Patrick Burleson, BitBQ

Burleson Headshot sm Patrick Burleson app icon

Patrick develops iOS and OS X software for his company BitBQ. He also writes applications on contract.

  • What do you currently do?

Currently I run BitBQ and do contracting with MartianCraft. With BitBQ, I spend my time developing and marketing Changes.app for Mac and FitnessTrack for iOS. Changes is an app for seeing the differences between two files or two folders. FitnessTrack is for tracking your workouts and measurements from the gym. You can find more information about these at http://bitbq.com/

For MartianCraft, I work on Briefs and its companion app Briefscase. Briefs is a tool for prototyping your iOS app and Briefscase allows you to playback that prototype on your device. You can find more information at http://giveabrief.com/

  • How did you get started in Mac and/or iOS programming?

I got interested in programming in Junior High when I took a class in BASIC. That summer I bought Dave Mark’s Learn C on the Macintosh and absorbed it. From there, I started working on a text editor for the Mac which I hacked on and off during high school/early college. That was in the early to mid 1990s.

I fell out of Mac programming during the late 90s when I went off into Java programming, but found my way back in 2006 or so. I bought Aaron Hillegass’ book Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X and started learning Cocoa and Objective-C while working on an app idea I had.

Then in 2008, the iPhone SDK hit and I shelved what I working on and got started learning the iPhone SDK.

  • What was the first app you created and what did it do?

My first app for the phone was a really silly one: An Executive Decision maker modeled off the one my dad had in the late 1980s (http://www.retrothing.com/2007/10/radio-shack-exe.html). I got it to flip through the lights like my dad’s did. It was a fun way to learn how to make an iPhone app. It never shipped, but the experience was good.

  • Where did you get the idea for the app?

I got the idea while in the shower trying to think of something I could put together in a day or so. I remembered that box on my dad’s desk and thought it would be fun to try and create on the phone.

  • What went well? What could have gone better?

Getting the project setup was pretty quick, but I ran into a problem animating the lights at first because I was approaching the problem in the wrong way. A couple of hours into it, I finally figured out the right way and get it going.

  • What is your favorite among the apps you’ve developed?

My favorite app that I’ve developed is called QueueUp which allowed you to quickly search for and add items to your Netflix queue. Due to the direction Netflix is taking their API, I decided to discontinue QueueUp back in March. But I still really love QueueUp.

  • What advice do you have for young people who want to make apps?

My advice is to find the way you learn best and dive into it. I also recommend checking out some of the open source code on GitHub. I would also recommend getting involved in the community via mailing lists, IRC (#macdev and #phonedev on irc.freenode.net), and Twitter/App.net.

Follow Patrick on Twitter and App.net.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

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