That thing we call a Blog

These posts are a collection of our thoughts and ramblings about app development.
We hope from time to time they strike up some inspiration for you.

Recall available worldwide

Today we’re thrilled to announce that Recall is available worldwide. As mentioned previously, we always intended Recall to be released worldwide but due to time constraints and limitations in various regions we chose to release to the US market first.

We were thrilled to see Recall do very well at launch, climbing the US charts and passing up some of our favorite apps. We went to work right away on completing the international version. After a month of hard work, Recall is now available in 7 languages with support across 60 regions.

Here are some of the things people have said about Recall:

I don’t think there’s a better reminder-type app out there for all kinds of media like Recall.
Matthew Panarino, The Next Web

The app is ultra fast, it looks gorgeous, and the whole experience of using it is very well polished.
Shawn Blanc

When I heard about Recall, I was intrigued. “Never forget a great recommendation again.” Ok. Sign me up. After giving it a test run, I was pleasantly surprised.
Alex Heath, Cult of Mac

This app has made quite a splash with the people that I follow on Twitter, so I was excited to hear about it and give it a try when it would be released. And now that I have it, I’m definitely not disappointed.
Christine Chan, AppAdvice

Recall’s UI has been perfectly crafted to be simple, elegant and to stay out of the way. It lets you quickly add the recommendation and shows you the information when you need it.
Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

If you don’t have it already go download it today.

Work : Enlist

In May the folks at Campaign Monitor asked if we would be interested in collaborating on an iPad app to beautifully capture subscriptions. We’ve been huge fans of their work and jumped at the opportunity. Today we’re thrilled to see Enlist in the App Store—we encourage you to read all about it and then download it yourself!

If you have an interesting project you’d like to talk to us about, let us know.

Why isn’t Recall available in every region?

We certainly appreciate the enthusiasm for wanting to use Recall. Nobody likes to be left out.

Our plans all along have been for Recall to be available in any region that the iTunes store is available in. Forgetting recommendations is a human problem and one we wanted to solve in an elegant, efficient manner for as many people as possible.

During development we tabled additional region support until after launch because of the amount of effort required that would have pushed back the Recall release further out than what we wanted. Rather than waiting another couple of months where no one would be using Recall, we decided to focus on building a very solid 1.0 with the feature set we wanted to have at launch. Now that Recall is out we can turn our attention to adding in those regions we planned for all along.

The response to Recall has been overwhelming and we’re so excited to see that we’ve really struck a nerve for satisfying a need that so many people have. We can’t wait to bring Recall to many more people around the world.

If you’d like to be notified when Recall supports additional regions follow us on twitter or join our mailing list.

-Harold and Jonathan

The road to Recall

We always love hearing the stories behind great apps. We thought it would be nice leading up to the launch of Recall to give a little backstory on how it all came about.

Like most development shops we have a running list of ideas, products we’d like to build someday. Some of those ideas have seen the light of day, other’s will never make it off the chopping block. Last summer I posted an idea for an app to capture recommendations. At the time I was calling it “MindMe” (what a horrible name).


Initial sketch for Recall

Jonathan and I were buried in client projects at the time and the idea was tabled until we could get our heads above water. Eventually we did and we started dedicating 1-2 days a week to carving away at Recall.

Early UI prototypes in InVision

A hallmark of Recall was going to be it’s speed. Most recommendations happen in the context of a conversation. If you’re going to pull out your phone to jot it down we wanted it back in your pocket in 30 seconds or less. Turns out this is really hard to do when you’re depending on multiple data sources. Our early technical spikes weren’t looking good and we almost threw in the towel a few times.

  From sketches to finish product, developing the look of Recall - hover to see early sketches

Leading up to WWDC this year we were pushing hard to get a beta into people’s hands. By that time the idea had already been in some form of development for 11 months, an eternity in Overcommitted years. We got some great feedback from friends, beta testers and Apple’s UI team (if you’re a dev/designer go to those UI labs).

Before WWDC / After WWDC

Since WWDC we’ve been hard at work iterating until we felt like Recall was ready to ship. If you have ever used any of our products you know that this is just the beginning. We have a lot of ideas on how to further extend Recall in future releases. We are excited for you to try it out yourself, we think it’s the best way to remember that great recommendation.

