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Newest Version of TapLynx is Live: iAds Now Available

February 23rd, 2012

Today is an exciting one here at TapLynx! The team here in Colorado has officially released TapLynx 1.5, the most up-to-date version of the framework. Not only should most of the bugs we’ve had reported now be fixed but we’ve also integrated iAd capability into TapLynx! This was the biggest request from TapLynx users when we acquired the framework and we’ve been working hard to make sure it was included in this release. You can download 1.5 here.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. Our support team is here to help you out.

 

Application Spotlight: PsychExplorer for iPad and iPhone

February 7th, 2012

We are big fans of interesting informational apps that make keeping up with a field we’re really interested in more, well, interesting. One of our favorites we’ve seen deployed by a TapLynx customer is PsychExplorer. The PsychExplorer app was developed for both iPad and iPhone and features an easy-to-navigate stream of information and updates about the field of psychology. Even better, it is being used as an educational tool for students across the globe. Last week we chatted with the app’s builder and visionary, Michael Britt, to learn more about PsychExplorer:

How did you get into the world of developing apps?

I built my first app in 2008 and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I got caught up in the whole app frenzy thing.  It seemed like it would be a cool thing to do.  However, there were other – in my case educational – reasons.  My podcast and blog is education focused and I found that after a year I had one very popular video episode.  It was getting a lot of positive comments from students who were saying how helpful it was to them for their tests.  So I started to think that it would be cool to take the idea behind the episode and expand it out and put the information into an app that students could carry with them and have with them just before their test – right outside the class door even.  So at that time I put the idea for my app on eLance.com and I found someone who tried to build it.  It didn’t work out so well, so I had to find another freelancer to re-build it.  Finally, I decided to build on my own on TapLynx. I learned a little about how Xcode works (but believe me, just enough to get the project done) and then went through the unbelievably complex Apple provisioning process for a non-coder, but finally got the app in the App Store.  It was tough, but rewarding.

Why PsychExplorer? What is the idea behind the app?

I learned a few things from my first app experience: 1) my first app was way too “nichy” – the app would only appeal to a certain audience who happened to have an iPhone and who knew that the app existed and who remembered to buy it at the one time in their lives when they needed it.  Obviously it didn’t sell very well, but the feedback was encouraging.  So I wanted to make an app that would have broader appeal.  I turned to the old (but very useful question): what do people really need?  What problem could I solve with an app?

One of the problems in my field (psychology) is that there is so much news, research, opinion, etc., being pumped out daily that it’s very hard for a psychology professional, teacher or student to keep up with it all.  Over the years of doing my podcast – The Psych Files- I had identified what I considered to be the most credible sources in the field of psychology – credible news sources, credible bloggers, podcasters and twitterers.  These were they ones I turned to for info and ideas for my podcast episodes.  Of course, I was way too busy with family and work responsibilities to create an episode out of every good piece of news so I had to pass by a lot of potentially interesting news items. Then I thought: if I’m having trouble keeping up with all this news, so is everybody else in my field, so why not create an app in which I share all this news?  Essentially I had, over the years, curated all these great news sources.  Now if I could only create an app that I could constantly update and which would update itself as well since a lot of my sources had RSS feeds.  That’s when I heard about the TapLynx framework.  Taplynx is perfect for a curation project.

How do you people use PsycExplorer? Where do you see the most user engagement with the App?

The feedback I’m getting is that people use PsycExplorer exactly as I intended: to keep up with the field of psychology.  Professionals are able to skim the latest news, teachers are finding useful ideas for lectures and they’re finding videos they can show in class. I personally choose every video. When i find a good video on YouTube I add it to one of my YouTube playlists, and the RSS feed from this playlist gets sent into the app.  I have to give a lot of credit to Walter Tyree of Tyree Apps for helping me customize TapLynx so that it could be set up the way I felt my audience wanted to sift through the news.  He knows TapLynx really, really well and I couldn’t have done this without him.   So I’ve got news, videos, audio, tweets: everything someone interested in psychology would want to check out available from their mobile device.

Do you use push notifications? How does the feature amplify your brand?

