From the Author
April 3, 2013
Version 2.9 just got released, and this update notably adds auto-syncing capability.
It took a while to do this one, just because the cloud sync process needs to be fast
and efficient to support auto-syncing. So this includes lots of underlying changes
especially on the server. There's still some room for improvement, but what we
have now should be fast enough. I also did some UI changes in the app. Hopefully, I won't
get any negative feedback for doing that! Changing the interface is like walking a
tightrope. Most people resist change so you have to think twice about it. I guess I'll
find out after a few days.
The last 3 Months...
November 18, 2012
Three months ago, I had the "fortune" of getting laid off from my day job as a result of
my company cutting cost. While it's never good to lose a job, part of me was ecstatic.
Why? First, I got paid in the process. But more importantly, I'll be able
to work full-time on MealBoard! At least until I get another day job. And so the past
three months was just tremendous! I was able to put in so much work on the app, work that
would have normally taken me a year to finish. And now, all that work just got released
in the App Store (MealBoard v2.8). I hope y'all enjoy the new features I have put in!
And because I've started working again, future updates won't be as big as the last
two. But let me say that the app is now among the most fully-featured meal planners
in the App Store.
August 29, 2012
I was able to release a flurry of updates since the iPad version. Two big features-- the
in-app recipe import feature and support for multiple stores, were added along with
some major UI enhancements. The most recent version is much more polished and is closer
to what I had initially envisioned. Still working on a few critical features. Expect more
updates to come!
April 30, 2012
MealBoard is now a universal app, optimized for the new iPad! This update took almost
6 months to finish (the longest so far). Much longer than what I expected. I had
something working early on but had to scrap it and do it all over again due to
usability concerns (I found it confusing to use). Then, later on, memory problems were
found during testing and I had to refactor some of the UI code. But alas, it is finished.
The iPad version was the most requested by users and I'm quite pleased with the results.
I hope you all will like it. It's still a little rough in the edges and is very much a work
in progress (a couple of critical features coming up soon!), but it should work well
as it is.
September 1, 2011
The big update mentioned in my previous post didn't go as well as I had hoped.
I added a notification feature and it broke the app's compatibility with iOS versions older
than 4.0, resulting to a lot of frustrated users. I didn't have a device running
iPhone OS 3 and so there was no way to test backward compatibility. Compounding the problem,
I flew to Australia for a two-week vacation right after the release! Yes, not the smartest thing
to do. :)
Anyway, I got back home and quickly bought a used iPod Touch 1G from eBay to debug and test
the fix. Version 2.5 was out in no time. Thanks all for your patience!
Big update coming up!
June 8, 2011
I have been working on the next update. It's hard to believe it's taking months!
This is by far the longest time it has taken to finish an update. Lots of underlying
changes in the app. UI changes included, and a couple of very cool features! If all
goes well in testing, it should be ready by the end of the month.
Version 2.3 Submitted for Approval
February 10, 2011
Early this week, I submitted Version 2.3 for approval. Expect it to be out soon.
It adds search functionality as well as the ability to easily share recipes with
other MealBoard users! Plus a few bug fixes and enhancements. I hope you all like it.
One Year in the App Store
November 1, 2010
MealBoard has been in the App Store for a year, and what a year it was! Thanks to all users
who sent feedback. Those suggestions are what drive the continous development of the app.
Without it, the app wouldn't be what it is today. It was a busy year. Writing Objective-C
code wasn't bad at all. The Java code for the backend server was even easier. But doing the UI
design, the color themes, icons-- those took *A LOT* of time. Probably because developers
are not the best creative designers ;-).
I'd also like to announce that Version 2.2.2 is coming up soon! It'll add yet another most
requested feature, plus a number of UI improvements that will make the app even more
pleasant to use!
Version 2.2 Released
July 30, 2010
Version 2.2 became available for download yesterday. This version adds cloud syncing and
a web interface to input recipes! Doing the web interface in this release was not in the
plan, but I thought it made a lot of sense to do it now. This was the most requested
feature among users, and with good reason-- it's not easy to type a lot of text in the
iPhone. With the cloud sync feature, you can upload your data, log into the website,
add recipes, and download it back to your device.
June 14, 2010
I have been working on the online sync feature that will hopefully get done by next month.
This is going to be the biggest feature by far in terms of the amount of development
work needed, not to mention the remote server setup required and the server code to be
written. I have to admit that I had been putting this off =), but with users getting iPads
and with the upcoming iPhone 4, I think it has become necessary to have this feature which
allows users to transfer data between devices.