Visit recallapp.com to learn more.

The following preview has been approved for all audiences…

Today we’re excited to give you a preview of our next iPhone app, Recall.

Ever gone out with friends and one of them gives you a great music or book recommendation but a week later you ask yourself what it was? How about that really cool movie preview you saw but four months later you wonder when it was coming out? That’s exactly why we made Recall. With Recall you can quickly add music, movie, book, app, or tv show recommendations simply by searching for the item and adding it to your list. Recall will even send you a notification when the item comes out.

Look for it this Wednesday, October 10th on the App Store.

Entries 1.1… now even better for Kiosks

Today, we’re excited to announce a new update to Entries.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Full retina display support
  • iTunes document sharing for forms with file upload fields
  • Ability to passcode protect a form
  • The ability to auto-reset a form after a specific amount of time
  • Bug fixes

We’d like to draw special attention to the ability to passcode protect your form. This is a feature we’re calling “Kiosk-mode”. In this mode you are able to lock Entries down to a single form. This is great for people that are using Entries on their iPad in a kiosk-like environment (conference registrations, employment applications, email signups, etc.) To get all the details on this mode please visit this Knowledge Base article.

Download Entries 1.1 in the App Store today.

Entries: the easiest way to fill out Wufoo forms on iPad

We couldn’t get rid of forms (trust us we tried), so we did the next best thing. We created an iPad app that makes filling out forms enjoyable. Over this past year we’ve had a number of business clients tell us that filling out forms on the iPad was a chore. HTML fields were too small and cumbersome, designed for a mouse, not a finger. We decided it was time to take the challenge head on and the result is Entries.

Entries is designed for those of you that use forms on a frequent basis. We worked with our friends at Wufoo to build an app that integrates seamlessly with their form building engine. It works like this: you create your form on Wufoo.com and when you’re done you open Entries and login with your Wufoo credentials to fill out your forms… that’s it. We pull in all the forms associated with your Wufoo account. If you don’t have a Wufoo account, sign up today for a free account.

Entries

Native iPad controls

When you use Entries you’ll notice that we spent a great deal of time crafting the experience for the iPad. This is not your Mom’s HTML web form… every form element has been re-thought and optimized to a native control. Entries has full support for all the fancy pants field types: dates, addresses, time and even likerts. Want to upload an image with your form, Entries has you covered with Wufoo’s file upload object. Have a long form, split it into pages that can be swiped back and forth in Entries.

Saved Forms

Incremental form saving

Unlike a traditional web forms Entries supports incremental form saving. This means that while the form is being completed it’s being saved behind the scenes. You can exit the app at any time and come right back to your form without worrying about loosing your data.

We think if you deal with forms on a regular basis you deserve Entries. You can purchase it in the App Store starting today.

Wired picks State Plate for App Guide

Wired

A few months back Wired included State Plate in their App Guide of essential tools.

Anyone who has road-tripped with kids (or road-tipped as a kid) understands the importance of the license plate gamefind ones from the most states and you win. State Plates’s handsome scoreboard keeps track of everyone’s spotted plates, while the cursory info on each statehistory, state birdsleads to a lot of accidental learning.

We’re grateful to be listed along side so many great apps. If you’re interested in Wired’s App Guide you can find a copy at your local bookstore or download a copy for your iPad.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of State Plate you can download it in the App Store today.

Tictoc 2: the simple task timer reimagined

After what has been way too long of a wait we are proud to announce the first major update to Tictoc since we first released it earlier this year. We’ve had a lot of feedback on what would make Tictoc even better and we’re happy to say that with this update we’ve really pulled out all the stops. That doesn’t mean we’ve bloated it though. We love the simplicity of Tictoc and we hear constantly from our users that they do too, so even though we’ve added a lot of new features, Tictoc is even simpler than before.

