{ by david linsin }

December 15, 2010

Word Buzz Lite

114x114.pngWhen we first planned Word Buzz, we didn't want to release a free version. It has a more exclusive feeling to it, if you can't test before you try. However, to boost your user base, there's nothing better than a free version. So here it is: Word Buzz Lite.

It's a universal App with no limitation except for one: no Game Center! It's not our decision, but more of Apple's technical limitation to only allow one App (bundle id) per Game Center instance. Another difference is the number of free built-in themes. The free version comes with only one free theme and more available through in-app purchases.

When developing Doublemill, which is a separate App for iPhone and iPad, I decided to use different XCode projects for the lite, premium and iPad version, hence different source bases for the three Apps. For Word Buzz, we decided to use a different strategy. A multi-target project for full and lite version, which are both universal Apps.

Having different source bases has a couple of drawbacks, which I experienced the hard way. One of it is fixing bugs! It's is a copy-paste task, with all its pitfalls and pain in testing. In addition to that, XCode's support for handling multiple projects isn't exactly supporting you. However, evolving the 3 different Apps, was easy and didn't affect the others in any way.

Developing a multi-target project comes with its own set of challenges. You are basically programming based on a preprocessor conditional inclusion or exclusion, which I've explained in an earlier blog post. For Word Buzz is was quite easy to cut out the additional themes and the Game Center support. However, I can imagine it can become quite complicated if you want to exclude sophisticated features. XCode comes with awesome support for multiple targets and its Organizer can still handle releases for two different versions, although it's one source base. In order to get me started, I used Chris Fletcher's blog post on building a lite version for your iPhone App. It covers the basics and brings you up to speed.

When it comes to evolving Word Buzz, we needed to shift our minds from the source-based to a SCM-based evolution model. We needed to maintain different branches, which would get quite complicated from time to time. Thanks to Git and github, we never experienced any problems bringing the various versions (branches) back together. Once you've changed your mental model to a DSCM system, it's hard to switch back, at least for me.

We are quite happy to have used multiple targets. Everything is covered under the hood of one XCode project and fixes go right into both versions. Check out Word Buzz Lite and let us know what you think!



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