DevDialogue – USB Disk Thought Leader Speaks
Out of the several thousands of Apps with all sorts of imaginable uses, USB Disk has emerged as one of the top ranking one. This App allows users to view all kinds of formats on an iPad and iPhone. More significantly, it is going to continue to be free. Mr. David Detry of Imesart shares his views with TheAppleGoogle in an interview.
1. USB Disk is currently the top free iPad App in the Store. How do you feel about it? Do you plan to change the pricing plans?
I just love to see USB Disk at the top of the charts. Not only does it hint at a commercial success, but it is also a great recognition of the value of our work. And it is only the beginning, I’m very excited about what we’ll be able to bring to the iPad (and iPhone) community. Concerning the pricing plan, here is a good news for everyone: USB Disk will stay free. New users, which download USB Disk after its introduction week, will be seeing ad banners inside the app.
2. How did you start developing for iOS?
It all began with the iPhone, the original one. So that brings us to fall 2007, when I got my hands on the magical device. And I felt like most people feel the first time they use an iPhone: whoa! At the time, there was no App Store and I quite often found myself thinking: I wish there was an app to do this, or that. So I started playing with the unofficial open source SDK, which was the only way you could develop for iOS at the time. However, I only really got started when the official SDK became available. My first creation was Audio Memos, which I still keep on developing today.
3. File Sharing was a boom for an App like yours. What else would you like to see in iTunes and iOS?
File Sharing is a great thing, it greatly simplifies the process of sending (and retrieving) files on a device. Prior to it, you could only use a WebDAV server – which can be hard to setup for non technical users – or use a service like iDisk or Dropbox. For USB Disk, it would be great if Apple went a step further and allowed users to upload folders. Other nice additions would be to allow adjustments to the screen’s brightness and a more open view controller’s API.
4. While developing an App, the developers usually get stuck while implementing the code. Did you too encounter a similar situation?
In app development, there are times when everything just works great and times when bugs appear. In the most extreme cases, it might feel as if you were facing a wall. But as with all walls, there are cracks and ways to get around it. Finding a solution can be compared to solving a puzzle: you get thrilled by the challenge or get bored of turning in circles. The worst problems I have encountered were when creating non-standard view controllers (like the one allowing the controls of Audio Memos to stay on screen when pushing a new view).
5. How did you conceive the idea of developing USB Disk?
When you get a mobile device, the first thing you do is to transfer some of your existing data to it. If it is a music player you transfer your MP3s, if it is a phone you transfer your contacts. For devices like the iPad and the iPhone, you also want to transfer PDFs, text documents, spreadsheets and so on. So the basic idea for USB Disk came very naturally. Then came several iterations of brain storming – development – testing to refine the idea to the point of USB Disk as it is today.
6. How long did Apple’s approval process take? Were you satisfied by their performance?
Apple’s approval process has mostly improved with time. The whole process took about a month, which was longer than expected. However, the delay was mainly justified. So all in all I’m satisfied with the process.
7. Many people compare USB Disk with Dropbox. Do you really view it that way?
It is true both apps let you view files. However, there are some advantages to using USB Disk. Files are always stored locally, which means you can view them off line and there is no account setup required. The file viewing experience is also much more refined. However, I’d say both apps can be complementary: using one to transfer the files, and the other to view and keep them.
8. One more thing…
Thank you for reading till here! And thank you to TheAppleGoogle for this interview. Stay curious and keep on exploring the App Store. USB Disk will be evolving, keep an eye on it.