Spingredients is a Universal iOS app (iPhone/iPad) and is available here.
As a very keen cook, I'm always trying to come up with new dishes. I know what goes with what, and I know how to treat the ingredients, but that spark of inspiration is sometimes difficult to come by. That's where the idea for Spingredients came from - inspiring great ingredient combinations in keen home cooks and chefs.
Tell us about the development process
This was my first iOS app, in my spare time before I started professionally, and it was a long development! Learning Objective-C, and all the eccentricities of iOS development felt like a real uphill battle, but it all clicked a few months into the development. It's all written natively and has been through a number of major redesigns, but I'm happy with the current form - although perhaps it is due an iOS7 style makeover!
One interesting problem I had to overcome was where to get all the data from. A lot was entered manually from our own research - I wrote a PHP website for this - however most of it was generated automatically. For this, I wrote a script that used the Bing API to carry out automated searches on each of the 400+ ingredients. Logging the number of pages found for each ingredient on its own, and then each possible combination of any two of those ingredients. This generated a lot of data, and a lot of rubbish - but once it was cleaned, it became the basis for the combination ratings in Spingredients.
How do you market your app?
Like a lot of indie developers, I've tried Facebook, LinkedIn advertising and Google Adwords. I've also tried Twitter including the IDRTG group. The most downloads have come when I've been featured on blogs etc e.g. when Babble put the app in their "Top 50 Food Apps", or when it was an app of the week on CNET Australia. It's been tough finding the time or inclination to do the hard-yards of getting the app in front of people - I enjoy the creation process too much and the sales side has definitely taken a back seat - at the end of the day, getting it noticed amongst the million other apps out there is difficult.
What's next for you and your app?
An iOS7 overhaul for Spingredients, and no doubt other projects to come shortly - watch this space!
What's next in the mobile space?
Wearable tech is the big thing in the press at the moment, and it is certainly an exciting idea - once it makes it past the gimmick stage to be truly useful then it will be fantastic.
Thanks to Simon for taking the time to answer our questions. Get some variety back in your diet with Spingredient for iPhone and iPad - download it here.