Posted in coding, project

To Code or Not to Code?

When it comes to building a complicated app full of exciting little things there are a couple of things that have to be thought about and are fundamental to the creation of such a project: time, money and ability.

When I set out on this project, the plan was to be able to learn coding in a comprehension and clear way before I got started with assignments and other fiddly little things that life throws my way this time of year. Sadly, because I was off being awesome in London, I wasn’t able to do that and so that great enemy Time has become precious and fleeting.

Do I have the time and the ability to be able to code the app the way I wanted to, from the ground up? I’m not sure. I’m really, really not sure.

So this throws some rather large spanners into already complicated works.

I’ve been advised that I don’t reeeeeaaallly have to build the app. As long as I put together a full, comprehensive development plan and bible (which could be anything up to 100 pages) then I’ve got a pretty good start, as well as developing networks with guys who already build apps and may be able to help me out in that regard. Which takes a weight of my mind, but equally makes me a bit sad inside.

Equally, there is a chance for me to build the app in a simple, stripped back and non-code-requiring way. Maybe. That’s still only a maybe. And although it means that if I could use it then I could genuinely have a working prototype to show people (which is amazing), there’s a part of me that feels like it’s a bit of a cop-out and that I’m sacrificing some key interactivity features for the sake of making things easier on myself.

It’s a difficult one.

I’ve decided, therefore, to go back to the start of this post and plan things as such: If I have TIME, I will code. If I don’t have time, I will consider MONEY. If I have some time and no money, then I will build according to my ABILITY of using a simpler program, with projected future possibilities built into the development plan. If I have ALL THREE, well, then I am going to attempt to code the shit outta this thing.

Is it just me, or does my plan sound like I still don’t know what I’m doing…?

Posted in project

Return of the App

Guess who’s back? Back again.

Jen is back. And so’s the app!

Some may have noticed I’ve been away from this side of things as I’ve been working on a lot of other projects and the like for the past couple of months. My apologies. But the good news is I am back and ready to rock and roll with this baby!

Couple of things to point out before the blog posts return to their app-related goodness. First one is that the YouTube channel is probably stopping now. I, sadly, just don’t have the time to film them along with everything else going on and so it is on hiatus for for forseeable future. I’m still carrying on with book reviews and insights, but as I’ve said in a previous post these will be restricted to the new site: adventuresofabookreader.

Second thing is that the app has evolved a bit and is changing. Also, it may be the case I won’t be able to develop the app itself, i.e. the actual coding of it. This is unfortunate, but again, with time restrictions now in play, the possibility of me learning a whole new medium might just be too much of a stretch. This, however, is only a possibility. I will of course keep you updated.

But the most important thing is that the app is a go, and I’m really excited to get stuck straight back into it and working on it. Hope you’ll follow me for the ride!

Jen x

Posted in project

A Question of Copyright


One thing that’s been at the back of my mind throughout this project is the idea of copyright; and it’s the complexity of this is one of the greatest hurdles this app faces.

The simple fact of the matter is, that I don’t have the resources to purchase the rights to all of the books I will be referencing in the app. Ideally, that’s exactly what I’d do, and it would allow me to create an e-reader kind of app, where users can fully explore the books. But that would cost me a huge amount of money and would require a level of rights acquisition I just don’t have.

At this moment in time, my hope is that, as a kind of demonstration of what the app could be, just having extracts up to the legal copyright limit will be enough. By picking out key sections of the books, I’m hoping to satisfy the needs of the apps remit (engaging the LGBTQ community through literature) and keep me out of some legal issues!

A couple of the books are out of copyright, however. The Picture of Dorian Grey and Orlando are old enough that obtaining right isn’t an issue, so it’s entirely possible I’ll be able to enter these books in their entirety.

On a side-note, I’ve also thought of including a buy-it link on those extracts of the books I can’t get rights for. On the one hand, this means that users can purchase the books if they’ve enjoyed what they’ve read, but on the other I feel like it’s entering into some kind of relationship with retailers, and delivers a consumerism to the app that I don’t really want. It’s a conundrum.

All of this is still on the understanding that I’ll be able to code the app in the first place…

It’s something I’ll continue to think over, maybe do a bit of research when I have the time, and I’ll let you know what I decide to go with.

Posted in project

Where Have I Been?


Hi there! Almost didn’t recognise you, it’s been so long since I was around these parts. Allow me to explain a little:


And yes, I was feeling pretty ill when I filmed this, so I accept I look flipping awful. So far, this is my most watched video on Youtube, which is kind of exciting. I’ll hopefully be filming again this weekend, so keep an eye out.

There’s a few other important things happening with regards to the app and how I’m going to be working things on here.

First and most importantly is that I have absolutely no time to learn any coding of any kind right now, and probably won’t for the next five weeks. Although it’s pretty tough to admit it, this is just the way things are. So, realistically, this blog won’t be following my coding adventures for at least another two months – which is when I get back to university and can see where I am and take it from there. I really want to continue with creating this app, but there may need to be logistical alterations. I’ll keep you updated when I know what’s happening.

