Category Archives: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes 1.6 is back on the App Store

Sherlock Holmes fans rejoice: he’s back on the App Store with Version 1.6 of our app. Huzzah!

There have been several additions I’m excited to tell you about, and of course the story of how the update came to be on the App Store once again.

Here’s what’s new in Version 1.6:

  • expanded episode guide for SHERLOCK, Season 4 (BBC)
  • expanded episode guide for ELEMENTARY, Seasons 3-5 (CBS)
  • added MR. HOLMES (2016) with Ian McKellen
  • presentation improvements for larger screen iPhone and iPad devices
  • changed app title to SHERLOCK HOLMES TRACKER
  • the app now requires iOS 8 to run

Continue reading Sherlock Holmes 1.6 is back on the App Store

Frasier and Sherlock Holmes have been removed from sale

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On a sad note, both our Frasier and Sherlock Holmes apps have been removed from the App Store. This time it’s not because of a copyright claim – hurra!

No, this time Apple have decided to remove these apps because of a new policy they’ve introduced earlier this year. In a nutshell it says if you don’t constantly submit updates to your apps, even if such updates are completely pointless, then we’ll remove such apps. Out with the old, in with the new. And now we know why there’s a new update to the Facebook and Twitter apps once a week…

On one hand the new policy is understandable: Apple want to avoid the shiny new polished App Store to be cluttered with outdated apps from half a decade ago. It makes sense. On the other hand it sends the message that they don’t really welcome hobby hackers like myself and would rather have big name publishers that can generate a ton of cash. Or alternatively those that generate a story on the front page. Like “the youngest app developer from China,9 yrs old” or “our oldest developer is 81 and she’s just published her first app”, that sort of thing. I’d love o ow what will happen to their apps in 5 years time, when those news items have become non-stories.

Is there something I could have done? Yes sure, and believe me, I’ve tried. Apple gave me 30 days notice before pulling my apps. It his time I had the chance to submit an update. I had lost touch with Xcode and the developer tools due to my illness, but I felt ready to take on the challenge with the deadline. 

Turns out that I can no longer maintain legacy code for older platforms like, iOS 5: the latest version of Xcode (which is necessary to submit apps to the App Store) no longer supports versions prior to iOS 8. The implication of this is that several classes have been retired or updated, so that much of the code as well as the approach to make an app work need to be re-written to be compliant with iOS 8 or higher. As a result, I spent two weeks updating the Frasier app, only to find out that it is so complex to do (even for a simple app like Frasier) that the time would be better lent re-writing the whole app from scratch. The task of updating would be even bigger for more complex apps like Sherlock Holmes or The Belgian Detective Guide. 

The long and short of it is: I didn’t get it done in time, and the apps were removed from sale. 

I still have the chance to updated them, but I’m not sure if I will find the energy to do this. Should I perhaps focus on new ideas instead, until they too will be removed from the store? Or should I find a different hobby altogether, one where you’re not kicked in the teeth once every year? 

Bundle Me Crazy

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Great news for iOS 7 and iOS 8 users: you can now buy all our Episode Guide apps in one handy bundle, thanks to the App Store’s new feature – freshly released for your convenience earlier today.

Included are all seven apps, from Poirot to Frasier – with everything in between. You can also “complete your bundle” and only pay the difference for apps you don’t already own. It’s very swish.

There has never been a better time to complete your collection – head over to the App Store now and grab that crazy Episodes Guides Bundle now.

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It’s an iPad, Watson!

We’ve given our Sherlock Holmes app a small makeover in Version 1.5: it now has a proper iPad interface! Not only that, we’ve also added:

  • all remaining episodes from Elementary, Season 2
  • five new movies starring Arthur Wontnter
  • one new movie starring Robert Stephens
  • another new movie starring Christopher Plummer

The update is available immediately and for free. And here’s what it looks like:

 

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Designing the iPad Experience

It’s not always easy to add an iPad specific interface, especially if the app doesn’t really need it to function well. We’ve been thinking long and hard, gone through several design concepts in the past and always came to the same conclusion: an iPad interface really doesn’t add anything new to the app.

When iOS 6 came out we’ve noticed that an iPhone app no longer appears in the App Store search results when browsed from an iPad: you have to manually switch to “show iPhone Apps” to see matching results. This trend has been carried over into iOS 7 of course, and several customers told us they just couldn’t find our apps – thinking they were not available in their country. A fair assumption. We knew we had to address this.

Then we thought: what if we don’t really change anything and make the app behave on iPad just like it did in “iPhone mode” – but make it universal anyway? We tried it last month – and soon after our first prototype we could see the benefits of keeping the current iPhone look/feel/functionality while adding iPad benefits.

Here’s what we did: All tabs at the bottom have been retained, the rows displaying details about each item look just like they did on the iPhone, but when you browse to the detailed description, the iPad implements a welcome change: data from Wikipedia or IMDb is loaded on the same page – displaying more details then ever before without having to navigate to a new screen.

On iPhone that’s impractical – but on the iPad we have an abundance of screen real estate which makes this possible and a shows you “details at a glance”.  We hope you like it!

With Julia’s help I’ll add the iPad features to all our other apps over the next week or so. I hope to submit all updates before the Developer Conference on June 2nd.