I released the first version of photo-app on June 30, 2013 (announced with this post). Since then, I have added quite some features and fixed all known bugs: in less than two months, I have deployed exactly 152 new versions of the app (yes, I do not advertize every single release!)
I started working on photo-app because I wanted it for my personal use. I love photography, I like how photos are presented on app.net, but I wanted to be able to schedule the posts in advance, and to give people a link to my entire portfolio. So photo-app was born.
Now, almost two months after, the app has posted 1,086 photos, on behalf of 206 registered users. And there are 714 more photos that will be posted from now till Jan 31, 2014. See here for updated stats. Although it does not generate a huge traffic, I was quite surprised by how quickly it was adopted by the app.net community.
I am very grateful to heroku: beside being my favorite hosting platform, their free plan (although meant for development) is ideal to host an app like photo-app. Unfortunately this won't remain free for long: as the number of photos will increase, I will have to start paying in order to keep them all online. I will see what to do when we get there; this should still be a couple of months away.
Something quite surprising is the population of browsers used. IE and the Android Browser are invisible on the graph, and together they represent less than 2% of the total traffic! Another interesting point is that more than 30% of the traffic is from iOS, even though the experience is not ideal on mobile.
The site is responsive and all features are accessible from a mobile browser, but photo-app is optimized for desktop browsers. There would be two options to improve this: work on a mobile version of the website, optimized for small screens, or clearly develop native apps (more on this below).
These are just some ideas for the future of photo-app. Please don't take them as commitments, I still work on photo-app, but a lot depends on the available time.
- Mobile apps: given the browser stats above, it would make sense to work on a mobile version of the app. I am quite comfortable with iOS development, but I would still take the opportunity to explore something new and would target multi-platform support (Android and iOS at least, probably more). To achieve this, I need to review the architecture and add the missing APIs to the back-end, so this is definitely something that will take a long time (if it sees the light at all). On the other hand I could ask for a small price for the mobile apps, and this could generate a little revenue which could be reinvested on hosting (and performance).
- Focus on photographers: this is something much more realistic, and will probably come soon. I would like to add the user's ADN avatar and bio on the portfolio page.
- Performance optimization: right now the app takes its time to show the photo pages. This is because I do not cache the thumbnails, but every time I ask ADN to generate a smaller version of a photo when it is requested (the dynamically generated thumbnail is only accessible for a couple of hours). I could cache all thumbnails out of ADN, on my hardware: the performance boost would be very visible.
- AND On Assignment: Have a look at this Patter Room and this page for more details. This is challenging from a UI perspective, as it is not exactly the same service that photo-app is currently offering, but definitely something interesting.
The featured photo for this post is from Stephan Schiffer's portfolio, and it is currently the highest rated on photo-app. Here is the original post. Published with the author's consent.