Secondly, is that I’m aware how literature-/book-heavy this blog has become now that I’ve set up the YouTube around books. With that in mind, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be setting up a separate blog full of bookish reviews and general thoughts. As the app is on hiatus until September/October, it means that my main focus will be on the new blog, rather than on this one. I will keep them connected in some ways, but it seems to make more sense to keep these two things divided, rather than all lumped into one. This blog was designed to explore me setting up the new app, not reading books, so I’m going to stick to that.

Thanks for following me so far on this adventure, and hopefully I can update yoou again soon with how everything is coming along.


Posted in project

Looking Book-y

Hi everyone!

As you may have noticed lately, there’s been a lot of focus on the literature and book side of things lately, rather than the coding. Well, that’s because I haven’t been learning any new coding stuff. It’s been a bit of a stressful time, and so I decided to focus my energies on continuing the project through a medium that would give me a chance to have fun and take a breath. That’s not to say the coding element isn’t fun, but it is very demanding and tough on the old noggin when you’ve never learned anything like it before.

I am hoping to return to learning Swift and Xcode in about two, maybe three weeks’ time, once I get back from my work experience away. I’m hoping to do this with the market research stuff as well, as that’s also ended up on the back burner. This is still just a possibility, however, as I have an interview for another internship, and that might just blow all my plans out of the water! We shall have to wait and see.

That being said, with the book-elements I’ve been focusing on lately, do you think I should make that a separate blog? Would you rather the two elements become slightly more independent of one another, rather than the integrated format it is now? Let me know in the comments and I’ll look into it.

Finally, continuing with the book theme of this post, my YouTube channel has a few more uploads now, including a wrap up of all the books I’ve read this month, so feel free to check them out and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel if you want to stay up-to-date. I’ve filmed some more reviews and they’ll be going up in the next week!




Posted in project

Project Progress

For the project as a whole, there have been a few things I’ve been working on.

Firstly, I’ve started putting together the market research plan, so I can begin to get a better idea of how I can tailor the app to an audience. There’s still a lot to do in that regard, but one of the first things that has come up is that there is very little out there that matches what I’m trying to do, at least in general terms. I may have to start investigating specifically if I’m to find anything that’ll help me. However, if I have managed to find such a niche that there’s nothing similar I’ll have to think really carefully about the marketing of the app at a later date. It’s one thing to create something that hasn’t been done before, but it’s not going to do well if no one can find it. All of this will be rolled into the research plan.

Secondly, I’ve been able to start my social media anthropology course this week. I’ve completed the introduction, and so far it’s thrown up a couple of interesting insights. As it progresses, I’m hoping it’ll deliver a lot more depth of information. If you’d like to join me on the course and find out more, it is free and you can sign up here.

The YouTube videos aren’t doing too badly, but I still need to sort out some things. Now that the picture quality and sound is better, it’s a question of getting the editing right. I had some serious problems with it all last week (hence me doing the whole thing in one take!) but I should be able to amend that and have a better video on Monday.

So, so far so good. I’m definitely finding this side of things as a more comfortable space than the coding. I’ve been getting gradual project-management experience over the past couple of years, so this seems easier than learning something I’ve never even contemplated doing before. Let’s just hope I can maintain it as the year goes on!

Posted in project


After a flurry of activity last week getting myself set up with the app, it’s been a bit quieter lately while I work on other things (and take a bit of a rest). But I’m still thinking about it, and still working on it.

I’m building up a pretty strong library of books at the moment that I’m hoping will go into the app. I’ll be posting a video soon of the books I’m looking at, so keep an eye out in the next few days for that.

I should also say, that I mentioned an Xcode app. Turns out I was mistaken and there isn’t one. Apologies for any confusion on that. The only apps I can find relating to Xcode are tutorials, and they’re out-of-date for the version I’ll be using, so I’m sticking with the YouTube videos.


I want to have several streams of development going on, so that I have a variety of things to do that will ultimately result in the app’s creation. This means that as well as learning code and putting the library of books together (which will involve reading them!) I’m going to start the market research.

This seems pretty important at this early stage, so I can integrate my findings into the project development. Finding out what other apps are out there and are being used – and are successful – will be a good guide to refining my original ideas.

I admit, it’s probably not the most fun part of app development, but it’s probably the most important, especially if it is to be launched in the future. As with all things, it’s just a case of knuckling down and getting into it.

I’m going to be looking outside of the App Store for research as well. I’ll be looking at a lot of social media platforms, such as Tumblr and Reddit, to gauge audience and what kind of interaction would be most beneficial to users. This’ll give me a much better idea of demographics, and helps me target not only the content of the app, but the marketing of it too.

So this week is going to be more code-learning, lots of reading and a lot of writing research strategies and survey questions. Such an exciting life, this app-development stuff.