Why we chose CloudKit
There’s no shortage of server storage options out there. These days, you can choose between Amazon, Microsoft, and countless others. You can even create your own at great personal expense.
But we had somewhat different ambitions.
Our aim is to be the “Notes” of Time Tracking. The simplicity of Apple’s notes app is downright inspiring. Notes is as close to pen and paper as you can get. In fact it’s better than pen and paper because you always have all of your notes with you.
Our real competitors
Time Tracking tools aren’t so much in competition with one another as you might think. Yes, there are dozens upon dozens of time tracking tools out there. You can track time on the web, on your desktop, and probably on your Apple Watch if you are so inclined.
But they aren’t in competition with one another.
They compete against non-consumption (i.e. “just not tracking your time”).
They compete against spreadsheets.
They compete against pen and paper.
So the real question becomes, how do you design a time tracking app that can compete with Numbers, Excel or Google Docs?
How do you design something that is easier to use than a leather bound journal?
We believe CloudKit is the key to it because CloudKit is at the core of Notes. CloudKit is what makes Notes seamlessly sync itself between devices, all without you ever having to create an account or sign up for some service.
Imagine if every time you wanted to write something on a piece of paper, you had to remember your paper username and password. You would probably never use paper again.
Thankfully, real paper has an absolutely wonderful user experience. You just grab a pen and starting writing things on it. You get constant tactile feedback to know that your words are making it to the page, and then there’s that fresh smell too.
Pen and paper are serious competitors. We don’t take them lightly.
We know that if we want to compete with pen and paper, we need to give people the simplicity of pen and paper. You need to be able to just pick up the app and start tracking a task.
- Creating an account
- Needing to be online
- Needing to define a project or a client
- Needing to “pull to refresh” so your tasks are synced up
To the best of our knowledge, CloudKit is the only service that gives us the ability to remove all of those barriers in one fell swoop.
At its core, CloudKit is a sync engine. It’s great for our developers because it means they end up writing much less code. Track grabs changes to your tasks, and it applies them when it syncs. Whenever a change is made, it automatically gets sent to all of your devices that use Track.
It doesn’t matter if you are online or offline. When you are offline, we store your tasks locally on your device. Then, when you get back online (hey there 😉), we push your tasks up to iCloud where they sync with all of your other Apple devices.
From your perspective “it just works.” Track never bothers you with pop up alerts, spinning wheels of death, or whatever new annoyance developers have come up with because they couldn’t build an app that works well offline.
Pen and paper don’t care if you are online or offline. Pen and paper don’t need a connection to work. Neither does Track.
What about Apple Lock-In?
It is no secret that CloudKit pretty much locks you into Apple and its ecosystem. We’re just gonna straight up own that because for the moment, there isn’t anything that handles authentication like CloudKit.
We say you don’t need to create an account, and in a way, that’s a farce. The only reason you aren’t creating an account is because you are already logged into one. It’s your Apple ID.
This sort of thing needs to become a standard the world over, and unfortunately no single company can do it. We need to work together.
Imagine a world where you login just once — the moment you purchase your device of choice. Imagine never having to create an account for any service you use. Imagine no need to connect things to Twitter, Facebook, or whatever else might come along to replace them.
Imagine a world where your digital tools work more like pen and paper.
That vision can be reality if we can find a way to work together and solve the authentication problem. We have picked CloudKit for now because it offers a ‘paper-like’ experience for our users. But if something else could do the same job on more platforms, we would embrace it in a hearbeat.
We’re just a time tracking tool. We are but one small and humble part of this journey. Nevertheless, we believe in an authentication-free future. We see freedom from the tyranny of usernames and passwords on the horizon.
If you want a dead simple time tracking tool that’s as simple as paper, check us out on the App Store.