I have finally decided what my next personal project will be: an iPhone/iPad App that will be a front end or client to SifterApp.
I had been considering a few options, one of which was to build a web application similar to SifterApp. Instead of focusing on issue tracking, this app would focus on requirements tracking or action-item tracking, which are very similar applications in terms of the workflow.
I have worked with defect tracking systems, help desk systems, and requirements management systems from both sides of the fence for many years in large and small organizations. Honestly, none of them were particularly user friendly. So when I happened to use Sifter in a project earlier this year, I was blown away by its simplicity and functionality. It epitomized the embodiment of one of my favorite quotes from Antoine de Saint-Exupery which I will never forget:
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
The more I used Sifter, the more I liked it. I wanted to build a similar system. I knew Garrett had put a lot of effort into building this, and I did not want to plagiarize it. So I asked him for permission to build my own web application very similar to his. Understandably, he explained to me how it felt unreasonable. And I agreed with him. I would look for other ideas.
But my mind was still attracted to Sifter. I asked him if I could build an iPhone/iPad app and sell it to him? I vaguely remembered that there was an API available for Sifter. Garrett was not interested in buying an App, but to my pleasant surprise, he said that I could build and sell what ever I wanted using the API! He and his company would just focus on the API and the web interface. I was on cloud 9. What’s more, he said he did not mind putting a link on his website/external resources page. What more could I ask for!
To cut a long story short, I am going to build an iOS app for Sifter.
At this time, only the read-API exists. The write-API is coming soon. So this app will start off as a read only app, so that people can view issues. I will build it as a Universal App (which means it will work on both the iPhone and iPad form factors with a single purchase.) But version 1.0 will be distributed only for iPhone. In version 1.1 I plan to introduce skins – details later.
When the write API is available, I will release version 2.0. This will allow users to update issues and bugs.
Version 3.0 will add support for iPad as well. That will be a challenge because an iPad user can get the complete web experience directly from a browser. I cannot think of a real need for an iPad version yet. But I’ll wait and see.
I have already started designing the app. I will describe the initial design in a post soon.