Crossing The Finish Line With ‘Bibs’

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Runners around the country have selected Bibs as the go-to app for marathon events, helping it surpass 10,000 downloads within months of launch. Learn why founder Patrick McLain and his team worked with Corona SDK to develop their chart-topping app.

Please share a bit of background on Bibs.

I had been throwing marathons in San Diego for about five years. At all events, runners wear wireless RFID chips with an antenna that reads the times of these runners from the chips. There are several apps on the market that can register the times from the RFID chips and display them on a device, but these apps have two issues: they have horrible usability and charge $500 or more per event.

With this in mind, I decided to gather a team and build my own app called Bibs. This project has been an eight month-long journey, with eight amazing team members that work on design, development and testing.

You developed Bibs using Corona SDK. What has been your experience working with the platform?

I have a diverse background in various technologies but previous to Bibs, hadn’t approached programming. After attempting to learn several languages and losing interest, I came across Corona SDK.

The nice thing about Corona is that it shares the biggest benefit of web programming: instant gratification. As you learn the process, you can see results in front of you with a few keystrokes. The Lua programming language is also a breeze to learn and on top of that, Corona boasts an amazing community in the forum and meetup groups worldwide.

Without Corona SDK, Bibs wouldn’t exist today.

Please share your development process, from idea to market.

The app took five months to complete from start to finish. The first two months went slowly as I spent time learning, but after that, development started to take speed.

I reached out to my local Corona SDK Meetup group in San Diego where I met developer Mario Roberti. I showed him my work, told him about my goals for the project, and asked if he wanted to participate – he happily agreed to join.

At that point, we started to develop our core product. About a month later, I moved back to San Francisco and started reaching out to my tech friends. We found a database guy, a designer, a marketing person, and a few other folks to jump onboard. These next four months were pure gold.

Sounds like you’ve tapped a great market! What’s been Bibs’ success in the App Store?

Bibs became the #1 app of its type in the market and continues to grow. The app has received over 10,000 downloads to date, in a very niche market.

That’s wonderful to hear. Do you recommend Corona SDK for business app development?

Yes. I believe that apps will soon replace websites. Everyone wants an app and the current approach to native development – plain and simple – just takes too long. With Corona SDK this is no longer an issue.

Through our development process, we built extensive libraries that can be applied to a wide set of projects – we just need to build once, and can reuse them for other projects. Most “business” customers only require a few sets of features. They want customization, they want to display data, and they want to interact with their customers – all of this is possible with Corona SDK.

Thanks for chatting with us, Patrick!

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