I absolutely want to get push notifications integrated into the app.   I feel PsycExplorer gives users only the latest and most important news, but there’s still a lot of news to get through.  Sometimes there’s a story that breaks in the middle of the day that I think all my users should know about.  I don’t want it to get lost and I’m sure my users don’t check the app every day.  I want to use push to remind them that the app is there on their phone and also to remind them of the value it brings to them –  keeping them in touch with the most important news as it happens even. It’s next in my plans.

Why did you decide to build on TapLynx?

Two reasons to use Taplynx: 1) customizability – Walter was able to organize the app exactly the way I felt it needed to be organized in order to present the information to my audience in a way I knew they would find familiar, and 2) I needed to be able to update the app immediately with breaking news.  The fact that I can do this with the Taplynx Config file hosted on my site is amazing. This allows me to see a piece of news, put it directly into a custom RSS file, upload that file to my site and have that news in the hands of my users immediately.  That’s cool.

Any other cool projects you’re working on?

I just released a test preparation and study tool app called Psyc Test Hero for iOS and Android apps.  This is another educational tool, so of course it won’t be an Angry Birds.  Unless you’re making game apps I think the only way to make your money back on apps is to have more than a few out there.  You also have to get the word out that your app exists. My podcast is absolutely essential for that piece. Now I’m just waiting for TapLynx to make an Android version!

Ask Dr. Laptynx: My App is Loading Slowly

January 17th, 2012

Welcome to Dear Dr. Laptynx, a new series we’re launching that answer some of the most common questions we get from TapLynx builders. You can always feel free to ask the Doctor questions by emailing [email protected] Please make sure to include “Dr. Laptynx” somewhere in your subject line.

Dear Dr. Laptynx-

Recently, I’ve been feeling like my app has been behaving oddly, it seems like the views are empty, but if I’m patient, I can tell they’re just taking a long time loading. What’s wrong? Can you help?

Slow in Sonoma

——-

Dear Slow,

Yes, of course Dr. Laptynx can help. Lie back on the couch and tell me when you first started having these feelings. Was it when you added too many feeds at once, or when you used large images? These are the two main causes of these symptoms.In both cases, the problem is generally that the poor little device is getting overwhelmed with data on the network. Trying to load from many feeds all at once, or having large images in the app can quickly use up all the available network bandwidth, and slows all loading to a crawl.

The solution is to use fewer feeds (maybe you should have two apps instead of just one?) and make sure your images are sized appropriately for mobile.What is that appropriate size? Well, even the nicest iPhone 4 screen only shows 640 x 960 pixels at one time, so remember that, and also realize that its one thing to send one 100K image over a 3G wireless network, but 10 of them suddenly approaches a megabyte and soon you’re going to be completely filling your connection.Someday, hopefully medicine will have a cure, networks and processors will be faster, and software will be improved.

Until then, take two apps and call me in the morning.

I’ll bill your insurance.

Dr. Laptynx

Application Spotlight: inSW1

January 9th, 2012


Here at TapLynx, we keep throwing out the thought that TapLynx would be the perfect tool to get apps out there that help people better navigate their communities. Whether they’re neighborhood or city centric, we love the idea of an app that tracks what is going on nearby. Recently, we discovered inSW1, a perfect example of a beautifully built neighborhood app featuring the Victoria neighborhood of London. Last week we spoke with Gareth Creaney, the designer of inSW1, to hear more about one of our new TapLynx favorites:

What inspired the idea behind inSW1?

London and the SW1 area are steeped in history and culture. Businesses have collaborated as the London Victoria Partnership to protect, enhance and promote the area. 2012 is the year of The London Olympics and Queens Diamond Jubilee where London will see a huge increase in visitors and media attention. The inSW1.com aspires to provide information & support to help improve the area and assist growth through a wide range of business and visitor support services. London starts here!

 

What’s your favorite place in the Victoria neighborhood?

I’m from a small village in Ireland which is worlds apart from the hustle & bustle of one of the world’s busiest cities. I do get to travel to London frequently though. Victoria is at the heart of London’s numerous tourist attractions. You can see major London musicals including Wicked and Billy Elliot at theatres in Victoria. London Victoria Station, the Victoria tube line and the area of Victoria in London were all named after Queen Victoria, the longest-reigning British monarch.

