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Old 31 Dec 2020, 00:41 (Ref:4025947)   #1
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TheRacingLine - Race Notifications & Calendar

https://www.theracingline.app/
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/therac...e/id1544668453

Up to date motorsport calendars for all major series world wide. Providing full season calendars for F1, WEC, NASCAR, IndyCar, and more. Race dates, race start times and customisable race start notifications means you'll never miss another race again.

- ALL MAJOR SERIES COVERED: Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula E, IndyCar, FIA WEC, IMSA WeatherTech Series, ELMS, GT World Challenge Endurance, GT World Challenge Europe, Intercontinental GT Challenge, NLS/VLN, Nurburgring 24, British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and the NASCAR Cup Series

- CUSTOM RACE NOTIFICATIONS: Get notifications directly to your phone of race start times. Customise the notification time - any time from on the green flag time, up to a week before the event - down to the minute

- TIMES IN YOUR LOCAL TIME: All race times are converted to your local time. No more trying to work out what time a race starts. Even takes into account Daylight Savings Time.

- CHOOSE YOUR SERIES: Select which series you want to see in your app. Build your own motorsport calendar by selecting the series you want, and de-selecting the ones you don't want.

- TODAY VIEW: Get a quick glance at all the races happening on any given day. Don’t miss any of the action and plan your motorsport viewing for the entire day.

- THIS WEEK VIEW: Get an overview of the entire weeks worth of racing with the 7 day look ahead of scheduled racing

- LIGHTWEIGHT: TheRacingLine is a lightweight app, designed to take up as little space as possible on your phone

- PRIVACY FOCUSED: TheRacingLine is designed with your privacy in mind. The app does not track your usage in any way and I store no information about you. Your data is your data.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Now that the sales pitch is over. One of my 2020 goals was to release an iPhone app into the wild. I started learning iPhone development in February and finally completed the app on the 23rd of December. App Store Connect closed for submissions on the 23rd and re-opened on the 27th. I submitted it on the 27th and it was finally approved by Apple and released.

I think like many here, I watch a lot of series. Like, a lot. If it has 4 wheels and an engine, I tend to watch it. Some weekends I settle down and I have an entire BTCC meeting, GTWC, F1/F2/F3, ELMS and IMSA to try and fit in. It isn't always possible, but I give it a go. And even after I find out when races are, I sometimes forget.

TheRacingLine app is meant to solve a few problems for me:

- Give me a list of races for that day with minimal effort
- Give me the race start in my time zone (no more time zone conversion!)
- Give me a notification of when the race is about to begin
- Get me the calendar for each series

The app currently lets you set visible series. So if you don't care about Formula E, you can turn that off and never see that in your list.

It also lets you set custom notifications for series. For example, you can have NASCAR races in your visible list, but you might not want notifications for these, so you can turn off notifications whilst leaving the races visible.

You can also set a time for your race notification. There's no use in a notification that pops up as the race starts. By the time you've turned on the TV or found the stream, you've already missed the start. You can configure the time to the nearest minute for any time up to 7 days before the event. I'd recommend on the day notifications, for obvious reasons.

It converts it to your time zone, and takes into account the Day Light Savings state in both your country, and the country of origin. No more trying to work out in the ELMS website have remembered to adapt the clock or not!

I've chosen the list of series that I think are the biggest and most popular ones, and the ones that are most relevant to me. However, the list is completely dynamic. I can add or remove series from the server side without needing to update the app. So if this is popular I can take series requests and add them too. As race calendars continue to change due to the COVID-19 situation, I'll do my best to update the race data and keep on top of it.

I've tried to keep the cost of this down. The top subscription is set at £2.99 a month (AppStore adjusts this for your local currency). For the price of a single Starbucks Coffee or a pint of beer, you can get a months worth of motorsport notifications to your phone. The subscription works with the Apple Family Plan. If you have kids/spouse/others on your Apple Family Plan, then one subscription gets you all the app.

