How Foundbite devs got ratings of 4.5 out of 5 from over 900 reviews
Once in a while you come across something new and Foundbite is definitely that - a unique concept that allows users to share photos combined with captured sounds.
Is it Instagram but with sound? Is it Vine but with photos? It's both. It's neither. For sure, it's a highly original app that lets users share some of the atmosphere of what they're seeing by mixing the visual with the audible. The app then adds a social element by exposing feeds of the foundbites that users have captured.
The app, the services behind it and the concept are all the work of James Mundy, a London based software developer and founder of Mendzapp Ltd who started coding when he was still at University around three years ago. James built a few apps in the early days but his app efforts are currently focused on Foundbite. I caught up with James to find out how Foundbite was born...
"Unlike sharing video, Foundbite's sharing of sound alongside photos really brings the photos to life while still leaving something to the imagination. Since we published the app exclusively on Windows Phone in November last year we've had over 85,000 downloads and more than 10,000 registered users.
We were lucky enough to win the AlphaLabs App Design Competition in 2011 and went on to get funding from AppCampus back in November 2012. I worked with a few friends to initially build the app and then started working full time on Foundbite ever since, sprinkling in a little bit of contract development work from time to time to help fund it.
We built Foundbite in Visual Studio, with the design work done in Blend and the code written in .NET. We made use of a small number of 3rd party libraries and components - for example, controls from Telerik and the ever-popular JSON.NET library from Newtonsoft.
The backend for the app is all running on Windows Azure, with the service API sitting on top of a Cloudant CouchDB database, the images and sounds stored in Azure blog storage and the website built in ASP.NET.
As well as some healthy downloads, we've had some really good ratings on the Windows Phone Store with a score of 4.5 out of 5 from over 900 reviews. With the Windows Phone support for commenting on reviews is rolling out, I've made sure that it's easy for users to contact me from the app by providing a direct "feedback" mechanism;
and this has gone as far as users reaching out and offering to help with the app work. One user took on the work of translating the app into Italian, which was great!
We've even seen a bit of app envy from other phone users...
There are millions of potential new Foundbite users on those other platforms and I'm actively working on plans to take the app first to Android and then to iOS.
I've chosen Android before iOS for a number of reasons - one of them is that Sony offered support around porting the app from Windows to Android and I can also do Android development on the hardware I've already got. I will though be buying a Mac and there will be ports to both iOS and to Windows 8.1.
I've taken advantage of the fact Xamarin lets me take my .NET skills and the code I've already built for the Windows app and allows me to use that code to port the app to other platforms. I've already got as much of the application code as possible built into portable class libraries that I use both on the client-side and the server-side of the solution and I'm aiming for maximum re-use of that code for the Android and iOS apps."
That Android porting work is ongoing with a beta slated for the coming weeks or months - as James goes along with the port, he's agreed to share the experience by writing some guest-posts for the Microsoft Developer blog recording his experience in terms of porting the app and then the response that the app gets when it arrives in one or more Android stores.
Look out for those forthcoming posts in the next few weeks. In the meantime, try out Foundbite for yourself.