State of the App
In 2015 I saw a hole on the App Store – a visitor registration app that was easy to use, not an eye sore, and didn’t break the bank. New to iOS development, I took this as inspiration and decided to solve this problem myself. So after months of hard work, I released In & Out – my first app on the App Store. Five years later, In & Out is being used all over the world every day.
There are now many more visitor registration apps available on the App Store, but none of them hit the sweet spot of elegant, affordable, and easy to use visitor registration. In order to keep these values, that means I must spend time features I think are vital to the app. It also means saying no to requested features that will compromise my intended goals for the app. So what exactly can you expect from In & Out?
What In & Out Is (and What It Isn’t)
First, In & Out has a simple, clean user interface that is easy to learn and navigate for both the business owner and the visitors using it for registration. This was the thing that pushed me to create In & Out in the first place. I did not want to have an app as the first impression for my business that was ugly. So In & Out must remain simple and clean.
Second, In & Out uses only local storage for visitor data. Since there is no syncing, there’s no need for me to pay for cloud storage. This means there are no ongoing fees once you purchase the app – just a one time charge to buy the app. This was important to me as well as I have always been a fan of the App Store model of buy once, own forever. I know this is a hard business model for developers to make a living on, but it’s what I prefer when buying an app, so it’s what I prefer when selling an app.
Last, since iOS development is not my full time job, I view In & Out as mostly feature complete. This means it is an app that is perfect for simple visitor registration – capture names, email addresses, phone numbers, and more, and then view those visitors in app or export as a spreadsheet. That’s it. If that’s what you need in a visitor registration app, In & Out is for you. If you need more, I understand, but I won’t be adding more complicated features.
What To Expect Going Forward
In the coming weeks, I’m going to be releasing an update to In & Out that is both a major and a minor new version. While new features will be limited to the modern features that have been added to iPadOS recently (Dark Mode, Split Screen Multitasking, Dynamic Type in the app’s settings), there won’t be any obvious new additions to the app’s capabilities. This is because I am completely rewriting the app with the latest version of Swift and using modern API’s, allowing me to keep it up to date much easier. Currently, the app is using a mixture of Objective-C and Swift that started being written when Swift was brand new. This has caused a hodgepodge of code that seems to break with each major iOS release and is very difficult to maintain. Updating with a modern rewrite should make maintenance of the app so much easier, which will allow me to adopt Apple’s new system features much quicker. This will also allow me to fix bugs much faster. There’s currently a bug that causes issues sometimes with the passcode in the app, but the complexity of the older code has made fixing this issue slow. This issue will be fixed in the update and other bugs will be able to be fixed much quicker.
I’m excited to be releasing In & Out version 2020.1 in the coming weeks and look forward to much more consistent releases going forward.
If you currently use In & Out, thank you. I hope this update improves the quality of the app for you. If you don’t use it yet, I hope you give it a chance and like it.
Thanks for reading,