In honor of the upcoming release of a revamped version of TapLynx, we’re also launching a new element of the TapLynx blog: Developer Features. In this section, we’ll be sitting down to talk with some of the brightest minds working with TapLynx. To kick off the series, we interviewed Walter Tyree. Walter is a TapLynx extraordinaire. He’s our most active developer in our support forums and has created some really cool plug-ins that are easily customizable. Read on to learn more about Walter’s work with TapLynx:
How did you get into coding and designing?
I’ve been writing software as a hobby or professionally since about 1979. I’ve always gravitated toward writing software though I’ve had a lot of different jobs in IT and other fields. I enjoy the creative process and I enjoy making the software solve problems for people. I’ve really been taken by the iPhone and mobile devices. The CPU constraints and memory constraints force you to be efficient in your code and make it so that you can’t write giant programs that take years to develop and need 100 page manuals.
What landed you in the TapLynx developer world?
Brent S. (and I think Jenny) were on the MDN podcast talking about the framework. I got really interested in it from there. The hook for me was when Brent started talking about being able to modify the UI without resubmitting an app to the store. At the time I was dealing with a minor bug in an iPhone app that was in production. However, the approval process for the bug fix version seemed to be taking forever. By coincidence, my employer at that time wanted an app that seemed to fit with the TapLynx model and I was able to knock together a prototype in an afternoon using TapLynx. We polished the app a little after that and submitted it to the app store a short while later. I was sold on the framework and have been using it and building things around it ever since.
What do you like about the TapLynx platform?
I like the speed at which I can prototype ideas for clients the most. I also like that I can add functionality to particular screens without having to worry about all of those background things like the network or disk storage. The best thing is that the configuration can be modified by non-programmers so I can work with a client who knows their content and they can actually help build the application. Creating a good TapLynx app can be done for about $1500. Creating a good non-TapLynx app seems to start at $3000 and go up quickly.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?
I think the Manager Tools app has been my favorite TapLynx project because they have extended the framework in ways I hadn’t considered before. I’ve learned the most working with the CampusLynk application. They are doing interesting work with password protection and consuming lots of different types of data. As far as my favorite project overall, my Massage Therapist Notebook application is my favorite just because I’ve had the idea for years and have finally realized it and massage therapists are actually buying it and telling me it’s valuable. This project and a few other app ideas I have are what convinced me to quit my day job and write software for a living. So far I haven’t starved and my wife hasn’t left so it’s been a success.
Is there anything you’re scheming up for a new TapLynx project? We know you have some secrets, but one you can tell us about?
I’m doing some more work with my Citizen Reporter plugin. Right now it lets someone using a TapLynx app take a picture and email it. I want to extend it so that a user can post their messages directly to a news feed that can be consumed by TapLynx. I think that will add to the social networking capabilities of any app that uses it. It’s going to require setting up a web service or else writing clear instructions for people so they can modify their blog or website to process the photos. I am also working on a web interface that lets someone configure their TapLynx applications with a browser. TapLynx has the capability to download a configuration file on a regular basis and update itself. However creating that file can be difficult for some people. I think with a web interface it would be easer.