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APP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: CTO PONTUS BACKLUND

In App Close and Personal we get to know people somehow related to AppSpotr through an arbitrary number of reasonable and less reasonable questions. This time around we get cozy with Pontus Backlund, the big baus on our programming team.


Hey, stranger! So, what would you say has been the biggest challenge in developing the AppSpotr platform so far?

For me the biggest challenge was probably designing the architecture for the E-commerce system. It’s the biggest feature we have launched since I started working here.


What’s your level in World of Warcraft?

I don’t have time for time-consuming games.


Come on now, be real with us.

I am. I stopped playing years ago… I think I was around level 30 or something.


Riiight… Moving on, which feature or functionality do you think would improve our tool the most?

I think E-commerce and our upcoming Social features are really going to spice our tool up! We’re definitely starting to get to a place where you can get some extraordinary functionality in your apps.


What do you love the most about your job?

Coding is a hobby and passion, so when I get to sit down and grind code for hours, or when I get to research and come up with great architecture for huge features, that’s when I’m at my peak of happiness.


And what do you love just a tiny bit less about it?

That’d be the administrative duties.


Can you drop some super secret AppSpotr stuff you’re working on right now?

I would if I could, but since we went public things are very secretive… I can however mention that I’m in the process of building the best coffee bot for Slack ever.


Sounds awesome. So… can you trade us some legendary gear?

APP OF THE MONTH: FULL POTT PÅ HÖGSKOLEPROVET

Are your less-than-stellar high-school grades stopping you from getting into the college of your choice? Sorry, you’re screwed. Unless you’re Swedish and download December’s App of the Month, of course.

Education is good for lots of things, m’kay? But in order to land a fine-ass degree, you’ll have to bite the high-school bullet and achieve shimmering As and Bs in subjects you might just hate. Sadly, some people are too bored, too attention deficit disorder, too lunch-money deprived or just too dumb to give enough fucks at the time. Whatever the reason, it really sucks to be held back later on because of it. Luckily, as with most problems (except for the paradox of time traveling … come on, it just wouldn’t work), there is a solution. SATs. You know the deal. Essentially, for like 50 bucks you do a test that covers a bunch of different fields, and your scores on the test can help you get into college.

 

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A menu. Mindblowing, right?

 

Now there’s a Swedish version of SATs called Högskoleprovet. And that’s where December’s App of the Month comes in. Full Pott på Högskoleprovet aims to help you getting that perfect score through word training and other valuable stuff delivered through push notifications.

The app is really light, simple and to the point. Essentially, what you have is a quiz, an about section with a link to the creator’s website and promotion of his book on the same subject. No fancy content or anything like that. Instead, it relies on a simple, great idea with a clear – and friggin’ huge – target group in mind. Sometimes that’s all you need.

The quiz tests your mettle in obscure Swedish words to give you an upper hand on the word part of Högskoleprovet. Additionally, there’s the push notifications delivering a “word of the day”, and useful general tips. Considering how big the test is, the app could obviously be fleshed out a lot with more content, but we really love the idea and the creative use of the functions.

 

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Aha! We know that “dendrophiles” love screwing trees. And that “chronology” is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time … so “dendrochronology” just has to mean “look for gold in the river”!

 

Utilizing both the Quiz Module and push notifications in innovative ways, this li’l app delivers useful content to all those Swedes taking a second shot at academic success. The app scores a near-perfect 1.9 on the AppSpotr test. With some studying and minor adjustments, it could be a flawless 2.0.

ABOUT THE MOVIE 300

300 is a pretty sweet movie about abs, bromance and shit. But do you know what’s even sweeter? Except for watching a beautiful sunrise hand in hand with that special someone, of course. You’re about to find out.

300 is a 2006 American epic fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars. The film was directed by Zack Snyder, while Miller served as executive producer and consultant. It was filmed mostly with a super-abs-deluxe key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book.

The plot revolves around King Leonidas, who leads 300 super cute Spartans into battle against the Persian “god-tranny” Xerxes and his invading army of super many soldiers. As the battle rages, Incest Queen from Game of Thrones attempts to rally support in Sparta for her husband.

Despite their minuscule number, the Spartans fearlessly fight their way through thousands upon thousands of Persian soldiers. Once the few remaining men reach Xerxes, Leonidas manages to land a scratch on the god-tranny himself, and in doing so, expose his mortality. Then the Spartans live happily ever after. Just kidding. They all die. But their sacrifice paves the way for a united Greece to pick up arms and eventually win the war.

Pretty neat story, huh? Impressive how all that could be achieved with only 300 men. Now, multiply that by a thousand and then some. That’s how many we are now. Can you imagine the majestic stories that will be told about us?

CHANGES TO APP STORE PUBLISHING

The time has come to close off our App Store account. From now on, just as for Android, all new iOS apps will be published to your own ditto. Scary? We know. But it’s not all bad news, as fame, fortune and rich new wisdom lies within reach for those who venture on by themselves.