 

There’s also The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Changing the Guard, Westminster Abbey but my most recent favourite has to be a visit to the Churchill War Rooms where the books and charts have remained exactly where they were left at the end of World War II in 1945. My granny also witnessed the bombing raids on Belfast from the house where i grew up which became known locally as The Belfast Blitz.

 

Why did you choose to build your app on TapLynx?

The decision was easy really: I reviewed a number of products and online services over a couple of weeks. The way in which TapLynx consumes RSS feeds really complemented our website content management system incontrolCMS. As our customers updated their website the app was also pulling down this new information in real-time. We could also connect all their social media outlets through the app incorporating latest news, audio, video and image galleries. We built the app in a few days and submission through the appStore was painless.

The app is native and can be extended through plugins which I’ve also incorporated. For example, A feedback tab where the user can email a pic from their phone to the team @inSW1, an audio player for streaming radio & mp3, a web view which enables us to call web pages directly within the app & the list goes on ….

I’m really looking forward to the latest release which includes iAd support and we’re working on an iPad app right now using the TapLynx framework for iPad. With TapLynx, so much can be achieved in a very short space of time.

 

TapLynx Frequently Asked Questions

January 6th, 2012

The team here at TapLynx is here to help you build. We’re also here to help you learn more about TapLynx as you make the initial decisions about building your app. Here are a few commonly asked questions about TapLynx that may help you along the way:

Can I sell my app on the App Store once I’ve built it on TapLynx?
Once you purchase a TapLynx license, you own your app. This means if you want to sell your app on the Store, you’re free to.

How do I get the money when I charge for my app?
This is all managed through your Apple Developer account once you’ve published your app in the Store.

How many apps can I publish per license?
Each license works for one app only.

Do I need an Apple Developer account?
Yes, you need a Developer account to publish your app to the App Store. If you want to distribute your apps for internal company purposes only, you’ll need the Apple Enterprise Developer account.

Will TapLynx help me publish the app?
We are happy to walk you through the steps via our customized Support package. See the Support tab at the top of the page for more information.

Can I make multiple apps?
You definitely can. You will just need a license key for each app. If you’re developing a bulk of apps, we offer discounts. Get in touch with us at [email protected] to learn more.

Can I build an Android app too?
Right now TapLynx is only designed for iPhone and iPad apps, though creating an Android version is one of our top priorities.

Do you offer a non-profit discount?
We think the $299 price of TapLynx is an incredibly low price for an app for both non-profits and for-profits. We only offer discounts for those customers buying in bulk or who develop a large number of apps for clients.

Can TapLynx help me build my apps?
We do build semi-custom apps via our parent company Push IO. Email us at [email protected] for more information.

Big Changes at TapLynx

December 13th, 2011

A few words from Joe, Co-Founder of Push IO, about some changes in the world of TapLynx:

Greetings TapLynx Community,

I wanted to take a moment of your time to give you a quick heads-up on some big changes going on with TapLynx.

First, we’ve dropped the regular price in half for TapLynx: now its only US $299 and iPad, still in beta, is $499. We think this will help bring TapLynx to an even larger community.

Second, to help make it possible to lower the price, we’re adding paid support packages for two areas that customers often want to have someone else do anyway: assembling the app and submitting the app to the store.

We think this makes TapLynx an even better value considering the wealth of features it provides, the one-time-purchase licensing model and the ease with which you can make apps.

We’re continuing to work on the 1.5 release and hope to have an update soon, and we’re also going to be rolling out some new interesting things in 2012 that we think will make TapLynx even better for current and new users.

On behalf of everyone here, we appreciate your support of this fantastic platform, and we look forward to making you even more successful with TapLynx apps!

Thank you!
Joe

Integrating Pushes for the Holidays

November 30th, 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, not only with holiday celebrations but also in the mobile world. Mobile engagement increases a significant amount around now as users shop, travel and have more time to keep up on the news.  A recent survey done by a consumer research group noted that 48% of shoppers plan to use their mobile devices to help with their shopping. Stores across the globe are releasing special holiday shopping apps to take advantage of this significant percentage.

