The Amazing Mechanical Pomodoro is now available at the iTunes App store.
The app for the iPhone/iPod Touch helps you implement the Pomodoro Technique for increasing productivity and focusing at the tasks at hand.
The technique consists in breaking down work in 25 minutes chunks of time (called Pomodoro) and focusing only on the task at hand (use your favorite task manager).
After each Pomodoro you take a 5 minute short break and after the 3rd Pomodoro you can take a 15 minute long break. The Pomodoro Technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo.
This is the first app for the iPhone made at Think Orange. We asked Bauke Schildt to colaborate with us on this project thanks to his amazing design skills.
Design vs Functionality
There were 2 main pillars for the development of this application:
a) KISS – Keep it simple stupid. We wanted to be easy to use so no complicated options, buttons or bloated functionalities. For example, most people already have a favorite task handling system (GTD, Things, Tada List, pen and paper, etc) so we didn’t waste time building another one on top of Mechanical Pomodoro.
b) Design is everything. The app had to be gorgeous. After building the prototype, we sat down with Bauke to come up with a theme (steampunk style) and create a beautiful design that supported all the functionality but still being usable.
We used Appcelerator’s Titanium Mobile to build the Mechanical Pomodoro, their support is fantastic and being able to use one code base for both Android an iPhone versions is a great win for us. Development time was also much faster in comparison with XCode but the documentation for Titanium needs to be deeply improved.
We took 3 days to create a complete functional prototype of the application and then it took 1 month (part time) to finish development with the new design, tests, performance tweaks and real iPhone tests and finishing touches. The animations were particulary hard to achieve and took the most time to “get it right”.
The app was done with 1 coder (me) and 1 designer (Bauke Schildt).
Notes on Apple App Store
If I recall, it took us 3 weeks to get our company registered at Apple. But the process to get the app approved was much quicker. It took 1 week for the app to be reviewed and only 2 days for approval.
My advice is test your app very well before submitting, break everything and fix it again. Distribute the app to 2 or 3 friends and let them test it. Listen to their advice.
It was trilling building something for the iPhone and seeing it on a real machine for the first time. It’s hard to describe the feeling. I hope people enjoy the app as much as I had fun building it with Bauke. Expect more apps soon.
The app is available at the app store and costs $1.99 (or 1.57 eur). Android version will be available as soon as Google Checkout is available in Portugal.
I have 4 promo codes for the app (US Store only), make a comment with a valid email and I’ll give it away.
And finally, some images from early prototype to finished product. Sketches coming soon.
Just submitted an update to iTunes Connect that fixes the bug when returning from sleep or other tabs. Also added some small tweaks and improved artwork.
We’re preparing another one with some suggested features and requests. thanks for all the feedback.