3, 2, 1 … Shipped

This post is part of the 30 day app challenge. An overview of the journey and progress can be found here.

30 Day Challenge Status
Download Treasure Hunt Challenge on App Store

30 days ago, I challenged myself to write an app using the Ionic Framework in 30 days. I had lots of doubts at the beginning of this process, whether I would have enough time, what app I would write, etc etc.
Well, 30 days have now passed. Coding time is up. The app has been sent to Apple to review. I did finish writing an app. And the two users who I wrote this app for, are very busy using the app already (my two sons) Here are some screenshots and lessons learnt.

App Overview

Allow users to create treasure hunts, by taking pictures and recording riddles which will reveal where the next clue is to be found.


What went well

Test the app with actual users as early as possible
Whenever I was unclear if I should add a button here, or should I add a listbox there, I would ask whoever was closest to me, to test the app (hallway usability testing). I had to suppress my need to show them how it works, and rather observe how they discovered functionality. Exclamations like the following were very common:”Oh that’s how they interpret that!”, “Whoops. I forgot about that bug.” “Tapping vs clicking seems to be different”

My sons loved testing the app. They are included in the credits because of this very reason. The main thing they loved was recording “You are a poo poo Pirrate, Arrr!” and playing that over and over again, laughing hysterically. Come to think of it, I should have just created a sound recording app! They do occasionally use it to hunt for treasures too though.

Having fun and keeping it simple
Creating a new app was a whole lot of fun. This whole experience reminded me of creating my first webpage on geocities: learning, coding, playing, testing. A whole new playground! I did not have many technical mishaps along the way. I do think this is because I kept the feature set simple and achievable.

What didn’t go so well

I am a perfectionist. There are a thousand things I would still like to add to the app, designs I would like to polish off, screens I want to change. But shipping in 30 days is more important than this. And I know my perfection hunger is never satisfied. It’s good to have a deadline and constraints (time, time, time).

It took me a while to settle in on a design that I felt comfortable with. I don’t love the design, but it is good enough for this challenge. If I were to sell this app, I would invest more money into the design aspect of the app and get a professional designer. I love the concept behind 99designsand would make use of their service.

Major feature left out
I had to make a tough call early on in the project. The geo location plugin wasn’t working to the accuracy that I needed it to. I really wanted to have a compass that showed the way to the next treasure and how far away you were. I got 90% of the way there. Unfortunately, I could not get it to work accurately enough for clues that were close to one another, and for in-house treasure hunts. I did not have much time, so I decided to leave it out entirely and get the rest of the features working. Perhaps in version 2 (if there is ever going to be one), this will become part of it.

Resources Used

Ionic Framework
The ionic team have done a great job. They have taken away a lot of the pain you have to deal with when building mobile, hybrid apps. This has helped me tremendously in order to ship something in 30 days. It’s more than just an open source framework.

Most of the assets I used for the app came from here. Great marketplace for music, sound effects, graphics, stock photos etc. At great prices too!

Whenever I browse the library here, I am inspired. I love what photographers and artists are doing at iStockPhoto. You do pay a hefty price for many of the items. But who can put a price on beauty, right?


I really enjoyed writing this app. It’s great to see it being used already by my own family. If you have been wanting to write an app for a while read on…

  • Damien Fourcade

    Nice work!

    You should try this code for a better geo location accuracy : https://github.com/gwilson/getAccurateCurrentPosition

    • bholdt

      I stumbled upon that one late last week, but never got a chance to try it out. Looks very promising though. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  • http://www.uglybugger.org/ Andrew Harcourt

    Great work, mate. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it in the App Store 🙂

  • http://cosmin.in Cosmin Negoita

    Never, ever ever use 99Designs mate.

    • nicholasrowe

      Why so, pal?

  • Taiseer Joudeh

    Well done, want to test it on App Store once it’s available 🙂

    • Björn

      Great! Look forward to hearing what you think of it.

  • David Miller

    Hoping your app will br available on Google Play, you know this is better than App Store !

    • Björn

      I have no plans to release to Google Play yet. Might explore this option a bit later though 😉

  • jackyon

    can wait for the free guide, I’m totally newbie for the ionic framework, I think that’s the one i need it! thank!