Notes on IDOC 2012: Discussion On Challenges, Success Stories and Development Potentials on iOS

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ID-ObjectiveConference 2012 (IDOC 2012) had concluded a while ago but there was an interesting discussion that I wanted to note from the sharing session at the event.

IDOC 2012 conference was intended for developers who want to develop applications in iOS ecosystem and for those who are interested in the iOS development. The event’s title is “Getting Started with iOS development” and is intended as an initial stage and the introduction for the participants (some participants are the developers).

In addition, there were technical materials submitted by the speakers (you can view the complete coverage of the event here or here). During the discussion session, the panelists spoke about the business aspects of application development.

The panelists were by R. Ayu Maulidina I (STI), Andri Yadi (Dycode), Aulia Masna (DailySocial), Noor Muhammad Sumyandityo (Guava Games), Finan Akbar (Beetlebox) and Anton Soeharyo (Touch Ten), moderated by Rama Mamuaya, founder of DailySocial.

The discussions began with questions about iOS potential and iOS application development. Broadly speaking, all speakers agreed that the opportunity is quite large. Akbar said that rise in iPhone sales in the country presents a larger opportunity. Yadi emphasized on this point by saying that the real market is huge and mainly overseas whereas the Indonesian market is just starting to ascend and adoption is still growing.

What about the competition? With the global market, wouldn’t the competition be more fierce? Guava Games’ Noor said that the application and game development in iOS is challenging because the application must stand out considering the current existing level of competition.

Aulia Masna of DailySocial had another opinion. This isn’t a competition for global market but it’s more about the application itself. The most important thing is the quality of applications, not the origin. He argued that the issue isn’t about competing with other developers but whether the developer can create good quality apps with compelling functions and interface or addictive games that can attract a large number of people.

An interesting point was raised when the moderator asked Anton Soeharyo about tips to create a popular app in the international market. He said that some of the points include choosing the right title and keywords. Title and keywords should be tailored to the target market. Anton explained that during the making of Sushi Chain which had millions of downloads, he aimed for the market most familiar with the food, Japan and the United States. The choice of keywords should also be easily identifiable and attractive for the intended audience.

Aside from that, special attention must be paid to the icons and screenshots of the app as they are the primary ways to attract consumers. These are how developers can generate a level of trust and confidence in consumers’ minds that they are going to download a quality app. Pay attention to the colors as well as grammar especially if it’s in English because few things deter downloaders more than bad descriptions in the App Store.

Speaking of applications, Mamuaya asked Masna about Clear app which was recently discussed in DailySocial. One of the reasons why the app has generated so much interest is because despite the abundance of get-things-done apps in the App Store, this app breaks all preconceptions about list apps and introduces an innovative interface. You can read about the app here.

Akbar added one point that for me is quite important and it’s interesting for developers when creating applications. Akbar explained that one of the points that could be considered is from the marketing side. The developers are now doing marketing process for their applications through design approach, for example by posting a screenshot to Dribbble with the purpose of showing off the what the application looks like before it was completed and this could create some sort of viral effect when others like it and link to the design through blogs and social networks.

One of the questions asked during the Q&A session was about the distribution of apps, whether one should release it initially on one platform or distribute directly to as many as possible. Maulidina from STI said that it depends on the market whereas in Soeharyo’s opinion, it would be better to focus on just one platform at launch and consider the others once it has enough number of users or it has had some improvements done.

Another question was about web apps versus native apps. Given the development of web technologies, does web applications finally stand a chance against native apps?

The speakers said that they preferred to develop a native app at least for now. Masna argues that web apps have yet to have the same abilities as native apps and it has limited access to hardware functionalities. Yadi concurred saying that he would not consider web apps, at least for now because it has yet to be able to maximize hardware abilities. Coming in from a game developer’s perspective, Noor said native games have far superior performance and abilities and there are native elements that web apps simply can’t match right now. Masna also added that what is becoming popular is a combination of native and web components, apps with native interface but relying on web-based content built with HTML5.

The discussion ended with a light question about which iOS app is the favorite for each speaker, aside from the ones they built themselves. Soeharyo’s pick was Penultimate, a notebook app for the iPad, whereas Akbar went with Wunderkit, a task list app. Noor picked Temple Run and Where’s My Water, Yadi and Maulidina both liked WhatsApp and Flipboard while Masna’s favorites are Tweetbot and Flipboard as well.

IDOC 2012 was an event organized by ID-ObjectiveC community and DailySocial, sponsored by XL Axiata and supported by DyCode, Beetlebox, Firefox Community, Cititrans and various media partners. Despite the first offline event for the community, it managed to attract over 100 participants from across the country and even overseas.

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