Featured Developer – Wienke Giezeman

3d abstract architecture background

Featured Developer - Wienke GiezemanMeet Wienke Giezeman. He is a web developer (HTML/PHP/MySQL), turned IT consultant, turned Product Manager, turned Titanium mobile developer. Not exactly the most conventional route to mobile app development success, but that just makes it all the more interesting. With his diverse background, and Titanium at his disposal, Wienke is able to be an effective and efficient one-man mobile development team.

Wienke took some time out of his schedule to talk with us a little bit about his experiences with Titanium development and his new app, WappZapp.tv. As you’ll read below, he managed to take a “wouldn’t it be cool if…” idea and evolve it into an actual product with Titanium.

Interview with Wienke Giezeman

Tell us a little about your app WappZapp.tv

WappZappIt all started because we thought that our lazy TV night could be way more fun. Every night when we sat down in front of the television and nothing was on. Sitting on the couch we knew that the world of online video could serve us a lot more. But then, you need to search and find the good stuff.

We wanted to create an app that serves you a personal TV channel. Filled with all your favorite shows, recommendations from your friends and the latest viral online videos. We aimed at the couch as the main context of the experience and the big TV on the wall should be able to play all the goods from the app with a flick or a tap. So that was our plan. During 12 months my co-founder, Colin Ellis, and I bootstrapped this idea into a working product called WappZapp.TV.

Why did you pick Titanium for your app development?

We had little resources, no Java or Objective-C experience, and a lot to build. So we needed a framework that would give us the opportunity to bootstrap our concept quickly. We did some research on a couple of alternatives and made some prototypes in Appcelerator, Nimblekit, and Phonegap. We fell for Appcelerator as the end result was native, the development was purely javascript, and we really like the concept of it being cross-platform.

Featured Developer - Wienke Giezeman

What were some of the highlights of Titanium development for you?

There were a couple.

  • Development speed – The initial version was built really quickly. Which was great as it made our concept tangible and we could tweak it from the start.
  • The evolving platform – We started at 1.6 and are now working with 2.0. I can say the stability increase is huge. This really gives us the confidence Appcelerator is moving in the right direction.
  • CommonJS – When bootstrapping, architecture most of the time doesn’t get the highest priority. Well, in our case it didn’t when we built the iPhone version. When we started working on our iPad version we did that from the ground up following the CommonJS principles. This turned out great. Our code is now nicely structured. We really gain from CommonJS when maintaining the code or changing functionality. The main source of inspiration for the CommonJS part was the ToDoList example project. I can recommend anybody to have a look at that. Even when you just start.
  • Marketplace modules – We are using some of them and the ease in which you can incorporate some specific functionality is just great. We use the twitter module and some analytics modules.

How many people worked on it? How long did it take to design, implement, and test?
I am the only one developing on the team. With regards to the iPad version the design took us a week and the development roughly a month. We could do this in this short time span because at that moment we really knew what we wanted to build and we had all the Appcelerator experience from building the iPhone version.

Did you do the design yourself?

No, for the design we hired Jeroen de Lange from Havok Studios. We learned that designing an app is a whole different ball game. We were very glad to get him on board. You really want to touch the product now.

Featured Developer - Wienke GiezemanFeatured Developer - Wienke GiezemanFeatured Developer - Wienke GiezemanFeatured Developer - Wienke Giezeman

What resources did you use to learn and develop with Titanium?

My first resource was the Kitchen Sink app. It just gives you a great start by browsing through the app and finding the related code. I also like the videos and the developer’s blog. The example project ToDoList is a great resource for understanding the benefits of CommonJS.

Was your app built with the Community edition of Titanium?

Yes, it is great to see the pace at which updates appear. The platform gets more stable and features are added.

Do you have plans for updates to WappZapp.tv or future Titanium apps? Care to share some details?

Yes, it’s an ongoing process. We are doing a lot of customer research and make modifications to the app based on that. We are currently aiming at the Dutch market and we want to expand from there. As we think video content is really local we want to copy the concept country by country. So an English version is on the way!

Featured Developer - Wienke Giezeman

How are you going to build all of that?

We are looking for freelance Appcelerator Titanium developers to expand our team. If anyone is interested contact me at wienke@wappzapp.tv

Any additional thoughts or notes on Titanium development?

“I am still amazed by the stability and how fast you can build apps”

I think a have said enough about Titanium. For us, it worked great as the capabilities of the Appcelerator fit right into our needs. I am still amazed by the stability and how fast you can build apps.

Together with Jonathan Carter from Glimworm IT, we host the Appcelerator Amsterdam Meetup. In “Appsterdam” a lot is going on with regards to building apps and the number of companies and develops involved is huge. If you are in Amsterdam, come join us!

Big thanks to Wienke Giezeman for taking the time to give us some insight into his experience and success with Titanium app development. We know the rest of the community, as well as the Appcelerator team ourselves, get excited when we see beyond what is possible with Titanium to what is now a reality.

Do you think that you and your Titanium app should be highlighted on the Appcelerator Developer Blog? Send us an email at community@appcelerator.com and we’ll see if you have what it takes to join the ranks of our other featured developers. We hope to hear from you soon!

Wienke Giezeman’s Links

  • Email: wienke@wappzapp.tv
  • Follow @WappZappTV on Twitter
  • Website: http://www.wappzapp.tv
  • WappZapp in the Apple App Store: http://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/wappzapp.tv/id466863591?mt=8
  • Appcelerator Amsterdam Meetup