Bourbon Dictionary: A Post-Mortem (or is it a Wake?)

I've just released v1.1 of Bourbon Dictionary . And now, I'm going to talk about it. So sit down, pour yourself a glass of Wild Turkey and read on.

The Origin

It was a cool night, and after a particularly onerous day at work (at the time, I was working on developing ATM software), my wife and I headed out to a local pub to visit with friends, have a pint or two, and unwind.

These times being what they are, it wasn't long before everyone had their cell phones out. Naturally, I did the same... but instead of checking twitter or facebook or email, I went to Urban Dictionary for some reason. Upon laughing at the word of the day, the group gave me a look as if to collectively say, "Well? Share the joke, dammit." 

I did share. But given my love of games and gaming, I put my own little twist on it. I read out the definition, verbally substituting "blank" for the actual phrase, and then had the group guess the word of the day. This went on for about two hours. We may  have been instrumental in other patrons getting up and moving. Or leaving. However, that's not strictly abnormal in our group.

Then I came to think that this would make a good online game. So I decided to write it.


I had been toying with various forms of technology in order to make the app. I tried out a number of different things, but didn't really do much. And then I started a new job working on html5 games. The week before I started, I decided that I should probably take some time to learn the technology at least a little. So I cracked Cordova open again and got my hands dirty. Three hours and two scotches later, I had a working prototype. Holy crap.

But that was just enough to put it in front of a few eyeballs and get some feedback and ideas on how to improve it. I went through a dozen revisions or so until I felt like it could be released. So I did.

And I screwed up.  In my defense, I was completely convinced  that Apple wouldn't approve the app in a million years. I mean, it's Urban Dictionary*. WTF.

I soft-launched it. No big fanfare, just a mention on twitter and facebook, no big deal. But I forgot one crucial thing. Apple no longer allows screenshots to be changed post-upload. I had only uploaded a placeholder screenshot. It was a terrible screenshot. I decided to persevere, leave v1.0 up, and when I got a chance, I'd write v1.1, and update the screenshots at the same time.

After all, I didn't really care that much if I made a fortune with this app. I mean, sure, it'd be nice, but I was more realistic about the state of the App Store these days. I just wanted to get the game done, and test the 'moral limits' of the App Store. Not to mention play around with javascript and html5 tech.


Post-launch advice? Check everything twice. Three times even. Have more confidence in the ability of others to surprise you. Apple sure as hell surprised me.

Also, go get the game. Have fun. Tell your friends. You don't have to drink to play the game... but it helps. 


* Sidenote: Just before I launched my app, Urban Dictionary got their own app on the App Store. If I had just searched again, I could have saved myself some grief there.