- Developer name: Salvador Ponticelli
- Developing Since:2008
- Company Name:Sponticelli.com
- Apps at the App Store:3
Tell us a little about you, and your current company.
I’m a System Engineer who graduated in 2000 from Simon Bolivar University (Venezuela). In 2004 I moved to Canada and the same year, I tried to start my own company to develop software for PocketPC. However, I didn’t have much money and as a new immigrant it was quite difficult to get a credit to start a new company. So, I dropped the idea for a while and I started working as a full time employee as a C#.NET developer.
Today I work full time as a Senior Consultant in CRM. However, I took up the idea of working on my own again last year and started to learn how to develop applications for the iPhone. Consequently I bought a Mac Mini, a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. Now I’m working on these projects in my free time. Right now I have 3 applications in the App Store and they are doing quite well.
I’m sure soon I will be able to be completely independent and dedicated to iPhone development without taking care of full time employment to pay my bills.
About your background: what did you do before taking up iPhone development?
I never worked with Apple related software/hardware. I mean, I never touched a Mac, before downloading the iPhone SDK.
I’ve have been a Microsoft developer all my life. Since the time of Visual Basic 3.0 in the mid 90′s until now with Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5. My experience includes Web, Mobile (Pocket PC) and Windows applications.
However, I’m passionate for new technologies. I love to learn and try whatever appears on the horizon and I always knew mobile devices will be the future of computing. Mobile devices are getting more and more powerful at the same time they are getting smaller and smaller. But until now, I didn’t see that the future has actually arrived. I think Apple finally closed the gap between mobiles and computers, making the line between them pretty blurry.
About your Work:
What apps have you developed so far? Tell us about your apps in brief.
1) SP Photo Fix allows you to retouch your photos directly on your iPhone. Include filters like blur, sharp, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and white balance.
2) SP Photo Cal allows you to create a wallpaper with a calendar for your iPhone
3) Shaking Web extends the safari browser experience. It tries to make reading the web easier when your hand shakes while you are on a bus or the metro.
4) RealCam SP (available soon)
How do you go from idea to app? What’s the process?
All my ideas came from my own needs. I wanted to fix photos in my phone, before sending them by email, so I developed Photo Fix. Then I wanted to include a Calendar as Wallpaper without the need of creating it on my Mac/PC, so I created SP Photo Cal.
Shaking Web is a special case. It was also a need when I was using the Bus to go to work. However, I was sort of sure that the application would be rejected by Apple. I only developed the features I needed. I didn’t include history or bookmark. I took the risk of sending it for approval, and I was surprised that Shaking Web was approved as one of the 3 browser in the first batch of browsers accepted by Apple. The missing features awarded me bad critics and reviews. But I learned a lot from that experience.
Any exciting stuff you are working on? Give our readers a hint of what to expect from you next.
Yes, there is a new application. It also comes from my personal need. I wanted to have all camera features (self timer, grid lines, filters and preview latest image) in the same live-view screen, in the same way you have on a “Point and Shot” camera. I wanted to be able to modify the setting and having the feedback in the same view (without frustrating windows from left to right for setting parameters). I also wanted to have some pre-processing filters to fix the photos before saving them.
I’ve been testing it in the last few weeks and I’m very impressed on what I achieved. It still has room for improvement and new features, but I think it’s ready to go live on AppStore.
I’ve already send it for approval and I’m sure it will be appreciated by everyone who uses the iPhone camera.
Do you develop for other platforms? How do you compare the iPhone development platform with other platforms?
Yes I do. As part of my full time job, I always worked on Windows platform.
Regarding comparison, Microsoft and Apple are different on many aspects, including the development platform. For example, the way you create interfaces and link them to your code, is completely different between Apple and Microsoft and I think it was the most difficult part of my learning curve. Objective-C is not difficult as language. It’s not more difficult than C# or Java when you already know C++.
If we measure the fact I learned in few weeks and I was able to deploy my first iPhone application in just 2 months (working only at free time), we could say, in some way iPhone development isn’t hard to learn. I like it.
Tell us something about how users are responding to your apps. What’s the most flattering comment you have received? Or the weirdest?
Some users are cruel and I’m not talking about my experience only. If you take any application in App Store, including the top most downloaded apps, you will see user reviews complaining for small issues on 0.99$ applications.
I always try to be honest with users, telling them in advance what I already know regarding my applications. If we take Shaking Web as example, when I published it, in the description I included reference to the missing features like history, bookmark and links on external windows. It was funny to see people complaining (including some important iPhone reviewers) about the missing features I announced in advance, recommending other users to buy any other browser since Shaking Web is not able to open external windows and is missing bookmarks.
Not all are bad critics, for sure. There are good ones, motivating reviews. There are also users asking or recommending new features. I like when users recommend new features, because I feel they are like me, thinking by personal needs.
About the App Store:
Name two iPhone apps you consider are cool, excluding the apps you’ve developed. What makes these apps stand out?
1) Labyrinth: I think it has the best physics and graphics management on the iPhone using the hardware included on the device.
2) Dialer: it’s a very useful speech search for phone’s contact. It’s incredible how accurate the results are when you pronounce a name. It also searches on the company name stored in the contact record.
Any message to your fellow developers?
Apple has opened the door to allow developers make some money, but it is our responsibility to keep the standard high. Do put in the best effort to ensure a minimum benchmark of quality.
There are many things not allowed by Apple, but today they are less than they were a few months ago. If you have an idea walking the tiny line between forbidden and allowed, and you have the time to develop it, as long as common sense say it should be allowed (no porn, no racist or whatever goes against good behavior), go for it. You could be surprised.
And the most important thing, don’t get disappointed by critics. Use those critics to learn and improve your applications.