In terms of running costs, there are a few bits of infrastructure this app requires to run. Not least is a host for pulling the race data, and a service for converting time zones. The running costs of the app are not insignificant, which is why it simply cannot be a free service. In addition to this, it takes me a few hours a week to compile the data for start times, on top of the 10 months of work on the app. I work full time, so this was built completely in evenings and weekends. Given all this, I think the £2.99 is incredible value.

I'm planning on adding more features to this as time goes on. First one is taking advantage of iOS14s new widgets. Also custom sounds for the notifications and more themes and icons. I'll also adapt this to working on an iPad and macOS in the future. Your subscriptions should carry over between devices too.

If anyone wants to know more about the geeky technical side of things I can post more about that. But I made a few design choices with the architecture to keep the operating costs down, which in turn allows me to keep the subscription cost down too. For example, the notifications are generated by the device rather than being pushed by a server. The down side of this is that you need to open the app once a week or so, to allow the app to pull the latest data and rebuild the notifications. The upside is it means I don't need a service to push notifications to you, keeping the cost down. The app itself requires iOS14, which is available for anything from the iPhone 6S onwards (including the iPhone SE). Unfortunately I am unable to offer it to any iPhones older than this as I use frameworks only available for iOS14.

I'm also going to explore the option of adding live weather reports for any races happening that day - I think we'd all find that useful. Unfortunately, weather data is not cheap, so it may not work with the current pricing model. If I do that there may have to be another tier added. I'm not overly keen on making this more expensive, but at the same time, I need to cover costs.

As it currently stands I'm unable to offer an Android version. I learnt Swift, which is Apple specific (Android being Kotlin, a different language), and I lean heavily on Apples frameworks for learning. It's not impossible that this could one day be an Android app too, but currently it isn't planned.

This is my first app. I suspect there will be issues and I don't expect a completely smooth rollout. But, yeah. Here's my 2020 work for you to all enjoy. 10 months. 3544 lines of code. Countless coffees. 1 app.
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Old 31 Dec 2020, 10:13 (Ref:4026014)   #2
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Old 31 Dec 2020, 13:19 (Ref:4026049)   #3
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gert is going for a new world record!gert is going for a new world record!gert is going for a new world record!gert is going for a new world record!gert is going for a new world record!gert is going for a new world record!gert is going for a new world record!
Congrats for your efforts

The feature list looks very interesting, I'm sure it will be very usefull.
(I won't be be able to comment, I'm not an Apple user)


BTW: Big thumbs up for your privacy statement.
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Old 1 Jan 2021, 19:50 (Ref:4026340)   #4
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Thank you I am rather proud of my privacy statement! Your data is your data. Please don't give my your data!

Early indications are that it is more popular in the US than I expected (I guess it's just a larger market). The app is currently a little light on US data (has IndyCar, IMSA WeatherTech and NASCAR Cup currently). So I'll address that first.

I'll add NASCAR Xfinity, GT World Challenge USA and IMSA Pilot before the seasons begin. Also looking at MotoGP, V8 Supercars. SuperGT/Super Formula, British GT and German GT soon.
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Old 2 Jan 2021, 13:28 (Ref:4026427)   #5
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Great work, well done matey!
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Old 2 Jan 2021, 21:35 (Ref:4026494)   #6
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Thank you, Ayse

An update has been pushed to sort a couple of bugs. (V8) Supercars have also been added to the app. Those on 1.0, you'll have to turn on visibility of the Supercars series in settings manually. Those on 1.01 (your app will auto update over the next day or so), it'll be visible automatically.

From now on, all new series added will appear in the app automatically.
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Old 2 Jan 2021, 22:20 (Ref:4026499)   #7
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Dani Filth should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridDani Filth should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridDani Filth should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
maybe think about an android app too
we do not like to be discriminated you know
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Old 3 Jan 2021, 11:07 (Ref:4026554)   #8
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maybe think about an android app too
we do not like to be discriminated you know
I wish it was that easy I will investigate Android more in 2021 as the iOS Version stablises I learn what works and what doesn't work. I have a set list of features I want to go in, and some stuff I need to clean up (the server side of this is still running in proof-of-concept mode, tbh), and then I'll investigate Android more.

