Issue #25: Metadata for Fastlane Tools by Nicolo Stanciu
Today, we're looking at Metadata for Fastlane Tools by Nicolo Stanciu.
If you're already using fastlane to manage your iOS releases, today's app will make it even easier for you to manage and localize your app's metadata.
To maximize the impact of your keywords, you can localize your app into multiple languages. Each supported language gives you 100 characters for keywords which is particularly useful since some countries use multiple languages for indexing your app. For example, in the U.S. App Store Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Russian, and Spanish (Mexico) keywords can also be used to find your app.
With the help of the DeepL translation API, you can easily translate your app's metadata into 26 different languages. DeepL can be used for free if you stay below 500K characters per month.
Metadata for Fastlane Tools also helps you streamline your App Store release workflow by finding duplicate keywords and managing character counts across all localizations.
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Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
"Good afternoon" or now "bom dia", my name is Nicolo Stanciu. I'm originally from Munich, but recently moved to Coimbra in Portugal. Love brought me here along with the fact that I'm now a full-time indie developer and can go wherever I want.
I became an iOS developer in the year before Swift was announced while studying Media Informatics. My interest in apps started very early, but more from the consumer side. I still remember my Nokia devices where you could install apps and games and I loved them. R.I.P. Nokia.
So far, so good. Back then, I became an iOS developer and worked for a company in Munich that developed mobile apps for Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche. It was a really great time there and I got to play around with a lot of expensive cars and technologies.
After my full-time job, I wanted to spend my time developing apps for myself rather than just watching TV or hanging out. I tried many small to medium sized app ideas and they were more or less not really successful.
That changed in 2017 when NFC became available on iOS and I was one of the first to have an NFC scanner out there. Over the years, I continued to develop NFC for iPhone and every year my app got bigger and bigger until I reached a point in 2021 where I realized: Oh wow, this will make me enough money to quit my job. So, I quit my job in 2022 and am now a full-time indie developer. I'm very happy about this decision and I'm now focusing on growing my baby.
How did you come up with the idea?
I know this issue is not about my NFC app, but Metadata for Fastlane Tools kind of evolved from that. As you may know, localization of an app is a crucial factor for the growth of an app, since not everyone out there speaks English. And, it also gets you more keywords, so more opportunities to be found in the App Store. This was also my goal for my NFC app.
During this process, I experienced a lot of painful copy and paste work that I had to do to localize my app’s metadata. I was already using Fastlane Tools and realized that there is a great opportunity to develop an app. Fastlane Tools downloads your App Store Connect metadata to your hard drive and puts it into text files. These text files can now be edited and are tracked via Git. I recommend every app developer to use Fastlane for their app metadata, even if you prefer Xcode Cloud over Fastlane's Build Pipeline.
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Submit your app or reach out on Twitter 🐦
How did you market the app as an indie developer?
That's very easy: I used Twitter and the Twitter communities I'm a member of.
Twitter is a great tool to connect with other developers and since Metadata for Fastlane Tools is aimed at developers, I think I found the perfect marketing channel. To expand the app in the future, I'm thinking about targeting Android and cross-platform developers as well, since Fastlane also works with the Google PlayStore.
I also hope that the word-of-mouth effect will do its part. I know we developers love to share our ideas and tools to simplify our daily development process.
What’s your app design and development workflow like?
I'm a "just start hacking" kind of guy. I open Xcode and start a new project. Then I try to validate my ideas and see if they work. Meanwhile, I search the web for answers or use my old code and then start creating packages to make my work reusable.
To organize my work, I use Fork (a very good Git client), XCOrganizer (a cool menu bar app for organizing Xcode projects), ReMafoX (I'll explain what it is later), and Notion. For the design process, I simply use Sketch.
Any advice on monetizing your app and improving conversions?
I have recently had success with in-app events. I use them to showcase my app's features for a month, and then post those events again when they expire. They also provide more opportunities to be found in the App Store because they can be found through search and featured by App Store editors. Ultimately, it's hard to say if this is making the difference in my conversion rate, but from the stats I see a slight upward trend - you should definitely take a look at this.
What's your favorite tool in your development workflow?
It’s Fastlane and ReMafoX. But since most of the community here already knows Fastlane, I'll say ReMafoX.
This app is an Xcode extension that supercharges your localization workflow. The predecessor of this app helped me translate my app into all the languages provided by DeepL.
Once everything is set up you don’t even have to leave your Swift file anymore to get your localization in a type safe way and translated into multiple languages. The developer Cihat Gündüz and me also became friends in the beginning of this year because I sent him a tip for one of his GitHub projects. And you might now also be able to guess where I got the idea for Metadata for Fastlane Tools. ;).
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