For the past couple of years, I have worked with Two Thirds Water on the Great British Bee Count iOS app for Friends of the Earth. Today, an updated version of the app has gone live to support this years count which runs from 19th May until 30th June 2017:
The main update has been a completely new design which fits the more modern “flat” design which was made popular by iOS 7 whilst also putting the navigation within easy thumb reach even on plus-sized devices. There are also many new functionality changes such as an improved bee picker and fact files on each type of bee that can give you a lot more information.
As I also needed to migrate the app to Swift 3.1, I took the decision to completely rebuild the app from scratch1 so I could make use of some newer iOS features such as stack views and improved auto layout constraints. I also made improvements to the way in which content is stored on the device locally in a Realm database making the whole app feel even faster whilst increasing the reliability of sending count information in the background2.
This was a decision the client was not made aware of and whilst it cost me more time (as I worked to a fixed budget) the end result is an app I can be really proud of. I’d much rather spend a bit more time and money from my own pocket to make something perfect than try and hack something together quickly especially if it is a full redesign of an existing app. Due to changes in the Swift language and a move away from separate xib files to storyboards, I was able to reduce the overall file size by 20% and the amount of code by 45%. ↩︎
For example, if you try and submit a count when you have no network connection, the app can automatically upload this information once connectivity is restored even if it is no longer in the foreground. ↩︎