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The Buckblog

assorted ramblings by Jamis Buck

Still here...

24 October 2010 — 2-minute read

Yeah, I’m still around. Just haven’t had a whole lot to say!

I’ve been working, on the side, on an iOS app. It’s been my sole side-project pretty much since March, and in that time I’ve gone from practically zero Objective-C to proud-of-myself. My project is nearly ready to launch.

I’ve talked about it some on Twitter. It started as a web app for collecting string figures (yeah, yeah, I’m still a string figure nut). It’s now a native (and universal) iOS app. It will be called Ekawada (the Nauruan term for string figures).

As I said, I’ve learned a ton. In particular, I’ve realized how much I’ve missed compiled languages and memory management. (I’m not being sarcastic there—I’m serious. Done right, explicit memory management can be extremely satisfying.) I’d like to get back into C/ObjC more.

I’ve learned a ton about iOS, too. It really has a beautiful UI framework, even in spite of the horrendously long method names. I’m still trying to learn “best practices” (I hate that term, but you all know what I mean), and my code base is one long trail of blood and tears, but I think I’m figuring it out.

Ekawada will be available “soon”—I’m pretty much down to word-smithing and setting up infrastructure (web site, FAQ, etc). It will be a free app, featuring 8 string figures of varying difficulties, as well as 8 tutorials to get you up to speed on the notation I’m using. (It’s the ISFA standard notation, if you’re curious.) If the 8 figures are enough to whet your interest, there is a store in-app that lets you purchase “packs” of additional figures. Initially, there will be 5 packs available, each with 19 or 20 figures, and each available for $0.99.

I hope to add additional packs after launch, though they will cost more. The initial set of figures uses the (public domain) illustrations from Caroline Furness Jayne’s String Figures and How to Make Them, but figures I add from here on out will have to be illustrated by yours truly, and that takes a lot of work for an artistically challenged left-brainer like myself!

I’m really pleased by how Ekawada is turning out, and I hope by making the core application free that more people can be introduced to string figures. If you’ve got an iOS device, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement!

Reader Comments

Congrats Jamis – sounds like a really cool idea (I remember played with those as a kid) along with the two-player clapping games.

Thanks David. I was the same way, and it’s been fun to rediscover these games as an adult. One of my hopes for Ekawada is that it can tempt people like yourself (who played string games as a kid) into trying them again now!

That’s an awesome app idea, I remember spending a lot of time trying to do basic figures as a kid (and not getting very far).

I’ll keep an eye out for it, hope it does well!

Aloha, I’ve been waiting for this app. I keep searching the iphone store for apps on string figures and none to date. Mahalo for your work. Can’t wait to play with it.