After we started Shepherd Dog we got out into the local community through volunteering, going to meet ups, and figuring out the people and companies that were already established in the local technology industry and setting up meetings with them. We still haven’t met everyone, but this story starts with one of those meetups, in particular Little DOCC.
The Little DOCC is a biweekly meeting for Denton technology and startup enthusiasts. We get together for a coffee in the morning and chat about what is interesting to us. In addition to being a great place to talk tech it is a great excuse to visit West Oak Coffee Bar and indulge in their coffee.
The Little DOCC is organized by Techmill, a group of local tech startup leaders. Techmill has a co-working space on the Denton Square and, more importantly for this story, a Slack that they’ve been very generous about opening to all Denton tech enthusiasts and not just to Techmill members.
One day, Josh from Swash Labs, a local, full service advertising and branding company, posted in the Slack about needing someone to build an iPhone app. I responded almost immediately saying I was interested. Josh and I had never met, but because of Techmill and the collaborative nature of Denton’s tech community, we were able to get in touch. Josh checked my references (we’re collaborative, but still have to do due diligence of course) and soon we were working together on the app.
The app, Pender’s Barcode Scanner, has a simple but powerful concept. If you’ve ever been in a sheet music store, you know that music is everywhere. But you can’t hear it easily, you can read it and imagine what it will sound like, but it is all just paper.
This app lets you scan a barcode on that paper and hear what the music will sound like when played with just a couple of taps.
We played a small role in an implementation that took a team of people to accomplish – we built the iPhone app that reads the barcode and sends it to a website that shows the user the proper item. Tomas from Euro Softworks Corp. did the work on the website and Swash Labs did the responsive design to ensure it would look good when pulled up on the iPhone. Swash Labs also designed the iPhone user interface, created the images throughout the app, and defined the color palette. We made a couple of suggestions to better fit the latest version of the iPhone and to improve usability, but teaming up with Swash Labs was great.
The best part of this app is that it is focused on making Pender’s Music Co.’s customers’ lives easier. That is the reason companies should create apps – to better serve their customers.
We wrote this app in Swift, with a few Objective C files for additional features, targeting iOS 7 and 8. Most of the user interface was built using Storyboard’s, which we like a lot.
As I said before, this is a simple app. It took us fewer than 20 hours to create and test. That doesn’t include the work that Swash Labs did to create the responsive design, the app’s user interface, or the web development done by Euro Softworks.
Pender’s Music Co. and Swash Labs have more features planned for the app going forward, some of which we’ve already started, and we hope to be fortunate to work with both of them in the future as they continue to find better ways to serve their customers.