Also, may I mention that I've gotten a lot of positive reponses to the template feature
released last month. I thought it brought the app's capability to another level.
April 26, 2010
More feature requests have been coming in and I have a started to be really careful about
what to add and what to leave off. The last thing I'd like to happen is to have an overly
complex product that has every conceivable feature but is hard to use. One user commented
that the app has the right balance of form and function and is simple enough to
actually use. I plan to keep it that way.
With that said, I'm working on a new powerful feature that will further make meal planning
a snap! I'm excited to use this feature myself. It will be out in a couple of weeks.
Ranked in the Top 100
March 8, 2010
Soon after Version 1.2 update got released, MealBoard climbed up the rankings and
made the Top 100 paid apps in the Health and Fitness Category! I think this is quite a feat
considering that the app has never gotten any sort of publicity
(I have not bothered to submit it to app review websites) and I have spent $0 in marketing
it. I've always believed that if I build a quality app, people will find it. And sure enough,
people are finding it. So, this is exciting news.
On another note, I just submitted Version 1.3 update today. It adds an in-app tutorial,
more user-requested features, and usabiliy improvements based mostly on a feedback
I got from a particular user (thanks Mike!).
Version 1.2 Coming Soon!
January 28, 2010
Yesterday, I submitted Version 1.2 update to Apple. It took a while to finish (I had
a 3-week vacation during the holidays). Now, it's finally done and I'm real excited
about it. This update contains some of the most-requested features among users.
Can't wait to get feedback. Thanks to all who sent their suggestions. And keep them coming!
Negative Rating Bias in the App Store
November 9, 2009
Since MealBoard was released, I have gotten lots of positive feedback through email,
mostly saying how they like the app and a number of them offering suggestions to improve
it. I have been working on these suggestions and I'm happy to say that it will be out
by next month. Just a little more time and it should be ready.
Anyway, back to the main topic of this post. Looking at MealBoard's App Store ratings
through iTunes, I've found that it has gotten quite a number of 1-star ratings, and all
but one of these 1-star ratings did not come with
text reviews. Now, I have found out why the 1-star ratings. When users delete an app from
their iPhone (usually because they don't like it or it was not what they expected), they
get prompted to rate the app (they get prompted for a star rating only, without a text review).
I think this produces a bias towards low ratings. They're deleting the app because they don't
like it, and asking them to rate it at that moment will most likely produce a low rating.
As someone puts it, this is akin to asking people who just walked out in the middle of a movie
to rate the movie! I think this is unfair to developers and Apple needs to fix it. If they want
to prompt users to rate apps, they should do so randomly.
In the meantime, if you have bought and used MealBoard, I would very much appreciate if you
can spare a minute to rate the app (you may do it through iTunes or the App Store).
Doing so will help produce a true rating which is critical in helping sales and thus
support its further development.
Thanks to all.
Version 1.1 Now Available
November 4, 2009
Version 1.1 update is now available in the App Store. The update mainly contains fixes
based on user feedback. And it includes a newly designed app icon.
October 11, 2009
It's been two days since MealBoard went on sale and I have received some feedback.
Overall, it was very positive feedback but I had to scramble today to come up with
a tutorial on how to use the app. I did not realize that there's a bit of a learning curve
to use it. I think that the challenge comes from 2 things-- (1) users having
to go through the list of food categories before they can select the food items to be added
to the mealplan, and (2) the app being extremely customizable (you can add, remove, edit,
rename, reorder almost any data that the app displays. While these do make the app a little
hard to learn initially, I think users will find it worthwhile as they get comfortable.
I'm hoping to get more feedback and reviews. I have already identified a few
new features to work on. I'll be busy in the next few weekends.
MealBoard Available for Sale on October 9
October 7, 2009
Today, I finally received the approval email from Apple. MealBoard should be available in
the U.S. App Store in a couple of days (tomorrow for the rest of the world).
I have been using the app for the past 2 weeks. It's something that I had been looking for
as early as 8 years ago when I bought a Palm Pilot. I hope others will find it useful.
I'm looking forward to get some feedback!
MealBoard Submitted for Approval
September 28, 2009
MealBoard Version 1.0 is finally submitted to Apple for approval. That comes after 3 months of hard work
(design, coding, testing), and prior to that, 4 months of learning Objective-C and the
iPhone SDK. That was such a long time. But then, I work on it only on weekends.
I hope I have done enough testing to uncover all bugs. I was a little hesitant to submit
it yet, but I have gotten tired testing and I couldn't find any more bugs. Now,
let's see how long it'll take to get approved.