I began experimenting with app development in 2009, but it wasn't until a couple of years later, and a few hurdles in between, that things really started to pick up. My new hobby rapidly became a success story, with subsequent updates and new app releases. A success story not only for the additional income that have helped support my family, but also for the opportunity to learn, meet very smart people and make lots of good friends.
During all these years, a set of tools and services (both free and paid) have helped me run this one-man shop. In this blog post, I want to share a few details about them to recognize their value. Perhaps some of them can be helpful to you as well.
Here they are by category, in no particular order:
Software Development and Publishing
Xcode - Mac App Store
Apple's official integrated development environment (IDE) for macOS, iOS, tvOS and watchOS. It's actually a suite of software development tools, including simulators, command line tools, profiler, and others.
Glyphish - glyphish.com
Beautiful crafted icon sets made for iOS. They used to create icons for OS X, too, and some of them still ship with WiFi Explorer. They offer different bundles depending on your needs. I highly recommend them.
Inkscape - inkscape.org
A free and open-source vector graphics editor. I created the app icons for all my apps using Inkscape. I just wish there was a version that could run natively in macOS (it currently requires an X11 environment).
Paddle - paddle.com
A payment provider and license management platform. I use Paddle to sell my apps outside the Mac App Store with great success. There're a couple of things that need to be improved but it works well overall. Their API has been useful to automate coupon generation for educational discounts.
DevMate - devmate.com
An app development and distribution platform from MacPaw. I only use DevMate to manage app updates and analytics, even though it also offers licensing, crash reports and feedback management options. It's in the process of merging with Paddle, which should bring the best of both platforms together during the next months (hopefully).
Setapp - setapp.com
A subscription-based service for Mac applications from MacPaw. It provides access to a growing collection of Mac software from different developers for a fixed monthly fee. The standard version of WiFi Explorer is available in Setapp.
Box - box.com
A content management platform (cloud storage). I use Box to save Xcode's archives. This way, app builds are available in any of my development Macs. It also serves as a backup system.
Receigen - Mac App Store
An app that generates resilient code to validate Mac App Store receipts. I use Receigen to generate receipt validation code to mitigate software piracy and to automatically activate non-Mac App Store copies of WiFi Explorer for users who already own the app from the Mac App Store.
RB App Checker Lite - Mac App Store
An app to check code signatures. I use the app to check if my apps, including embedded frameworks, are properly signed before making them available for download.
A (legacy) Apple app that creates .pkg installer bundles for installing applications using the Installer application. There are other modern ways to create these installer bundles, but PackageMaker works for me, so I still use it in combination with some scripts I wrote to automatically create and sign the installers.
Bitbucket - bitbucket.org
A distributed version control system for teams. I use Bitbucket to host my Git code repositories for all my apps and related files, and for keeping track of bugs, enhancement requests, etc. using their issue tracking system. Bitbucket offers a lot of great options for collaboration but I don't use them since it's only me.
GitHub - github.com
A web-based version control repository and Internet hosting service. I use GitHub for hosting a few open source Python scripts, such as WiFi Explorer Pro's remote sensor script and a script that anonymizes 802.11 Layer 2 information found in capture files. Also press/media kit packages.
AWS S3 - aws.amazon.com
Everybody knows Amazon Web Services (AWS). I use S3 (their cloud storage solution) to distribute app installers and updates to the vendors database file that WiFi Explorer and WiFi Signal need to resolve the device manufacturer using the access point MAC address.
Education and Training
Wireless LAN Professionals Conference - wlanpros.com/thewlpc
A “vendor neutral” conference that is focused on sharing knowledge, resources, and building relationships. I've attended the last 3 US conferences and it's been an awesome experience. It's given me the opportunity to meet many of my customers face-to-face and more importantly, receive their feedback and support.
CWNA, CWAP and CWSP Official Study Guides
These are great books from David D. Coleman and David A. Westcott that anybody can use to learn about Wi-Fi. I've used these books to study but also as a reference for many of the features implemented in my apps.
CmapTools - cmap.ihmc.us
A concept mapping software developed by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Concept maps are diagrams that can be used to capture, organize, and represent knowledge. They include concepts, usually represented as circles or boxes, and annotated lines that connect and specify the relationship between them. I've used CmapTools to build a collection of concept maps to answer the question: How do Wi-Fi networks work?
Drupal - drupal.org
A free and open source content-management framework. I use Drupal for my website, which includes the product pages, blog and contact form. It works well but I don't think Drupal is for everyone. If you have the time and energy, go for it, otherwise, I'd recommend something simpler, especially for single-page static websites.
Google Analytics - google.com/analytics
Website analytics pretty much. It offers a bunch of metrics but I'm only interested in a few of them. Integrates with Drupal via a module.
Appfigures - appfigures.com
A mobile app analytics and insights platform for mobile app developers. Appfigures can retrieve information from many app stores, including the Mac App Store. I use Appfigures to keep track of downloads, revenue and user reviews for WiFi Explorer (MAS version) and WiFi Signal. It has a simple, well-done mobile app for quick access to analytics. It can also automatically translate user reviews, which is useful.
Gimp - gimp.org
A free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing. I use Gimp to create custom app screenshots for the Mac App Store and other art needed for marketing. Not an app for everyone either. You need to know some basics about image retouching and editing.
Disqus - disqus.com
A blog comment hosting service for web sites and online communities. I use Disqus with Drupal to capture and manage comments on the pages of my website. I can moderate and reply to comments via email.
Twitter, Slack, Facebook, Linkedin, Skype
Different platforms for all my social media needs. From all of them, Facebook is the less effective (pretty much useless). Twitter's been of great value for me. Slack works as an alternative messaging platform. Linkedin is good too, but I find the website very busy, lots of stuff going on. I've used Skype to give a few presentations to customers and for podcast interviews. No complains there.
Mailchimp - mailchimp.com
A marketing automation platform and an email marketing service. I use Mailchimp for email campaigns. It was of great value to build a beta testing group for WiFi Explorer Pro.
Teespring - teespring.com
A platform for custom apparel. I've used Teespring to offer a t-shirt with the Airtool logo. You can offer your t-shirts (and other products) with a few clicks. I just wish they were not that expensive.
Sticker Mule - stickermule.com
An online sticker printing service. I've used Sticker Mule to print WiFi Explorer and Airtool stickers. Same as Teespring, a few clicks and you're done. Great service and quality.
Quickbooks - quickbooks.intuit.com
The accounting software package developed by Intuit. They offer a Self-Employed version that you can manage online. It keeps track of all your business-related expenses and income. You can also give access to your accountant for tax return preparation purposes. By the way, do you have an accountant? If you don't, find one now. That's the best advise I can give you.
This is not a complete list but it covers most of the tools and services that have been useful to me. There might be other (better) ways to do stuff, but sometimes is more about finding the time to explore different workflows. Thanks to everyone who builds these tools and services, especially those offered for free. It's not easy and all do a great job.