Numu Tracker 5-star Reviews!

Numu Tracker has started getting some five star reviews. I’m super happy, and it makes me feel really validated that I thought I would be able to make this app right, in a way that wasn’t antagonistic to the user in any way. Here’s some quotes.

A must have for Apple Music

This has been the missing piece from Apple Music for me. I get notifications every time a new artist I follow releases new music. Instead of just hoping I find it in passing, this makes sure I know. It’s super reliable and easy to use. So happy with it.

Super reliable! 🙂

100x Better than…

Record Bird. Love the fact there are a variety of alerts, clean interface and my FAVORITE feature is you click on more songs by x artist!!! Can’t wait to see what new updates come.

Awesome 🙂 Best compliment I could receive.

Shines as a music reminder service

What’s really interesting and unique about this app is the ability to keep a list of music you intend to listen to, but haven’t yet. For me this has always been a distinct hole in my music listening workflow with no clear or easy answer—I don’t always want to add an album I’d like to listen to to my library, and when I do anyway because how else will I remember it, my library tends to become an unproductive mess.

This app lets you “follow” artists; when you do this, it adds all their albums and EPS to the to do list, which you can mark off manually, and when the artist releases a new piece of music it notifies you. While there have been plenty of apps that do allow notification of new music, a list of music I’d like to try that I haven’t yet is brand new and extremely useful for me.

I hope future iterations of this app leans into its unique to do list feature. What I’d really like to see is being able to add individual albums to the to do list; I’d also love to be able to Share an album or artist from Apple Music to NuMu to add it to my to do list. centering the app design on the personal to do list rather than the useless global to do list would also be a step up for me.

This is a really well done beginning to this app and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future. Not perfect yet but a great start.

Love it! I really thought that what would make Numu unique is the “to-do list” aspect of it. I’m glad that other people appreciate that and see that as a selling point.

Numu Tracker Beta Build 28 Release Notes

I’m closer to release than ever before! All I need is for PusherSwift to get updated to Swift 4.0 and I could put the finishing touches in place. How exciting!

* New user experience is much improved: All Releases tab works as it should even without an account. “Sign Up / Log In” prompt only displays when accessing account-only functions, like attempting to Listen to a release, Follow an artist, import artists, and so on. Technically you can sort of use the app without ever signing up, if you just want to look at the global releases and upcoming lists, or browse artist releases only by searching.

* New “Your Account” screen shows statistics about your account! Super cool.

* Logged out and new user filters are set to Album and EP only by default. Registered users can turn on / see additional release types.

* Informative labels on empty views explaining what will be there, or what you should do to fill the tables with information (like “Follow artists!”).

* Re-wrote “Instructions” screen.

* Normal release views now sort by date, then artist name. (Formerly sorted by date, then release title.) Artist-specific release views still sort by date, then release title.

* Overall UI improvements.

Numu Beta Build 27

Numu has a new Log in / Sign up launch screen! It’s fancy! If you’re already logged in, please go to Settings -> Your Account -> Log Off to test it.  If you want the full new user experience, please Log Off and then force close the app (from the app switcher) and relaunch it.

You can also now Follow and Unfollow artists from the Artist-specific Releases screens.

I also changed the artist screen to show a percentage of their library that you’ve listened to (by your filters). I think it’s a more effective way to represent how far you have to go on an artist.

I believe I made some other little refinements to the app in order to make it friendlier to a brand new user. It’s not perfect, but we’re getting there.

Hopefully in the next beta, push notifications will be back in and working.

Please also check out the Numu Tracker WEBSITE version at http://numutracker.com … same Numu Tracker app functionality, but in mobile website form. Also looks nice on desktop. Super beta version with no snazzy features at all though, fair warning.

Numu Website Version

Numu Tracker got a website version this week. It’s meant to have essentially all the same features as the iPhone app, but in web-form. It’s obviously in a different visual style than the iPhone app, which I know might perturb people in one direction or another. Either way, you can sign up, log in, follow artists, and mark releases as listened to. It currently has an extra feature the app doesn’t: user stats, showing you how much of your release library you’ve listened to.

There’s still some polish and refinements to be made, like I recognize that the ‘follow / unfollow’ squared-circle on artists is confusing and should probably skedaddle or get replaced with something else.

