Issue #43: Countdown Bar by Aleksander Popko

CountdownBar is a Mac menu bar app designed to assist you in tracking the days leading up to your next significant event.

Today, we're taking a look at CountdownBar by Aleksander Popko.

CountdownBar is a Mac Menu Bar app designed to assist you in tracking the days leading up to your next significant event.

We all anticipate specific occasions, be it holidays, weddings, birthday parties, a new job, or simply a weekend getaway. So, if you're in the business of counting down to an important date, this app is perfect for you.

Not only does it count down the days remaining to a specific date, but it also tracks the days since past events.

You can organize events into sections, choose which event is displayed in the menu bar, and easily add, remove, or edit your events. It also supports recurring events on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, with the option to skip weekends when counting days.

Available for macOS

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‌Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Aleksander Popko (@aleksanderpopko)

I'm Aleksander Popko, 35 years old, living in Poznan, Poland. I live there with my wife and two children.

I'm currently working full-time as a pre-sales consultant at Netguru. I also send a weekly newsletter about mobile app development (in Polish) - I'm also a big fan of yerba mate, kettlebells, and jiu-jitsu.

I've also developed a few indie macOS apps - Sportos, Rearview, and CountdownBar which is the one we're talking about today.

How did you come up with the idea?

A few years ago, while waiting for my wedding, a one-month holiday, and a trip to Bali, I wrote a Mac app for myself - CountdownBar.

The app counted down the remaining days until these events and displayed them in the menu bar. After returning from Bali, I made some simple screenshots, put together a simple landing page, and published the app on the Mac App Store.

There was some organic traffic, so I decided to add new features, make better screenshots, and release v2.0.

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How did you market the app as an indie developer?

To be honest, I don't focus on marketing my indie apps very much. Of course, I tried Product Hunt, Reddit, and Twitter, but what worked well in my case was organic traffic in the Mac App Store.

So, I've been mainly focused on App Store optimization. The Mac App Store is very different than the iOS App Store - less saturated with plenty of space for small indie apps.

What’s your app design and development workflow like?

My approach to working on indie apps is quite different from the professional routine we're familiar with. I work in short 20-minute bursts, scattered throughout the week at different hours due to my involvement in numerous other activities.

Design primarily involves pen and paper, along with careful consideration of the project's structure. Typically, my app design process involves creating empty classes in Xcode, each dedicated to a specific functionality.

To reduce friction, I don't use any task manager for indie projects. I just put //TODO: comments in the code. When I have a free slot, I just launch the IDE and code.

When it comes to indie development, I also tend to do things quite unconventionally. Just one Git branch, no unit tests, no CI/CD, and occasionally even testing directly on production. With indie projects, my main focus is on shipping. It's a whole different approach compared to my professional work, but it brings a lot of creative joy.

Any advice on monetizing your app and improving conversions?

In the Mac App Store, try to focus on ASO (App Store Optimization). That's the thing that's worked in my case.

If you're looking for a great primer on ASO, check out this e-book and ASO tool from Matteo Spada - a member of the Indie Watch community.

What are the future plans for your app?

The application is essentially finished. While I could potentially incorporate a few more features, I don't want to make it giant - I value that it's so small.

Aleksander has been hard at work on some new apps and projects:

Sportos - interval timer
Interval timer that turns your home workouts into great training sessions.
Rearview - handy mirror camera
Perfect camera for gamers, presentation makers & remote workers
Cotygodniowa porcja treści o tworzeniu aplikacji mobilnych. Na styku programowania i biznesu.

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Here's last week's issue in case you missed it:

Issue #42: Tyme by Lars Gerckens
Today, we’re taking a look at Tyme by Lars Gerckens. Tyme is a powerful and feature-rich time-tracking app that keeps your project times and work statistics synchronized across all of your Apple devices. The interface is designed to provide a glanceable overview of your recorded times, projects, b…

Sorry for the long break! I've also been pretty wrapped up in some new indie projects myself - check out my latest app:

Build Switcher: Local Build Caching for Xcode
Introducing BuildSwitcher 🚀⚡ BuildSwitcher intelligently caches the latest builds across your most frequented branches. Now, you can switch between these builds instantly in the Simulator without having to wait for compilation or stashing your working changes when you change branches. Say goodbye t…

The newsletter is back in full swing, and we've got a bunch of fantastic interviews headed your way!

If you have an interview coming up, check out my books Ace the iOS Interview and Practical Tips for Junior iOS Developers!

Ace The iOS Interview
The best investment for landing your dream iOS jobHey there! My name is Aryaman Sharda and I started making iOS apps way back in 2015. Since then, I’ve worked for a variety of companies like Porsche, Turo, and Scoop Technologies just to name a few. Over the years, I’ve mentored junior engineers, bui…
Practical Tips for Junior iOS Developers
The best investment for fast-tracking your iOS programming careerMy name is Aryaman Sharda and I’ve been making iPhone apps since 2015. My career has included working for a variety of companies, from a few lesser-known startups in San Francisco to well-known companies like Turo, Scoop Technologies,…

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