Added Asian Le Mans Series 2021 last night. MotoGP and WRC should go in at some point this week.
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Old 5 Jan 2021, 07:48 (Ref:4026892)   #9
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Great stuff. App is now on my phone. Look forward to when / if you get Supercars online.
Another fan here of your privacy statement.
Edit: just noticed that Supercars is there already.
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Old 5 Jan 2021, 08:39 (Ref:4026902)   #10
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Great stuff. App is now on my phone. Look forward to when / if you get Supercars online.
Another fan here of your privacy statement.
Edit: just noticed that Supercars is there already.
Yes, added Supercars a couple of days ago I've had a lot of tweets saying "I'll subscribe if you add X", so that's the plan now for early 2021 is adding lots of series.

I've set the app up so I can push new series to the apps without having to do an app update. There is an exception at the moment - I need to do an app update in the next couple of weeks before I can introduce more series. I need a way of signalling TBA events (of which there is a lot) and the subscriptions need to be simplified.

As it's my first app, it was too easy to get carried away with options and stuff that don't end up being useful or relevant.

Thank you for the download! Every download is important to get it off the ground enough to cover its own costs!

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Old 5 Jan 2021, 12:05 (Ref:4026930)   #11
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Just a note, if you search for 'The Racing Line' in the app store, you won't find it. Leave out the gaps - 'TheRacingLine'


Edit - I'm just getting the opening splash screen with 'more coming soon'... Nothing else.....?
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Old 5 Jan 2021, 12:16 (Ref:4026935)   #12
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Just a note, if you search for 'The Racing Line' in the app store, you won't find it. Leave out the gaps - 'TheRacingLine'


Edit - I'm just getting the opening splash screen with 'more coming soon'... Nothing else.....?
I tried "The Racing Line" during testing, and annoyingly it's too long for the app to display on the phone. It ends up with "The Racing ...". I may need to find out how to display a shorter name on the phone than in the AppStore for searching purposes! Thank you for that.

Regarding the splash screen. There should be a button saying Get Started below coming soon. If that doesn't display then let me know (and let me know what kind of iPhone it is and I'll look into that one specifically!)

Edit: I'm going to do an update, hopefully this week but it may be next, to add more stuff to the Free tier, and remove ads from free. I don't like ads. Why should my users have ads.
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Old 5 Jan 2021, 13:15 (Ref:4026957)   #13
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OK, sorted. I installed it on my iPad, but the get started button doesn't show in landscape mode. A quick rotation to portrait and it appears......
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Old 5 Jan 2021, 13:24 (Ref:4026960)   #14
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Ahhh.

Ok so iPad is an edge case right now. I did not actually release the app for the iPad. I selected iPhone only. But Apple insists that any app released on an iPhone must be released on an iPad as well - so it appears automatically. However, it's a bit rough on an iPad it appears.

I will do a full update that makes the iPad experience better. Hopefully soon. Any subscription carries over between iPhone and iPad (no need to resubscribe), and the subscription also works on Apple Family accounts for those who use those (so kids get it off the parents account). There will be a macOS version after iPad too - subscriptions carry over on those too.

I'm going to make some changes to the subscriptions based on feedback.

Free:
- Remove ads (I hate ads. Why should I also serve ads?)
- Add more series to free (probably IndyCar and NASCAR)

Subscription:
- Gold, Silver, Bronze just get consolidated into 1 subscription. Premium or whatever.
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Old 5 Jan 2021, 13:33 (Ref:4026963)   #15
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I think one sub is definitely a good idea....
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Old 6 Jan 2021, 02:10 (Ref:4027082)   #16
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Probably stupid to say this, but shouldn’t you leave the ads in free. It is income if no one subscribes or there is a high proportion of free only. Free is also, for me at least, a driver to subscribe. I don’t mind paying and it is fine for that to be ads, but if I don’t want them then I chose. The ITV hub model.