So, last year we opened up for the long-awaited feature of publishing to your own accounts. When implementing this for Google Play we also got rid of the option to publish through us. For App Store, we went about doing things a bit differently, rolling out support for your Developer account while retaining the option to use ours throughout the year. Well, 2k17 is here, you know. Time’s up. From now on, AppSpotr apps published to either platform go through your own account.

To publish to App Store, you’ll need an iTunes Connect Developer account enrolled to the iOS Developer Program. If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on how to get it here

Those of you who already have iOS apps live on the AppSpotr account, don’t worry. You’ll get some time to migrate your creations before they go poof. Just make sure it happens before February 9th, or face complete and utter unpublication at the hands of the Appocalypse. That’s really the worst that could happen.

We understand this might all seem a bit overwhelming at first, but us hosting thousands of apps was never a viable long-term solution. We all knew that. And honestly, there are plenty of perks to having your app on your personal account. You get access to ever so useful analytics, you can put a price tag on your app and, of course, as for every self-respecting artist, your masterpiece will be signed with your name.

Now whaddya say, time to go conquer those charts?

 

NEW FEATURE: E-COMMERCE

Guess what. We’ve finally caught a leprechaun! And we’ll rent it to you jolly cheap! Yup, it’s all true. Because everything hiding endless riches qualifies as a leprechaun, right? Even the most cutting edge native e-commerce functionality ever bestowed upon appkind.

Remember we promised you guys that 2k17 would start off with something big? Well, that was an understatement. What we’re about to serve you is nothing short of the biggest update in AppSpotr history. Broes and broettes, brace yourselves for our new love child, E-Commerce! Inspired name, we know. But don’t let it fool you. This baby is the ultimate shopifier, an entire system built around native webshop functionality for your app.

Add your supposedly million-dollar jewellery, pickup artistry books, dirty laundry or whatever else it is you’re selling. Choose your layout, tinker a bit with the finer details and you’re good to go. Once your shop is online, business will be smoother than ever thanks to integrated payment options, automated customer emails and other game-changing features.

E-Commerce can be activated through the main menu or from the Marketplace for $20 a month. Your subscription doesn’t start until you’ve published the app, so go ahead and try it out.

Expect a more thorough rundown of how E-Commerce works before long. Until then, here’s a little sample:

 

E-COMMERCE FEATURES:

  • Add an unlimited number of products
  • Add product categories for filtering
  • Choose between list, grid and feed layout
  • Customize VAT rate, shipping cost, translations and other settings
  • Receive payments straight through the app
  • Set up automated emails for your buyers

A RECAP OF 2K16

Another year draws to an end. And not just any year, but the most appic one in AppSpotr history. So far. Here’s a summary of stuff that went down (and up – mostly up) in the last twelve months.

2k16 is the year AppSpotr went public and had our stocks oversubscribed sixteen times in the process. Shoutouts to everyone wanting to be a part of AppSpotr. You’re all awesome, but unfortunately we just couldn’t take everyone in. The one-thousand-something peeps who managed to get their hands on shares are welcome as owners of the world’s best app builder. And, as a little bonus, of stocks that went up 50% over their first mere month on the market.

Our userbase grew. A lot. 2k16 is the year that AppSpotr gained 253,817 new users. Together you guys started 177,604 new projects built on 1,175,538 pages. Many fantastic creations first saw the light of day and gave a glimpse of what is possible on our platform.

2k16 is the year when we produced 33 brilliant blog posts. Oh, make that 31. The other two were mediocre and kind of shitty respectively. We talked AppSpotr, obviously. But we also talked Star Wars and Pokémon Go. We even managed to make a completely unrelated App of the Month post be all about Game of Thrones. Because, why not? We felt like it. Unfortunately we didn’t get to use those Pac-Man like Canadian faces from South Park in a blog post or newsletter. Definitely maybe next year.

Here at the headquarters, 2k16 is the year when 13 new people joined our team and office dog Douglas gained seven years while losing five teeth. Canine guy’s getting old, really old. Most importantly, together we caught 126,210 pokémon. Or rather would’ve if the rest of the crew were as devoted to the #winstinct cause as yours truly.

2k16 meant the biggest upgrade to our platform so far. Four new modules were released. We introduced Templates to make things a whole lot more convenient. And we finally rolled out publishing to your own account on both Google Play and App Store. Support for ads was implemented to increase your cash money dollar flow. And speaking of $$$, our platform took its first steps into e-commerce with a magic PayPal button.

Yeah, no doubt 2k16 has been fine as hell. But enough about the past already. A new year is coming up, and we’re going to bust our asses off to make it an even greater one. With the release of our two flashiest modules just around the corner, 2k17 is in for one hell of a start. Then we’ll just keep going from there.

That’s it for now. Time to pour the champagne and wrap up this year. Appy New Year from all of us at AppSpotr!

 

 

 

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