inessential by Brent Simmons

Show business

I can’t remember when it first dawned on me that app development is a form of show business.

But I was thinking about it when I started NetNewsWire for iPad. I remember thinking that it could be years before I get the next chance to create a brand-new app. So I decided to save screen shots of the app as it was getting built — and also to save mockups for a from-the-cutting-room-floor set.

Think of it as the DVD Extras.

There’s more I want to do — commentary, especially, on the design and coding process. The iPad is still so new, and it’s a fascinating thing, so I definitely want to write more about it. But, for now, there are screen shots. (And I have to work on my software, not just write about it.)

Of the things that didn’t make it, this is the one I wish that had made it. We’d have added Nick Harris to the credits list, since he did a ton of great work. (Many of the animations, for instance, are his work.)

<img border=”0”src=””alt=”Dedication (needed to add Nick Harris)”width=”331”style=”display:block; margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto;”height=”189”title=”Dedication (needed to add Nick Harris)”/>

This dedication and credits was going to be tucked-away in a specific feature — but that feature got cut the night before we called it finished.

The other goal

Posting these screen shots is not just about having something more to look at — there’s a little bit of a teaching goal. For at least a decade I’ve been interested in teaching non-developers what it’s like to make software.

The average person probably knows a ton more about about making movies than about making software. As much as we totally love movies, we note that software plays a really important role in day-to-day life. And yet its creation is mysterious to millions (billions, prolly) of people who rely on software.

It shouldn’t be such a mystery. It’s not magic, it’s just work. But interesting and fun work.

And it’s the closest thing to show business we geeks have. It’s how we rock.