I would also make more series in the free, as you suggest, and thing really high profile that is easy peasey to get anyway, albeit in many different places, can be free.

Is it worth having a region selection in case you are a in person type person. What’s on near me this month kind of thing.

Just thoughts. You’ve clearly considered this more than me
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Old 6 Jan 2021, 18:25 (Ref:4027247)   #17
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Not a stupid thought at all! I'm open to all suggestions!

My thought process on the ads is this -

- To make decent money out of ads you need to use a third party ad hosting service such as iAd or similar. These generate the ads, pay you the money, simples. The downside is they aren't as good for privacy, can be a little complicated to integrate, and you don't control what ads are served. But you will make money doing this.

- I can integrate my own ads (if anyone has the Overcast podcast app, I'm trying to do it that way), but it means I have to manage it all myself. That ups the workload. And it probably earns less, as people won't come to me direct, as the app is too small (currently )

So I think where I'm currently going with it is, is that I dislike ads in general. If using my own system won't do anything significant, then I'm just making the experience worse whilst not earning anything.

My thought process is

- remove the ads, which makes the experience better.
- add some more series for free (say, F1, IndyCar and NASCAR?)
- remove the Bronze and Silver tiers completely
- rename Gold to just "Subscription", and leave it as the only tier
- add a discounted annual subscription (this has been requested a few times)

That should provide a better experience for all the users, including free. Make it simpler for me to develop. And simpler for users to know what they're getting. And it should keep costs down, which is nice. I don't want this being a £10 a month thing. I want it to be cheap - I need it to cover costs and my time and that's it really.

However, I could be wildly off the mark with how I'm doing things

-----

In terms of features, there's new stuff coming soon (but after I've sorted the subscriptions)

- Events which are TBA will now list as TBA, rather than have a race name
- Events which have a race but don't have confirmed start times will list the start time as TBA

Series that I'll add soon (once subscriptions are sorted.)
- WEC, ERC, WRX, MotoGP, BSB, WSB (these were all requested)
- IMSA Pilot, NASCAR Xfinity, NASCAR Trucks, GTWC America (more users in the US)
- Super GT, Super Formula
- W-Series, Porsche Supercup (F1 support events)
- British GT, German GT

I have made a rookie technical error and boxed myself into a corner where I now have to sort the subscriptions before I can add more series, because if I push the new stuff it'll crash the phones. I did not plan it well. But that's part of learning this stuff

Edit: Oh and edit the name in the store. I think I've found that now! Thanks for the shout Ayse!

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Old 9 Jan 2021, 16:37 (Ref:4027859)   #18
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I will be submitting an update to the AppStore today - generally takes 48 hours for it to be approved. The main thing is that I've simplified the subscription model, and I've introduced an iPad specific layout, which should solve all the iPad issues you were having, Aysedasi. And make it look a bit prettier! I did quite a lot of work on the backend of it too, to make it easier for me to add series quicker.

Full change list:

- iPad Layout
- macOS Layout
- simplified subscription model
- more free series
- ads removed
- races with no start time now TBA
- races with no venue now TBA
- races with no distance now TBA
- fixed display bug on All Races row heights
- FAQ added
- Version number added to settings.
- Changes to backend to make future development easier
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Old 9 Jan 2021, 21:16 (Ref:4027889)   #19
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Seems a nice idea but, having spent an hour and a half getting my ipad up to date it won't run as its not new enough! Shame. Looked a good idea.
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Old 9 Jan 2021, 21:31 (Ref:4027893)   #20
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Originally Posted by Craig View Post
Seems a nice idea but, having spent an hour and a half getting my ipad up to date it won't run as its not new enough! Shame. Looked a good idea.
Unfortunately I can only support devices that are iOS14 and above as the framework I used requires it. If I used the previous generation framework then I would've been faced with a rebuild of the app in a year or so, where as the new one will be around for 5-6 years at least.

