From Scratch to AppStore

As a software engineer nothing beats the feeling of building something from scratch into a product which is good enough to be presented to the people and they shower you with positive feedback.

Some time back while having a discussion with a friend I got introduced to BarkNBond.A product which in the founder’s own words is trying to “strengthen the bond that people share with their pets that holds the potential to be one of the most loving and fulfilling relationships” and the “Client Speak” section on the website leaves no impression about the volume of pet lovers/owners in India and how successful this product has become.

Understanding the plight of the pet lovers in India with all the burden they go through to access even minimal information about good pets trainers,vets, salon,hotels they decided to build an application which provides all information on your phone under 1 app.

The idea sounded very interesting and important to me as it was my first chance to build something from scratch.As an iOS applications developer my first instinct was to go and check on the appstore for any available solutions/apps .To my surprise there were no quality solutions available(personal opinion!!) and specially nothing for India.It was time to build one.

Although the application was not complicated from technical perspective but we had our share of problems,challenges to solve.

Any mobile application comprises of mostly three parts UX,FrontEnd,Backend.Amongst ourselves we had a kickass UX guy and iOS developers.Since the app would just consume data and not generate we needed a pretty simple backend to start comprising of a simple database and REST APIs to get data.

Some of the challenges I faced while building the app -

  1. An affordable,scalable and easy to implement BaaS.There were lot of options available but we narrowed down to was simple to setup and provide SDKs for all major platforms.There are pros and cons with every BaaS you just need to chose the best one to fit your needs.
  2. An admin frontend to put data in database.With no experience in web development it turned out to be most challenging for me.Twitter’s bootstrap and some basic javascript,Jquery tutorials online came in handy and I was able to build a simpe admin front end to enter data.
  3. Scalability was always an issue as Parse’s cost rises exponentially with #ofrequests/sec.I wanted to keep requests to backend as minimum as possible to support maximum number of customers with its free module.In came a local database withing the app with requests to backend only when new data is available.Minimizing the number of requests gave us the opportunity to serve max number of customers with minimal cost upon us.

Some the features of V1.0 -

  1. Categorized listings Pet stores, clinics, restaurants etc according to your current city.
  2. Nearby stores with the ability to see directions from your current location.
  3. Search with store name,address, city name etc.
  4. Details of the pet stores with their address, contact , location on maps etc.
  5. Ability to favorite any store that you would want to visit again.

Till now we have added data for the Mumbai with plans to add many more.In less then a month we have more than 100 downloads with good customer feedbacks.
If you are a pet lover in Mumbai do try this app and if you are in any other city watch out for when your city is added.

Some final images of the V1.0 —

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