Inspired by the great show put on at the App Run, I dug into the coding action and I started making my first app. One of the things that annoyed me often with my current phone was the endless barrage of notifications, calls, tweets, Facebook messages, emails and texts that made my phone a constant attention sink. Putting it in Airplane Mode was often the only way I could get it to stop and focus on what ever I needed to do. (Yes, I know I could put it in complete silent mode but that doesn’t help very much when your phone also doubles as your source of time.) As a result, I developed a rather simple app with the sole focus of helping you focus (haha). The idea being for a certain period of time you want your phone is silent mode but you don’t want to forget it in that mode. The Focus App lets you press a button which pops up Airplane Mode and then reminds you in a configurable amount of time to turn it off again.
Overall, development time was not very long, no more than 6 hours. The combination of expression studio and visual studio, freely given away to students through DreamSpark, made designing and developing the app a breeze. I do not have much to complain about except for my annoyance with Microsoft closing the OS so much, apps cannot actually change settings around without prompting the user. This caused my app to add an extra step for the user before actually turning on Airplane Mode. The limitation makes total sense but there has to be away to open that up a little either through some sort of permissions dialog or some exceptions for apps. The other annoyance was how long it took to certify the app, I guess a week is acceptable and, perhaps, I was too excited to see it published, but shorter turn around times are always better.
The focus app is ad-free and has no cost. You can find it at this link. Happy downloading and let me know if you find any bugs.