Eventually I will build in import functionality for Last.FM and Spotify. I’m also planning some “lite social” features, like allowing you to set a username so your username appears in an “activity list” that shows up on release and artist pages, like “Amiantos listened to this 2 days ago.” (Without a username it’ll display “Somebody listened to this 2 days ago.” instead.)

Numu Beta Build 26

This is the first beta build created under iOS 11 beta. If you cannot download or install it on iOS 10, I apologize. Install the iOS 11 public beta, it’s great.

I had to wipe all user accounts and listening data. I apologize. I did perform a fairly major overhaul of the database structure to improve performance in the app. In the process I switched the user login system over to using email addresses instead of usernames, which makes more sense and avoids confusion with people forgetting their usernames. I apologize, but you’ll need to re-register your account and import your artists again. I’ll never do a full data wipe in the future, so you’re safe from here on out.

The “Your Arists” screen now allows you to search the entire Numu database for artists and follow them at-will. There are still some refinements to be made here–for example: the only way to follow or unfollow artists is to swipe left on the search screen, I need to add a button to the main Artist release view to follow / unfollow the artist; there’s no on-screen indicator notifying you that you’re following an artist or not, the website version solves this problem but adds an extra layer of confusion in its implementation.

I had to temporarily remove push notification support because PusherSwift doesn’t support Swift 4 yet, and I’m not smart enough to figure out how to convert it myself.

I decided to remove references to Spotify as well as the Last.FM Artist Import menu option. I have a few reasons for doing this. First, I don’t use Spotify, so I don’t care. Second, they don’t have a Swift library, and I don’t care to figure out how to have Objective-C libraries in my Swift project, so it was always going to have to be a web interface that handled it. Third, the Spotify link grabber stopped working, so I took that as a sign. Fourth, it’s more important that I get the app out in a way that works really well initially, and catering the app toward Apple Music users is a way to ensure a positive user experience. I’m sure when I release the app there will be people calling for Spotify support and I can add it back in later. In the meantime, the website version will eventually support Spotify and Last.FM artist import, I promise you, and then it’ll make it into the app.

Numu Tracker Blog #1

Jesus Christ.

No one could have adequately prepared me for how difficult it is to single-handedly build an iOS app. Compared to the projects I have worked on in web development, iOS development so far has been around 500% more time consuming and frustrating.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. It’s just very different. I’m used to being able to just hack things out, but this is a different level. Hacking it out quickly just doesn’t work, for both sides of my project (backend and front end). On the upside, noticing problems on the front end is very easy. But for the backend, issues can pop up much later.

I cranked out the backend for Numu Tracker really quickly months ago just so I could get the app development going. I realize now that the cranking was done too quickly, and that I made a grave mistake: I only tested the import mechanism with artists that had very small release databases. Turns out this entire time I’ve only been grabbing up to 100 releases by certain artists, and depending on the size of that artist, all the releases were only albums.

I’m using a PHP library to access the MusicBrainz database, which was mistake number one. While developing the iOS app I have made attempts to avoid using third-party libraries and code whenever possible. Two reasons for doing this: I want to program these things on my own since I am learning; and I’ve found that relying on other people is generally a bad idea unless you’re paying them.

I broke this rule and ended up with a library that seems completely unaware of the fact that MusicBrainz will limit API lookup requests to 100 results with manual offsets and limits, and never noticed because I didn’t pay attention to any artists with over 100 releases. For a couple months now I’ve been running an automated system on the backend that is missing over half of Nine Inch Nails’ releases.

Furthermore my original planning of backend didn’t factor in the concept of ‘secondary types’ for releases. For example, Nine Inch Nails has several live albums. These are categorized as “Album” as the primary type, which is what I pull in. But they’re not just an “Album”, they’re an “Album + Live”. Numu Tracker is meant to have filters that allow you to filter out live releases and compilations, so importing every live album as “Album” roundly defeats this filter.

Basically, I fucked this shit up. The iPhone app is solid so far, all that stuff works fine so I don’t have to re-do any of that. But I need to rebuild the entire backend of Numu Tracker from scratch, knowing what I know now.