tons of different ideas for my first app, but most of them involved a backend system. Some were simple, some I wouldn’t call simple. But having a backend involved dedicating economic resources to its maintenance, which I didn’t want to do. Since the beginning I had the full conviction of making my app available for free, thus, minimizing costs and maintenance time was one of the goals.

Many bus stops in Madrid have electronic displays that tell you how much the bus is going to take. But not even the 5% of stops are covered, this is a feature I wanted myself, so I started building it!

Electronic display in selected Bus Stops

Why free?

I have no economic interest in this, is just pure altruism. I guess most developers feel that special sentiment of greatness, being able to put their work on other people’s hands. Building this app has cost me money and I’m not expecting any material gain off of this.

Also, I’m just learning. This is my first experiment on The App Store. I hope more will come, but for now I just want to feel the good developer / bad developer feeling: I hope that some people download my app and rate it, some rates are going to be hurtful, some joyful :)

But there’s already an app for that!

I know, and I want to make a better one! Users are probably going to complain about transit directions or route maps, but I’m not competing with Google, who already does it, and they do it very well. I want to make sure that MadridBus leverages all other apps it can benefit from. Spoiler alert: MadridBus doesn’t do transit directions, but facilitates the process of finding them.

I also want to have a special focus on accessibility, which is a field that unfortunately most developers ignore. I think I have mastered the Accessibility API, so let’s see how it goes.

I’ll make a second, and perhaps a third post about all I wanted to share about my first app. I’m very excited about it and I hope it goes well.

On the meantime, I’ll give you some screenshots and a link to the work in progress website, locate at madridbus.co. Please, feel free to give your feedback, I’m open to bad criticism and and way more than open to good one.

Some iterations on the circular timer before the final result