Sunday, February 23, 2020

Learning New Things - Deciding to Build a Mobile App

I've wanted to get back to building for fun (outside of work). I've always enjoyed software development and making useful tools. So I'd been thinking for a while about creating something that might be somewhat useful to build as a good and relatively simple mobile app to build.

Recently, I settled on building a mobile app that will measure how much gas I'm using when I drive and the cost of that gas. Something that would start out as just a very simple enough app (with some GPS/mapping, basic UI, inputting or pulling gas prices from a web service) but would be significant enough to be a project over several months (given I have a very demanding job and two young children). I also wanted a project that could be useful and could be extended (with carbon footprint, incorporating maintenance and insurance costs, etc.). The driving cost tracker app seemed to fit the bill.

In building it, one of the first choices was to pick a framework. I found the video below a good introduction to the trade-offs involved:

While I installed XCode and learned a bit of SWIFT recently, the idea of a cross-platform framework that speeds development sounded appealing as did learning a new language. So I've decided to choose the Flutter framework (and thus learn the Dart language). 

I'll be posting here as I get to learning and building my app - feel free to leave any comments about any of my design or development choices as I build!

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