Codename: Instalist

I’ve mentioned that I’m working on a new app, codenamed Instalist. It’s close to being finished, but I want to talk about it now as it features in my current development, both inside and outside of Xcode.

Background. Previously, I was working on a fuller-featured shopping-list app. One of the workflows that I wanted (want) to include is the importing of a plain text shopping list. Maybe the user has typed it out themselves, or maybe someone has sent them the list? Either way, the app converts that text into a to-do list.

Because… when you’re walking around the grocery store it’s much easier to work from a list if you can check the items off, as you go.

A smaller app? As I mentioned recently, I want to complete the full spectrum of app development, solo. Without the help of my Sicknote Software partner, James. The shopping list app was shaping up to be a bigger bite than I wanted to chew in one go, so I started thinking about tackling something smaller…

Seperating out that small utility. As I was testing/using the early code of the fuller-featured shopping list app, I realised there was (for me, at least) considerable utility in making a to-do list by parsing simple text.

It’s common for me to be sent a shopping list, so the conversion feature was one of the first to be implemented. As I tested other features, whilst shopping, I realised the improvement to my list-creation workflow was a significant benefit, on its own. Something I wanted, now.

So that’s what Codename: Instalist does. Takes text from the pasteboard and uses some very simple rules to parse it, producing a to-do list. General purpose to a point, but it’s designed around the shopping list usecase above…