Interview with Jonas Andersson

How long have you been an app developer? When did you start and what companies did you work at?

Professionally I’ve been an app developer for 8 years but started developing apps about two years before that during my studies. My first developer job was at HiQ, a larger consultancy firm in Gothenburg. I stayed there for about three years and then went to work for a product company named Stratsys. Another year after that I started my own firm and have been freelancing since then.

When did you decide to make it on your own and become a freelancer?

At my first job as a consultant, I quite early realized that it was not that difficult to find assignments, and that being employed ment giving up a large portion of the hourly rate. However, after three years working for HiQ, I was not yet ready to take the step. Instead, I switched jobs. Almost one year later I finally took the step of freelancing/consulting for my own. The freedom to be able to select my own clients, the length of my vacation, my own equipment and the budget for conferences was too tempting.

We noticed that you have developed your own application/service Appmost that automates and simplifies creating iOS apps. Can you tell us a bit about Appmost?

Appmost is a framework and editor for building iOS apps. It simplifies almost all aspects of creating an app. App UI is easier to create, integrations are easier to setup and testing is performed directly in the editor. In contrast to similar solutions I do not rely on any kind of web technology. Both the editor and the resulting app are 100% native. The benefit of this is that performance is almost never an issue. Animations and UX are the same as one would expect from a custom-made native app. Advanced calculations can be performed and hardware integration just works.

The downside is that iOS and Android-support has to be made separately. Right now, I have support for a lot of features for iOS, but all features and views for Android has to be made all over again.

Appmost Features Gallery

What inspired you to create Appmost? How long did it take to have the first public version ready for use in production?

During my early career I had many different clients and every time I started a new project a lot of time were spent on building a good architecture. Also a lot of similar integrations were made over and over. It could be analytics, setting up a good networking-class or developing an efficient way to build UI. 

Since app developers are quite expensive, this would become a huge cost for the customer and may lead to them not developing an app at all. I figured that if the groundwork was made once, this would save time and money. So I started building Appmost. 

Now, a few years later I spend almost full time on Appmost. The first version was released after spending about one day a week for a year. But that version was quite limited and not suitable for commercial apps. Perhaps now, after spending about 3000 hours, it is ready for building most types of apps. 

What are your plans for Appmost?

The nearest plan is to create more customer apps to showcase the tool. After that I see two paths. Either, just release the tool and have other developers make their own apps. Or I could continue as an agency helping customers making apps, both using Appmost and the traditional way. Android is also in the near future plans. I also soon hope to be able to start employing people and speed up the progress that way.

Has Corona affected your freelance work in any way? If it has, has that given you more time to work on Appmost?

It’s difficult to say. I just transitioned away from consulting to spend more time on Appmost. I also moved more towards taking smaller assignments and in project form. I have not yet experienced any drop in incoming requests. When Corona was the most intense, I actually received more requests. Perhaps companies got more interested in digital solutions such as apps now when they faced new challenges related to Corona.

Can you show us some applications you have created using Appmost?

So far, I’ve had two larger assignments. They are both mentioned as use-cases on appmost.se. The first customer was a construction company that wanted an inhouse app that they could use for reporting.

The more recent customer wanted to develop a rental marketplace/platform for private individuals. The app is a quite good example on what you can build with Appmost. It contains a backend integration, user management, id verification with Mobilt BankID, user-to-user chat, push notifications, user-to-user payments, receipts, image upload etc.

Do you have any advice for junior app developers? What frameworks/libraries should they master?

My first advice is to start developing apps for yourself. Make an app that you yourself can use. It allows you to start a project from scratch, try new technologies and get extra experience. I would also recommend working as a consultant or for an agency early in your career. This will hopefully allow you to get experience from different types of companies and fields.

When it comes to frameworks, I would instead recommend reading up on code quality and the importance of writing readable code. Frameworks comes and goes but writing clean and maintainable code will benefit you in the long run. Clean Code or The Pragmatic Programmer are my book tips.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Hopefully having expanded with Appmost, having some employees and supporting a software that is widely used for app development. Or perhaps trying something new. I’ve made some mobile games in the past. It would be really cool to build a small gaming company. 

Where can people find you online?

People me can find me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonasand/