Matt Gemmell

CHANGER is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 1 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

NaNoWriMo for iPhone apps

development 1 min read

I had an idea a week or two ago and it received a fairly positive response on Twitter, so I thought I’d post it here and invite feedback.

You might be familiar with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind it is that you sign up, and during the month of November you write a 50,000-word novel. The aim, of course, is to get those who want to write a novel to just get started, and to provide motivation via an artificial deadline. It seemingly works pretty well, and many such works of fiction are produced each year.

It occurred to me that we could do a similar thing for iPhone applications. I think that a month is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to create a cool iPhone app, and it could be a pretty interesting community event.

I don’t have many firm details in mind, but my feeling is that we’d relax a lot of the rules of NaNoWriMo, such as the one about having to start from scratch (notes notwithstanding) at the beginning of the month, and also the word-count verification at the end. I think that our goal would be to each get a new iPhone app (previously begun or not) to 1.0 by the end of the month - though not necessarily onto the App Store, of course, since there are many possible delays involved there.

All participants would naturally already be registered iPhone developers, though not necessarily with development certificates yet (you can do a lot of your development purely with the Simulator). We could potentially create a relatively simple site where we could all sign up, post progress updates (with details and/or screenshots if you didn’t want to keep your app secret, which would of course be fine too), and just generally all try to push through the month together and get something ready for release.

The NDA would mean we couldn’t have technical/developer support discussions or such, but we could at least have some sort of social angle to it; maybe forums or an IRC channel or something, bearing in mind the constraints on what we could discuss.

So that’s the basic idea. Let me know your thoughts, and maybe we could set something up. It’s already the middle of August so I don’t see this happening before the start of October or so, but I’d love to hear feedback on schedules etc too.