Building an iOS app.

I got a really good news from Apple: my iOS app, iLearn: English was approved (you can check the app here: .

I have been working a lot with iOS development lately, but most of the time I am adding a small feature or fixing stuff here and there. I also have created a few throw-away apps where I can make some experiments. That was fine and helped me to understand the basics of Objective-C and iOS.

But I thought it was time to use all those information that I had absorbed and put it into a pet project, where I could test not only the technical skills to build an iOS app, but also to test the idea of bringing a (simple) product live.

Have the “create something” idea was easy, but now I had the “problem” of finding something interesting to work on. I was not sure about what to do, but it would have to be useful, otherwise I wouldn’t keep myself motivated working in something without any value.

At this time, my wife (who is learning English) was creating her own dictionary with words and pictures (it helps her to keep reviewing the words she is not familiar with). She put much effort in keeping her list up to date, so I decided it was the perfect candidate to the pet project I was planning to start working on.

I started developing the application to help people (like my wife) to create their own dictionary with words and images. But instead of developing a simple dictionary, I decided to build an app that would also help to test her writing and listening skills. That’s the list of the features inside the first app version:

When I started the project, I dedicated a few minutes in the end of the day to write some thoughts about what went wrong and right. I formatted them using the following pattern:

The next day, before start working in any feature or bug, I would review what happened in the past and try to use the accumulated knowledge to improve the current day. It helped me to not keep repeating the same errors (what’s really important when you don’t have much time).

At the end of the project, I thought it could be useful to share the experience I had while developing this pet project, so I extracted its content in a three posts series. In the following weeks, I will publish new posts convering topics as follows:

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Elvio Vicosa

Hi, I'm Elvio. I’m an independent software developer consultant based in Berlin, Germany. I’ve spent the last 10+ years working in a wide range of software projects, from internal web dashboards to real-time applications used by millions of people.

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