From the Developer’s Desk – KoinKuLator 0.5

First of all, I humbly apologize for the scarce update. Working alone had its own drawback in a way that you didn’t have someone to kick you when you’re lazy or lacks motivation to push forward.

In terms of functionality, KoinKuLator hadn’t seen much changes from the previous version. Largely the changes were on the back-end where you, users, shouldn’t ever be bothered nor should’ve cared about. The only addition from the previous version that was readily visible is the backup/restore functionality. Now you could do a backup/restore functionality that should you wished to changed the OS and re-installation is necessary, you could do a backup to your transactions and restoring it again.

How to use backup/restore.

If you’ve been using KoinKuLator before, I urge you read the previous post on KoinKuLator 0.5 by our benevolent @mreunionlabs.

You use backup by clicking the ‘backup’ function from the settings menu. The application would prompt you to type the name of your desired backup file. Without file extension. Pressing backup button will automatically created an xml file, named with your typed name in the sdcard, under the folder called dime. Pretty rigid mechanism.

Obviously, you can’t do this unless your handset is equipped with an sdcard slot. This, of course, would propose a problem when Nexus S started to roll out this week. The ability to freely control how you do your backup/restore is currently in one of my to-do things for the next version. But again, I aim for easiness so if the process required more fields than it is necessary to fit into one screen or did not immediately obvious on the first glance, it would be long considered before the final decision was made. All in due time.

Restore, is a backup process reversed. You use restore by clicking the ‘restore’ function from the settings menu. The application then prompt you to type the name of your backup file. Without file extension. Pressing restore would search the xml file under the dime folder in the sdcard folder. This is a tremendously dumb search. It will only look in that folder and in that folder only and it was assumed that the typed filename is without extension so the application will add an xml file extension before searching. If the xml extension is *also* typed into the search field, say if you typed “filename.xml,” it will look for “filename.xml.xml” under the designated folder.

User interface.

Other than that, the visible changes are the UI. The noticebale thing was that I’m now less hesitant when showing the app to a friend, or a total stranger and even if it’s not strike you as ‘wow,’ it was, in my opinion, way way way waaaayyyy better than the previous dank black, white, and grey colors.

As with most programmers I know out there, I could confidently say that I’m a color blind. Colors, UI designs were never my thing. They say that writing is as much as learning the craft than as much as it was an inner talent. The obvious advice I get when I asked the question on “how to become a better writer,” is always within the vicinity of “just fucking write.” I’m drawing a conclusion that it wasn’t the case with designing. I had spent countless hours staring frustratingly to those “tools” arrayed in Adobe Illustrator and tried without much success, well, no success at all. I hadn’t even bothered to try Adobe Photoshop. In short, I can’t design, and I won’t be able to. Yea, double negative all the way.

However, our resident designer, @bwicaksono pointed me to and even if it won’t make me suddenly brustling with a talent that could make the best and the most sinister graphic designer guru nodded in approval, at the very least, I’m no longer color blind.

My favorite color is green. It’s something I’m not keen to admit until I realized that most of the things I bought, be it utilities, garments, or random things were almost always green. Initially, I had tried to use green as the overall theme. However, as Komutta already using green to a great effect, I had to pick another color. After playing a while in kuler, I had picked the color I’d love to call a sand paper color. Both honoring my wife’s penchant to the color orange and as a personal touch from me who had a hidden wish to become a writer 🙂

Long story short, all the colors I used on the new user interface is the result of playing with using the sand paper color as the base color.

Next development phase.

I’m eating my own dog food and I’ve been using KoinKuLator for nearly six months now and I think I had an inclination to where the app is headed. I want to make it fast to use so you could use it while standing on the counter, and with one hand.

Other than that, I aim for enough solution to personal finance. I’ve been looking into various personal finance apps in iOS or Android, tried them a bit and mused on some of its best functionalities (according to yours truly here, obviously), and tried not to do too much that was overwhelming you, users. The best app so far that I had tried was Money 4.0 for iOS. It’s not free, though, but at $5.99 you’d get perhaps the fullest solution for personal finance app. However, I had an inclination that this particular app was meant for small businesses or accounting-savvy individuals. I married an accountant, and I was overwhelmed by it during the first trial run but it was the best app for personal finance that I’ve tried although being an ordinary Joe, the app wasn’t for me.

Of course, I’m still using KoinKuLator and aim for satisfiable personal finance solution without too much overwhelming the ordinary Joes and Janes.

Thanks, and stay tuned in this blog and @mreunionlabs twitter accounts for updates on this and other Android apps we’re baking in our kitchen.

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