Well, it's been just over a year since version 1.0 of star3map was posted to the App Store. I wrote that first version in just under a week - right after I left Epic Games and just before I started back at NVIDIA. It was a fun experience trying to get all the subsystems working from scratch in such a short amount of time.
Over the last year, I made numerous improvements, adding a free version initially called star3free, but then changed to "space junk". I've discovered that I'm not especially good at the marketing side of things - especially choosing good names, but for better or worse, those are now the names. So in addition to the free edition, I added constellations, rewrote the planet / moon code based on an excellent web tutorial by Paul Schlyter, added satellite tracking, and Facebook integration so a user can tag satellites and other celestial objects and post about it on their wall.
Also during the course of the year, I added support for iPad and Android. Making things work on all these platforms has been interesting, and from a technology perspective, it is fun figuring out how to do it. Version 1.0 only worked on the iPhone 3Gs at only one resolution and pixel density. Now there are a plethora of hardware configurations, but the user experience on them all is quite uniform.
In the process of writing a Facebook app fro my old high school MSMS, I rediscovered the fun of writing LAMP applications. The last time I had actually done that, the term "LAMP" wasn't even in popular use! Since that experience was fresh on my mind, I added support to star3map for fetching a user's favorite satellites. The information is all kept on the server and downloaded on demand from any device the user
is currently using.
Maybe the biggest failing star3map has is documentation though. I know how to use it because I wrote the code, but I haven't made a great deal of effort to communicate that important info to users. Now that I have a fair number of users (thousands of daily users), I should probably remedy that. Perhaps I'll do a tips series on the blog to explain the important parts.
As for the future, I am going to enhance the social integration elements and provide a more interesting desktop / laptop experience for users. That will start with on-demand "globe view" image generation based on your last login location so you can see what satellites are flying over on the web. And after that, a WebGL version that the user can interact with in a manner very similar to what you get with the mobile app.
We'll see how that goes. It doesn't pay to make plans too far into the future when you don't know exactly what you're getting into or exactly what users will consider "fun"!