Update 1.1.3

Submitted: 9/18/2017
Released: Pending Review

This update fixes a few bugs and issues that have crept up:

  • (Fix) The Picker control would crash when selected if there were no options to choose from.
  • (Fix) Images were not saved correctly to the database, causing loss whenever the app was restarted.
  • (Fix) The Remote Services Manager would crash if there were no remote services set up.
  • (Fix) When editing a Text Field, tapping on "Done" on the keyboard would dismiss the keyboard but would not unfocus the field.
  • (Fix) The Map view would not store data correctly (or at all in some cases).
  • (Fix) The Map view was not laying out it's views correctly when focused on.
  • (Parital Fix) Applied some fixes to the Audio control, but really the control need a small refactor. However, I wanted to get this update out first and refactoring the audio control may take a bit of time.

Moving Forward

This has been a strange couple of weeks for me. For the last couple of years, downloads of Flexile (I can't even say "sales" because it's free) have been very flat at a remarkably low level. Despite good reviews and a dedicated user base, I've never been able to gain enough exposure to actually monetize Flexile. And so most of the work I've done have been bug fixes to keep it stable. Even though it makes me absolutely nothing, I've simply been unwilling to kill it after so much work I've put into it. But that can only last so long, and lately I've been having discussions as to whether it was time to finally kill and pull Flexile from the app store.

And then a couple of weeks ago I had the largest downloads of Flexile I've ever seen. I was astonished... and thoroughly confused. Was the report wrong? Had Apple made a mistake? Had some website performed some delayed review of my app? No matter how I searched, I couldn't find anything that would cause this. Eventually, I had an email conversation with a user that revealed they were using iOS 11, and along with Apple's redesign of the App Store they apparently had redesigned the search algorithm. And so where I was once showing up at around #300 in the search, I was now showing up at #6... a huge difference.

What can I say? The internet gods have smiled upon me, and Apple has deigned fit to place my app higher in the search algorithms. I have another chance to actually make Flexile into a real business and so... well, I guess it's time to try again.

It couldn't have come at a better time. I've recently finished a lucrative two year contract, my wife has gotten a new job, and I've been looking for my next venture. I wasn't expecting Flexile to revive from the dead, but it has and I'll take advantage of it.

So here's the plan:

  1. I'm going to fix all the bugs that have built up the last eight months. There's a few user-facing bugs and a whole bunch of stuff that only I can see but the larger problem is the Flexile codebase has gotten out-dated over the last several years. Some approaches I've taken are no longer valid and need to be changed. It'll be quite a bit of work and will likely require some significant changes to how Flexile operated (more on that in future blog posts).
  2. My next phase will be to develop some sort of feature I can charge for. Currently, I'm thinking about creating a graphing feature. It's not something I've seen done in other apps that I think could be really useful. This would allow you to create custom graphs derived from your data. I would charge this as an in-app purchase (no idea about pricing yet). If that works out well, I'll move on to phase 3...
  3. I will start refactoring and modernizing the codebase. I'll be honest, this will likely create a lot of new bugs as I've learned from experience that while these things are necessary, they're usually painful in some degree.
  4. The refactor should give me a good foundation for moving foward, so afterwards I will work toward implementing a syncing service. My end goal is to have apps for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows with a subscriptions service that will sync between them. This is no small feat, but as a subscription service will provide me with the money I need to continue developing Flexile.

I don't know if this will work, but I'm going to give it a try. I would love, absolutely love, to not only keep Flexile alive but turn it into a thriving business. I don't know if I can do it, but I sure as hell will try now that I've been given a second chance.

Update 1.1.2

New maintainence release with the following:

Fixes:

  • Fixed several crashes that were occurring in iOS 10. Looks like Apple changed how categories work and a prior technique I was using to prevent crashes was now actually causing them.
  • Fixed them issues. Some themes were not being displayed properly or lost colors, espeically in the Navigation bar.

New:

  • I added 12.9 iPad Pro support. Please be aware that any existing custom views you created on the iPad Pro will no longer be there. Sorry, but you'll have to recreate them. This is because, technically, the prior version of Flexile was operating under the old iPad Size (non 12.9). I looked into way to try transferring old layouts to the new version but non worked. My apologies for that.

Entering Maintenance Mode

A couple days ago I released another version of Flexile that included quite a few new features. I also made Flexile free. I know it's been quite a while since I released an update so I want to explain why and what you can expect of Flexile in the future:

Flexile has been a great experience for me but, as many of you know, it never did make any money to speak of. Over three years the app has made less than $3k in total revenue. To be honest, this was fine. I was ok with that. Flexile was (and still is) my own app. It's the app I want for myself and eventually, I think it can be a money maker. But I have a lot more developing to do before that can happen.

In the meantime, I somehow managed to spawn a child with my wife (huh...funny that) and financial pressure forced to me to divert my attention away from Flexile to other pursuits that yield a bit more than $1k a year. So I started contracting as a freelancer. This has been great, but unfortunately I haven't had the time to devote to Flexile that I should.

This latest update was a culmination of work mostly done before I had started freelancing. But because of time constraints, I wasn't able to test is thoroughly before release. So I expect there will be quite a few bugs in it. However, I've already started compiling a list of the bugs and will be releasing bug fixes in the near future.

For the short term, I will continue to release bug fixes and platform updates for Flexile. I will probably not be releasing any new features for a little while. My goal will be to keep Flexile stable and bug free. Eventually, I will continue to add to Flexile. As I've mentioned before, this is an app that I use so I won't be giving up on it. But most of my attention will be elsewhere.

I just want everyone to know that Flexile is not abandoned. It will continue to grow more stable and bug free as I release maintenance updates. But I won't be adding anything new to it for a little while. This is probably best. Flexile was one of my first apps and as such, I've learned a lot since I first started developing it. Eventually, I'd like to rewrite it.

iOS 7 & Update 1.0.8

Yesterday I submitted to Apple, Flexile Update 1.0.8.  This is a major update that includes changes to Flexile's themes and user interface as well as the addition of several new field types and features.  For more info, see the release-notes.  To be honest, I had hoped to submit this before  iOS 7 was released, but like almost every time-goal I have ever set for Flexile, I missed it.  I always seem to underestimate exactly how much work goes into features I want to add. Although as far as "misses" go, this one is fairly minor... only a few days.  

Unfortunately, I discovered early Saturday morning that the current release of Flexile (1.0.7) was crashing on iOS 7 and rendering it almost useless.  For those that are experiencing this: I am sooo sorry.  When iOS 7 was released to developers I was already well underway with the new update.  I started using it on iOS 7 and while there were certainly bugs, this crashing bug wasn't there.  I should have tested 1.0.7 on iOS 7 but I was planning on releasing the update before iOS 7 dropped and I was too busy working on the update... lesson learned (hopefully).  Version 1.0.8 is a big update, but I plan on releasing more incremental updates in the future.  This is almost required now that iOS 7 auto-updates apps.  

The next week or so I'll update the website.  Not only does almost every image need to be replaced, but I've also got some neat features planned for the website itself.  And, of course, I've got more support I need to add for the new features in Flexile.  All of it "Coming Soon".  Until then, most of the content of the website is still valid, if not slightly dated.