Spaceman Labs was founded on one principle: that we are two extremely debonair individuals capable of making extremely excellent iOS apps. Today we advance this hypothesis by introducing our flagship app, Repartee. In truth, Repartee is the app we created this company to build. We brought our iOS expertise and keen design sense to bear, and added new competencies all over the place—particularly in creating a server application to complement the iOS client.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
What is Repartee?
Repartee is the best way to plan your parties, participate in your friends’ events, and appreciate the memories afterwards. It has a slew of features, a selection of beautiful stationeries, and some really cool technology under the hood. Best of all, it’s completely mobile. Creation, hosting, attendance, sharing—it all takes place on your iPhone. (There’s a thin web client for guests who don’t have iPhones, of course.) Oh, and because we’re a startup with more dreams than business sense, it’s completely free.
Get it get it!
Sounds great, right? Before you read any further, go download Repartee here. Give it a try, then let us know what you think. If what you think is positive, do it in the form of an App Store review. It’s amazing what a big difference that makes, so please, if this blog has ever been helpful to you, consider leaving a review to be paying back the favor.
Because this is primarily a development blog, I’ll talk a little bit here about some of the cool things we have going on that aren’t immediately apparent to the end user.
- Every event needs a location. We use Foursquare’s excellent API to auto-complete venues when possible. If you’re having your birthday party at the W Hotel, you shouldn’t have to type more than a few characters.
- We want to encourage our users to try out different stationeries to find the best one for their event. To that end, all the details you enter into a stationery template are saved. They’ll be applied to each new one you try out.
- Repartee is time zone-aware. If you plan an event in a different time zone, it will ask to make sure your start and end times are in the venue’s time zone, and adjust them if needed.
- Repartee invites your friends no matter what contact information you have for them. Email, text message, or Facebook—the experience for the user is the same. We handle the work differently on the backend, which no one needs to care about.
- When you select a contact, Repartee checks a secure hash of their contact information to see if they’re already on the platform. If so, they’ll receive a push notification, and we can additionally contact them through whatever means they prefer.
- Our emails have links to open on the website or in the app, if it’s installed. If you visit the site on a desktop, we provide a simple means to transfer the event information to the app on your phone, even if you’re not signed in with the same contact information the host invited. There’s a really neat flow on the app for this—check out the “Find an Event” button.
- RSVPs include notes for the host (e.g., “I’ll be a little late but I’m looking forward to it!”), and can be changed at any time as circumstances require.
- The list of invites color-codes guests by RSVP status. The host can mark individuals as VIP by tapping on their photos.
- When VIPs arrive, the host will receive a push notification.
- If guests take photos at the event—same time and place—they’ll be allowed to turn on auto-uploading for a huge ease-of-use boost. They do get to review which existing photos will go up when they turn it on, and can deselect embarrassing ones.
- Repartee tries to keep guests engaged in both the event itself, and the second-screen-esque experience taking place in Repartee, through the judicious use of push notifications. This stops when they leave the event.
- The photostream is optimized for exploration. More interesting photos are bigger, to invite interaction.
- Photos can take some time to pull down on a slow network, so the data model includes a size and average color. Repartee will show a color block of the right dimensions, and seamlessly fade in the photo when it’s downloaded.
- One of our core competencies from our Roambi days is charting, which means we know exactly how much work it is to build a flexible, durable charting library. That’s why we opted to use third-party charts.
- We considered the balance of information versus privacy very carefully. The host gets to see a lot of data in the dashboard, but anything potentially embarrassing is anonymized. The aggregate charts are the fun part, anyway.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of some of Repartee’s hidden technical gems. There’s a lot more in there, and we’re continuing development at a rapid clip. Stay tuned here for bits we’ll open-source, lessons learned, and so on, as we have the chance. Even better though, keep an eye on the release notes as we push out new versions. And don’t forget to leave a review!Tweet