A CocoaCamp byproduct: disposable iPhone apps?

“CocoaCamp” is half-day conference focused on the design and technical needs of Mac and iOS developers.  To help attendees navigate the conference, an iPhone app was created and made available on iTunes one week before the event.  Besides being a great example of developers “eating  their own dog food,”  it was incredibly useful and incorporated some really great ideas.  For only a few hours…

The app began its life on GitHub in mid-July, and took a team of seven developers about two months to build.  The app’s primary feature is a schedule of sessions by hour, with the ability to drill-down into the details of any session and view contact information about the presenter:

The app also let you post photos of the event to a Flickr wall, and follow the event’s Twitter stream.  These were two great social media hooks;  the developers then took it one step farther by integrating the Bump mobile data sharing API into the app. With this integration, you could bump your iPhone with another conference attendee and swap contact information effortlessly:

When you attend a conference, the people you meet are often more important than the conference sessions.  Integrating Bump showed an awareness of this, and made the  typically cumbersome process of swapping contact information effortless.

I’d like to see more conferences offer apps (both Android and iPhone) that do similar things. It would increase the value of the conference for attendees, and likely not cost much to build.  And since apps can use REST and SOAP, conference information can be updated during the event. 

Is there a business opportunity for building “disposable” apps whose usable lifespan is measured in hours? I bet there is.

  • I am glad you like the app! Maybe other camps/conferences could fork the code, then maybe the app could have some life beyond a few hours.

  • As a member of the team that built this app, thanks for the coverage. We really did want to include as many features as we practically could that would be useful to attendees.

    I mostly wanted to note that although there were at least seven contributors to the concept and execution of the app that no one was working on it full-time, and the bulk of the work was done by three or four people working concertedly (but part-time) in the four days leading up to the app’s submission.

    I mention this mostly to encourage other people who are considering the prospect of creating event apps; it’s not a 14 man-month project 🙂

  • This is awesome! And I say this in coupled to the fact that wlamart’s supposed to carry the ipad soon… lol

  • I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post..