Red Foundry: Mobile Development Made Easy (I hope.)

As some of you may know, I’ve had a desire to build iPhone/iPad apps for some time now. I even put out a request on Twitter, which just resulted in a bunch of spam, and didn’t really get me any closer to developing my own ideas. But I didn’t have the time or money to invest into learning how to code, and really, that’s not my forte anyway. It seemed like my ideas were destined to live in my sketchbook forever, or until someone else did it, leaving me to angrily blog about it. 

A few months ago, I took a class on mobile development over at School of Visual Concepts here in Seattle, and one of the speakers was a overly enthusiastic fellow who was showing off his new publishing platform. His name was Jim Heising, and he reminded me of Andy Richter-or, to be more accurate, he looked like one of Andy Richter’s quintuplet brothers from Arrested Development

But late night sidekick lookalike thoughts aside, his platform, Red Foundry, seemed to be the answer to what I was looking for. An opportunity to take my designs, and get them onto the App Store-with Red Foundry taking a share of the sales for taking on the cost of development. (Hey!) 

I got a chance to talk with Mr. Heising afterward, and we even talked about the possibility of coming in to do some design work-which didn’t work out, a point I am still terribly bummed out about. But we ended our conversation with the promise of keeping in touch, and then kinda went our own ways. I got busy with meltdowns and ad classes, and didn’t really think about Red Foundry again until a few weeks ago. 

As luck would have it, they just started sending out invites for their beta. The service has really matured since I first saw the site a few months ago. The hightlights-

1. It’s completely free to develop apps, and you can develop as many as you’d like. And with their special iPhone viewer, you can test your apps right on your iPhone with no hassle.

2. The development application looks to be completely customizable. While there are templates, it looks like you can change any look and behavior of your application. This is a good thing, because I think the iPhone OS UI is starting to look dated, and the apps that get away from that tend to be my favorites.

3. You can connect to a variety of sources, so if I wanted to integrate Facebook, or the RSS feed for this blog, I could. That really gives designers limitless possibilities for creating content and pushing it to the end user.

4. You pay a one-time fee to produce your apps, and after you set the price, Red Foundry takes a cut depending on the package that you choose. I’d like to see an option to just pay for the development and publish the app myself. That was an option that was on the site earlier, but seems to have disappeared.

All in all, it looks like a platform that has matured, and it looks to make app publishing accessible to everyone. I’ve applied to the beta program-here’s hoping I can get a sneak peek!

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