Tictoc

We’ve refined the user interface to be cleaner and clearer. It’s now easy to see that Tictoc is running properly. With our original decision to display the elapsed time as hour:minute format we had a lot of feedback from people questioning whether Tictoc has started timing since there was no incrementing seconds value that people have seen in other apps. We’ve done a few things to make this even better. We’ve switched to a more explicity #h #m format for displaying the hours and minutes. In addition to that, we’ve added an animated clock icon and other visual clues to each task that is being timed. This should be a big help to users new to Tictoc.

Another big request we’ve had centered arounding adding and editing timing sessions. We’ve completly redesigned this and have an all new view for adding new sessions as well as editing existing sessions. Along with that, each session can now have a note associated with it to make it easier to reference what the session was for later on.

Tictoc

For those users that would rather user the keyboard than the mouse we’ve greatly expanded the keyboard and shortcut support. It’s now possible to navigate between tasks using the up/down arrow keys, start and stop tasks using the spacebar, drill down into a task or session using CMD-] and navigating back using CMD-[. It’s also easier than ever to go directly to a task in the tasks view simply by typing the name of the task and it will auto-select it.

Those are just a few of the many new features we’ve put into Tictoc but that’s not all we’ve done.

  • Run multiple timers at once
  • New preferences for minimizing the amount of space the menubar icon takes up
  • Can now specify unique idle times for each task or turn of the idle support entirely
  • AppleScript support for starting/stopping tasks as well as exporting task and session data
  • Daily and Weekly summary footer across all tasks as well as individual tasks
  • Can now resize the task list height
  • Tictoc now defaults to open in all Desktops without having to manually set that option in the Dock
  • Fixed issue where the Tictoc window would stop being displayed if the screen resolution changed
  • Fixed issue with date formats when using particular date regions

We’ve working really hard on making this the best version of Tictoc yet. We hope that you love it as much as we do. Available on the Mac App Store today.

Work : Avinger

Since the beginning of this year we’ve engaged in several client-based projects. Taking on client work does a few things: it helps us meet our revenue goals and it forces us to solve problems we might not encounter on our own.

We’ve recently completed work for Avinger, a life-scinece company out of Redwood City, California. Avinger came to us looking to advance their sales process by using the iPad. We worked with them to create two new apps, Soapbox and Checkbox.

Soapbox

Soapbox: the presenter.

Soapbox is a straight-forward presentation app that allows Avinger to quickly distribute sales presentations to their sales team across the US. Content is distributed using a Dropbox backend, interfacing directly with Soapbox. Files are updated and users are notified within the app, ensuring the most up-to-date data on Avinger’s products. Great care was put into how the information is presented, instead of displaying PDFs as pages, Soapbox presents them as slides, complete with interactions that correspond to that style of presentation. Key to Soapbox’s success is a distribution system that allows sales members to pick items to share with medical professionals. Once selected items are gathered into an HTML-rich email and sent out as linked documents.

Soapbox

Checkbox: delightful forms.

Checkbox is the counter-part to Soapbox. It allows Avinger’s sales team to collect meaningful data from the field in order to be more effective in communicating their message. Checkbox was built by leveraging the Wufoo form API, allowing Avinger to quickly and effectively add and edit forms without having to reissue a new build of the app. Checkbox also submits data instantly back to Wufoo, allowing Avinger to run reports at-will. Our goal with Checkbox was to bring delight in completing forms, a task that is normally begrudged by most.

Avinger: a rare breed of company.

Avinger is a rare breed of company. They placed key stakeholders on the project, effective personnel as project leads and had confidence in us to providing the best solution. This allowed us to collectively start and execute the project in a very small window of time—all while enjoying working together. Avinger has set a high bar for the type of client relationships that we’ll look for going forward.

If you have an interesting project and would like to talk about it we’d love to hear from you.

Tictoc 1.1 Released

We’ve released an update to Tictoc that includes the following new features:
  • Edit Time Entries
  • Revert back idle time
  • Pauses timer when computer goes to sleep
  • Custom keyboard shortcut to toggle timer on and off
  • Drag/Drop rearrange Tasks
  • Option to disable blinking timer

You can download it from the Mac App Store now.

