On July 11th, 2010, Tom Gerhardt and I had an idea for an iPhone accessory: a tripod mount that doubled as a stand. Five months later, customers began to receive our product, the Glif, in the mail. This turnaround, from idea to market in five months by two guys with no retail or manufacturing experience, signifies a shift in the way products are made and sold — a shift only made possible in the last couple years.
The best compliment anyone could give us about the Glif project is that it inspired them to take their creative idea to fruition. The purpose of this piece is two-fold: to give an inside look at our creative process, and to offer guidance and inspiration for those who have their own ideas they’d like to see brought to reality.
We didn’t use one of these “Cross Platform!” tools like Titanium. We wrote it, from scratch, in Java, like you do in Android.
We decided it was important to keep the native stuff native, and to respect each platform’s conventions as much as possible. Some conventions are easy to follow, like putting our tabs on the top. Other conventions go deep into the Android Way, like handling
Intents, closing old
Activities, implementing Search Providers, and being strict about references to help the garbage collector.
Now, our platform leverages HTML5 (buzzword, sorry) in many places for branding and content display, so we got a fair amount of UI for free. But there was much platform code written in Objective-C that needed translation into Java, such as map navigation, directions, and location switching.
So, we rolled up our sleeves, downloaded the Android SDK, and got to work.