If you haven’t released your TapLynx app yet, this may be the time to do it. Whether you’re in development mode or your app is live, it’s not too late to integrate push notifications, powered by Push IO. Push notifications are a powerful way to engage your users this holiday season and are a good add on to any kind of app. Integrating pushes will help you stand out among the handful of other holiday apps fresh on your users’ mobile devices.

Here are a few tips from the team at Push IO to maximize the mobile shopper frenzy:

  • Mobile users plan to use their apps to comparison shop this season. If you’re a news publisher, we recommend featuring any content related to gift tips in your publication content. As soon as you publish these, push notify your users.
  • Mobile alerts drive about 1 out of 3 users in stores. It has been found almost 30% of these users will then make a purchase inspired by their pushes. If you are a store, we recommend maximizing on these sales leads with your pushes.
  • Send out push notifications about deals, specials, holiday hours and any other relevant content. They’ll be looking for updates throughout the holiday season.

Happy building this holiday season!

TapLynx Half Off for Black Friday!

November 25th, 2011

Looking to buy an iPhone licenses? Today’s your day! In honor of Black Friday, we’re offering all iPhone licenses for $299! That’s half off the normal list price. That’s $299 for an iPhone app you’ll own forever featuring customization, push notifications, social media sharing and your blogs, podcasts, photo galleries, video streams and social media streams. Head here to purchase your license for just $299.

Still in building mode? No worries. You can purchase your license while still developing so you can catch this one day offer. Once you’ve downloaded XCode4, to get started, check out this video that will walk you through building your app step-by-step. Both this video and this one will then help you customize your app. If you need more support, head on over to our Google Group and our Wiki, both maintained by TapLynx experts and our staff here in Colorado.

Happy holidays and happy building!
The Team at TapLynx

 

Maximizing Your App: Exploring TapLynx Features

November 9th, 2011


Once you’ve begun to make your App your own, TapLynx has a few features we recommend you dig into. If you think about it, any given iPhone owner typically has between twenty and forty apps on their phone. The key to an app’s success is creating a living, breathing app that reminds users it’s there among the other handful on a users’ phone. The tips below will help you bring your app to life, maximizing user engagement.

Customization

TapLynx enables you to quickly and easily customize your app. We recommend you do this out the door to be sure your branding is carrying through your mobile presence. Head to the ‘Tutorials’ page under Support on the TapLynx site to watch our ‘Customization’ videos that will guide you through personalizing your app.  Basics we recommend include streaming your social media feeds, incorporating your brand colors and images throughout and syncing up your font with your other online copy.

Push Notifications

Here in our office, we’re big fans of push notifications. We believe they are the key to keeping your app living on a static iPhone or iPad screen, not only reminding users you’re there, but also engaging them with fresh content streaming through your app. TapLynx powers content-specific pushing (i.e. a push when a new blog post goes up or a new video is added to a stream) and broadcast pushing.

We recommend you utilize broadcast pushing periodically, when you have pressing news. On an ongoing basis, we’ve found stream-specific push notifications are key to making users feel like they are shaping their experience with their app.

We advise keeping these best practices with push notifications in mind:

  • Give your users a lot of control over how they engage with pushes.
  • Don’t over send your pushes: find the balance between engaging and over-engaging.
  • Build a strategy. Be clear about how you’re using pushes.
  • Include push settings in the app so users can decide what streams they will receive.

Set up your push notifications here.

Happy building!

TapLynx Tuesday Launches

October 31st, 2011

Last week, we hosted our first TapLynx Tuesday in the office here in Boulder, Colorado. It was the perfect way to celebrate our last summer day here before a winter storm’s arrival the next morning. To kick off the first of what we hope will be many TapLynx Tuesdays, we invited a variety of businesses from around our building in to build an app over lunch. Attendees included an active industry PR business, a political campaign, a renewable energy company and a business strategy firm. The session went great and illuminated for us on the team questions you as users may have about TapLynx. Stay tuned for more info on the next event!