Friday, February 22, 2013

Want To Be Part Of Our ShakeShare App?

I hope that everybody is enjoying ShakeShare : Shareable Shakespeare, the free iPhone app (Android users, see below) that combines the best of our #hashtag Twitter games with a huge database of Shakespeare quotes and images for you to share with your friends.

How would you like to be part of it?

You may have noticed a number of quotes *about* Shakespeare appear in the app.  One of my favorites is, "After God, Shakespeare has created most."  Or, "Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate."  I searched long and hard for as many instances I could find of famous people talking about Shakespeare (that reminds me, I'd bet I can probably find Abraham Lincoln saying something positive about our playwright as well...note to self....)

Anyway, then I thought, why just famous people?  Why not anybody that loves Shakespeare?

So here's my pitch.  Hit me with a quote about what Shakespeare means to you.  It has to be relatively short, like maybe a tweet's worth (around 150 characters, tops).  I also need to know how you'd like to sign it.  Your choices are:  anonymous, your name (first/last), or your twitter handle.  I recommend the latter, since if nothing else maybe it'll drive you some followers.

I can not promise to include everything I get.  No advertising or other obvious misuses of the idea.  This is not for that.  This is for people that love Shakespeare to get a chance to tell the world why they love Shakespeare. I reserve the right to edit for formatting and space considerations.

You're welcome to leave comments here, or just email me directly. In the meantime, if you are enjoying the app I hope that I can beg the favor of requesting a review?  Apps live and die by their reviews, not just the quality but the quantity as well.  If an app only ever gets a handful of reviews and all 5 star ratings people just come away thinking "Big deal his friends and family rated it, that doesn't count for anything."  The longer an app has been in the store the more reviews it's expected to have.  So if you could please take a moment and help me boost that particular statistic, it would go a long way toward making sure the app stays alive and healthy for a long time to come!

I have a new update coming soon where I've added a metric ton of new quotes and images, so if you're quick you can get your name included in the next roll out!

What About Android?

Listen.  I hear your pain.  I carry an Android device, for heaven's sake.  Think about that. I don't even have daily use of my own app.  There's a couple of reasons why I had no choice but to roll out the app for iPhone first:

1) My day job is writing iPhone apps.  That means that all my tools are for iPhone development, and more importantly all my thinking is geared in that direction.  Much of ShakeShare was, in fact, me teaching myself a number of important things that I then applied to my full time job. To simultaneously write two apps (one I get paid for, mind you, and one I do on my own) in two entirely different technologies?  Both would have suffered drastically for it.

2) The app is centered around wallpaper-like images, on which we superimpose our quotes.  These images have to look nice at the correct full screen dimensions.  In the iPhone world this is easy because all devices are the same size (the app is not even optimized for iPad or iPhone 5, for precisely this reason).  It the Android world this is not only difficult, it is impossible.  So I can't simply port it over directly, I have to rethink how it works as well.

3) I can only stretch myself so thin.  Every project I roll out, I have to maintain.  I wish I had nothing to do all day but maintain Shakespeare Answers and Not By Shakespeare and Blank Verse (which is broken anyway) and the blog and the merchandise shop and Twitter and Facebook and multiple apps.... But I can't.  I try these things, and then I have to pick and choose how I spend my time focusing both on what people are interested in but that I can also meaningfully do something with.  Last year I tossed out a "Shakespeare Insult Kit" app for Android.  It flopped.  Literally, single digits worth of people got it.  That doesn't bother me.  But what if I'd taken twice as long to build the app for two platforms, only to then have it flop?   Twice as much effort down the drain. I have to factor such things in when I decide which projects to pursue.

The good news is that ShakeShare is highly dependent on its database, and that is device independent.  So it's not a complete rewrite.  And, so far, people seem to like and use the app.  I get a steady stream of new downloads, and try to keep producing steady updates.  I do want to do an Android version, if for no other reason than because I think that I myself should be able to carry it around!  All I can ask is your patience.  I haven't forgotten you.  I just need to find the right block of time combined with the right set of ideas about how to port it, to make it happen in a way that makes me feel like I didn't bang out a piece of junk just to check the Android box and forget about you all, you know?  If I can't do quality I don't want to do it, and I don't think you want me to either.

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