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The Story of our Food Substitute App

So my wife wrote the following on our personal blog.  I think it is pretty relevant, so I am pretty much posting it on here.

Tonight is the big release of our Food Substitute app on the Android Market (Google Play Store).  Josh and I are over the moon with excitement, staying up way too late to talk, plan, and imagine what could happen next.  Our app is the only one of its kind for Android which is a dream come true for Josh, (who’s been fiddling with app development as a hobby for over a year now).  He’s taken his time with this and has really produced a well crafted app.  We’re trying to keep realistic expectations, but when you add it all up we start dreaming a little big (which is half the fun of a project like this).

It all started last December.  I’m enthusiastic about healthy cooking, and I searched for healthy food substitutes and got no results for an app. When I searched online, I found a plethora of information.  I was a little shy about telling Josh my idea to make an app like the one I had wanted to find, but I knew that he was looking for a new project, and he’s always really supportive of my schemes.

I was right – Josh saw a lot of promise in this idea, and started researching and brainstorming the structure of this type of app (his vision was SO beyond my own, which is such a wonderful thing).

Then it was his turn to be timid. The more he worked, the more he saw that the app would be better as just a general food sub app and we could always mark subs as healthier swaps.  He told me, and I hope I was as supportive of him as he was of me, but to be honest the idea was intimidating – I mean really, there are THOUSANDS of food substitutes out there…. even MORE if you take in all the different cuisines of the world.

With this change of focus, Josh got underway. First he built an online interface, so that someone like me (who doesn’t have a clue about computer code and programming) could input information.  Then he changed gears to designing the app – a searchable list, categories, favorites, icon design, the endeavor was HUGE, but he got great advice from friends and colleagues as he showed them early versions and had them test the features.

Only recently I’ve stepped up to add the food and substitute info.  Josh wanted the information to have a voice and personality, so I share some of my own preferences and experiences with the subs I know and throw in a few puns from time to time.  Going over lists and doing research has been a lot of work, but I adore food and the more research I do, the better I understand the ingredients and the better cook I can be. It’s a win win!

So, here’s the insider’s peek of our app (you might have noticed that the time on these is 11:02 pm, which is only one of MANY late nights Josh has put in on this – pretty amazing since he’s had a full time job, school, a demanding calling, and fatherhood all at the same time):

The home screen with the 4 features of this first version:

The Search By Food list that you can scroll through….

Or type the food you’re looking for in the top search bar and watch those letters highlight in the foods that match until you find what you want.

Each food’s page has a list of subs that drop down with more info for using the sub, as well as a Food Details tab that gives background and hints for the food itself.

 

There’s also a Submit Ideas Feature that lets the user submit subs that they know, or make requests for foods or subs they need.

This last graphic is a promo that Josh made for use in the play store.

I’m a little embarrassed to show this last part (because I’m such a lame narrator) but another big feature on the app store is having a video tutorial of the app.  Here I go giving a visual run through of all our app features.

Thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us with this project – it’s been so fun sharing it with you and feeling your excitement!

For those of you that have android phones or tablets, we’d be thrilled if you would download our app (there is a free trial and a $.99 version) and if you enjoy it, we’d really appreciate you taking the time to rate it in the Google Play Store to help our app get noticed.

Even if you can’t get our app, we’d love to have help spreading the word. It’s amazing how fast and far word of mouth can go in this era of technology, right?  These are the links to the play store for our app:

Paid: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hedgesappdev.foodsubs.ui

Free Trial: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hedgesappdev.foodsubs.free.ui

By putting one or both of these links on blogs, Facebook, or pinning the images to Pinterest you would really be helping us so much!

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Release Day

I can’t believe it is finally here.  I have been working on this app for over 6 months now.  Part of the reason it has taken so long is

1) I am pretty much learning how to program in Android from scratch.

2) I changed the complete plan of my app half way through.

3) I am a pretty busy working my full time job, working on a masters degree, volunteering at church, and helping my wife raise my 2 kids (a 4 year old and a 1 year old).

But after all of this, I am finally ready to release the first version of “Food Substitutes” and my wife and I are very excited.

It all started back in November of last year when my wife came up with the idea of a healthy food substitute app.  After she did some looking there was none to be found on the android marketplace (a.k.a now Google Play). So that is where I started on my app but then the more I was working on it the more I realized that instead of just being a healthy food substitute app, it should be an app that contains all food substitutes.  Then we could just specially mark the ones that were considered “healthier” (I know “healthy” is a very subjective term, but gererally we believe the substitutes we marked as healthier are at least a little better for you than the original).

Anyway, we are excited!  Let’s see how it does.

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