---

App update is pushed. Should roll out to people over the next day or so (or you can delete the app and reinstall if you want it immediately). Big update is iPad version and more accurate race times. Subscription options are much much more simple (Monthly and Annual options, and that's it), and there is more free data. Subscribers get all the series, race start times added, race lengths added, and customisable notifications added.

I'll update all the calendars tomorrow and get settled down for a year of keeping the races up to date.
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Old 29 Jan 2021, 22:49 (Ref:4031950)   #21
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Since I last posted I have added -

- WRC, ERC and WRX
- NASCAR Xfinity, NASCAR Trucks
- F1 has published the start dates of all races, so those are included now
- FE calendar has had massive changes, so that has changed.

Next actual app update will include -
- Custom notification sounds (and options for what you like!)
- Widgets (these are hard, but working on it!)
- Improved "in X hours" code (it's not as accurate as I'd like yet)

After that -
- I've worked out a way to do weather reports for races for cheap. So I can include that with no cost change, which is ideal.

The app now almost pays for itself (regarding hosting and other costs), but not quite. Oh, and I've made some nice marketing graphics.
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Old 14 Mar 2021, 15:33 (Ref:4040439)   #22
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Done a lot of work on the app. 1.3 update:

- Widgets - iOS14 widgets. These are beta. They work, but when you first add it, the data may be blank. It will fix itself within the hour and be fine. Still working on that bug
- Sounds - Custom notification sounds, so a race alert does not sound like a text message
- Day of the week has been added to make it clear if a race is Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
- This Week now shows all the events until the end of Sunday only. Resets on Monday
- Improved time zone handling. I hate time zones
- Reworded some settings. I suck at English
- Fixed a bug which caused the app to crash when toggling series visibility

Series Added
- GTWC America
- GTWC Asia
- GTWC Australia
- British GT
- ADAC GT Masters
- W Series
- MotoGP
- World SBK
- British SBK

Currently working on
- Search bar in the "All Races" page
- Weather report for races in that week

Currently investigating
- Android version

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Old 14 Mar 2021, 16:32 (Ref:4040445)   #23
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Some of us who may be slightly more mature than others do not use their mobile for internet purposes, and I certainly count myself in that group - my mobile is used solely as a telephone, it's original purpose.

Therefore, is there any possibility that you may, time allowing of course, consider expanding the usability of this app, which really sounds useful, so that it could be run on a PC?
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Old 15 Mar 2021, 16:59 (Ref:4040606)   #24
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Hey Mike. So previously I'd have said 'no', but I also previously said no to an Android version - and yet tonight, I find myself embarking on learning Kotlin so I can build an Android version. So I think it's a case of 'never say never'', but a Windows version is probably unlikely. If you have a Mac then there's a good chance I can make a Mac version as most of the iPhone/iPad code can be repurposed.

The development time itself doesn't bother me, it's more the time taken to learn the different platforms. I've learn Swift, and that lets me build for iPhone, iPad and Mac (Mac needs a bit of extra work, but it's largely the same code base). Android requires a new language (Kotlin), which I'm learning now. For Windows I'd need to look at C# or something.

I've considered a web version that could run in a browser, but it means I'd need to start looking into user accounts, payment processing etc. Apple (and Google, with Android) can take care of all of this for me. For web I'd need to run all that myself.

Never say never, but a Windows/Web version is unlikely at the moment
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Old 15 Mar 2021, 18:07 (Ref:4040623)   #25
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Thanks for coming back. I do believe that there are programs that are available that enable Android apps to run on Windows possibly emulators, so if you do come up with the Android version, all should not be lost.

Good luck with whatever you do.
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