Tictoc: the simple task timer

Today we’re proud to announce our first app into the Mac Store, Tictoc. If you’re like us, the last thing you want to think about when you’re working is tracking the time for that task. We built Tictoc for you, it’s the simple–out of your way–task timer. It lives in your menu bar and only pops it’s head up when you need it. You can start and stop it from the menubar with a single click and you can export all of your data into your favorite accounting or project management app.

Tictoc

Why we built Tictoc

Since going full-time with Overcommitted last month it was clear that we were going to need to start tracking time more often. There are many benefits to knowing exactly how much time you spend on each task–we’ll save that for another post. The Mac has plenty of timers available for it, but we have a particular taste when it comes to this sort of thing. We didn’t want some gaudy thing sitting on our desktop showing us every second we’ve clocked. We also didn’t want to have to take several actions to start and stop our timer. These, plus a few other features started us down the path of creating our own elegant solution.

What’s next for Tictoc

We’ve already received great feedback from people using and loving Tictoc. In the near future we plan to roll out additional features, these include: editing your timestamps, adding quick keyboard shortcuts and additional export options.

We hope you love Tictoc as much as we do. You can download it from the Mac Store here.

Harold Jonathan

Happy New Year

As we look forward to this new year and the hope of what it may bring it’s helpful to look back on last year to see how far we’ve come.

We started out the year with three shipping apps, Ember (which we sold to 37signals and was renamed to Campfire), Tripmix and Skitzy. For the first time we also decided to take on some client work and partnered with 37signals to ship Highrise and Draft. In addition to miscellaneous updates to Ember and Tripmix we also added a new app to our line up, State Plate. At 5:30pm December 31st, we also submitted our first Mac App to Apple and hope to see that go live on launch day of the new Mac App Store January 6th.

It’s been a busy year for us and we’re excited and grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish in the limited amount of time we’ve had to work on projects. With going full time we can only imagine how great this year will be.

Happy New Year -

Harold Jonathan

A New Beginning.

Open for BusinessIt was nearly two years ago that we became Overcommitted. We’ve been doing it in our free-time between typical 9 to 5 jobs, side projects, spouses, kids, etc. This week that all changes. We’re extremely excited to announce that we’re going full-time. No, we haven’t made it rich in the App Store, but we have been given incredible opportunities for working on some really great client projects that will allow us to go full-time. In addition to working on client projects, we’ll now also have more time to work on more of our own apps and boy do we have some great ones lined up. If you have a great project of your own in mind, we’d love to hear more.

It’s been quite a journey getting to this point. We can’t wait to see where this step takes us next.

JonathanHarold

Introducing State Plate

Soon after the iPad was announced, my 6 and 9 year old pitched their idea for an app. They’ve made it a pretty regular practice to come up with ideas for iOS apps for some time now. Sometimes their concepts are off the wall and other times they’re solid. In this case it was the latter. The idea was based on a game that they have been playing on long road trips for awhile… hunting all the license plates in the U.S. Early State Plate Sketches After a series of brainstorming and sketching, they settled on the basic idea around the game and decided that it would also include an educational component. I was interested, but Jon and I were in the middle of wrapping up Highrise and getting ready to launch into development on Draft. So, reluctantly, I set the idea to the side. Once we completed Highrise and Draft we began working on a new app, like State Plate, it had been mulling around in our heads for awhile. It was complex and had all sorts of interesting problems to solve. A few weeks ago we reached a burn-out wall and needed to take a break. We picked up the license plate idea and started to build. Working a few hours a day we completed the app in about 10 days. The kids were thrilled to finally see their idea come to life.

State Plate is a pretty simple travel game. By design it’s not an immersive app experience, instead it forces you to interact with the people and world around you. We hope that families can turn to an app like State Plate and enjoy hunting for license plates and learning a bit about our country along the way. The kids did all the research behind each state, finding things like population, capital, state bird, etc. They also decided to include a colorful fact, which I think added a nice touch. From an aesthetic point of view we decided early on to go with a hand crafted approach to the design. We wanted the app to “feel” solid in your hands, like a vintage board game. The kids worked with me in choosing a color pallet, textures and even the sounds you would hear as the plates flip over.

We had a great time making this State Plate, we hope that you’ll have just as much fun playing it. It’s available in the App Store today for $1.99.

Harold