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Old 31 Dec 2020, 00:41 (Ref:4025947)   #1
Akrapovic
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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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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