R.I.P iGreekNews & iMe

I hate good-byes but this one is long overdue. Yes, I have decided to let iGreekNews and iMe die, and withdraw it from the App Store. It has been a long and exciting journey, however, one must know when to say good-bye and take down one of the most successful applications released some years ago.

A little history lesson:

iMe was released in the Middle of 2008, and it was the first all-in-one application that handled passwords, credit cards, and images, all combined in a single application, and protected under a master password. I used a Core Data database (which at the time was very new to iOS), and an HTTP REST client to transfer data from PC / Mac to the device and make backups. Remember, there were no APIs that allowed us to transfer files from and to the device without using iTunes. The user could store images on the device either by selecting it form the image library of the iPhone, either by taking a photo with the device’s camera. I remember doing some really breakthrough work to make the embedded camera work and crash the application, considering that the free memory that could be used by an application on iOS (iPhone 3G) was 4Mbytes, and just ¬†using the camera API needed 6Mbytes of RAM! iMe was my first application on the App Store, and I kept it up until now, but I had left it unattended.

iGreekNews was released at the end of 2008 for the iPhone, and it was the first premium RSS reader in Greece that was functioning the way it did. It featured asynchronous background download, a fluid UI, a database for favorite URLs and articles, and a big list of the most known news sources in Greece. In later versions, support for viewing the Greek Newspaper covers was added. in 2010, iGreekNews HD was released, which was a complete rewrite of the original, developed exclusively for the iPad. iGreekNews stayed to the top of the Greek App Store for 3 months, and another 1 month after the feature with the newspaper covers was added. It was the most fully featured Greek news application that existed, and it still remains actively used, even after so many years.

These applications signified my introduction to the application development industry, and brought me into contact with many people wanting an application for iOS. However, now it’s the time to officially end support for them. You see, APIs change, URLs change, and life is moving forward.

I have stopped developing iMe years now, and the one feature I wanted to implement badly could never make it public. I wanted to use AES-256 encryption inside the application. That would require an enormous amount of beaurocratic work in order to acquire the license to do that (yes… Apple) and would also require a lawyer, rendering a 21-year old (that was my age back then) completely unable to proceed. I was disheartened by that fact, and I guess I felt I could never make the application complete if I couldn’t implement this feature.

iGreekNews is a different story. Inside the application I have inserted a list of supported news sources and locations of their feeds. However, things are moving fast forward, and many of the URLs supported were changing 2-3 times / year. This has caused the need to update the application often, and maintain the application myself, trying to find out each day what links have changed, to what, and also find new URLs. Add to that the procedure for re-packaging the application, make necessary changes¬†every time Apple changed APIs and rules for the App Store (very often, that is). At some point, URLs would die because their owners would be closed, so later versions of iGreekNews would have to be released without those links inside, which caused frustration to users who didn’t know that the companies have closed, and I had to explain them.

Time has passed, I left Greece, I have come back, I have a job (2, actually) which pay much more than what iGreekNews is paying. My time is really limited, so I had to make a choice: Either I would remake the application for iOS 7 (it needed a complete overhaul) and continue to support it for as long as I could, without any benefit (since I would have no new users – the sales of 2014 are really, really low), or I would take the application down to forbid any new user from paying and focus on creating new projects. I chose the latter, since it was not only the best option for me, but also for the users considering to buy the application, who would pay for something that would not be updated.

I’m sorry I had to let these applications go, but it was the time to do it. I have some exciting new projects going on, and they are going to be released in 2014. The less distractions I have, the better.

R.I.P. iGreekNews and iMe.