Alessandro Oliva

“When things are made with value, people notice” – Alessandro Oliva

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Alessandro is an Italian developer with apps like Vehicles Cloud and BeSafe on the App Store to his name. He grew up in Milan and graduated in Economics and Finance in 2005, worked 9 years in a Oil & Gas company and even spent 4 years in Delhi managing a small office. He then left his job to start a career as an iOS Developer, so let’s hear it from himself about his iOS development journey and what we can learn from him.

Sunyyan: Hi Alessandro. So how did you learn coding, how long have you been developing, and what pushed you towards iOS development?

Alessandro: Hello iOS Appers audience. At the end of 2014 I resigned from my previous job and I decided to change things because I realized that I had to do something for myself, like managing a small business and get the results of my work instead of being just an employee. So I had to take a decision about what to do and how to reinvent my career.

I wrote down what I was really looking for: use my own skills (no other bachelors program or long-term course) and my own money (no loans, no big investments) to start a business. Basically do something creative, do something that allows me to work on subjects I’m interested in, or do a kind of handicraft profession.

It was the year Apple had just released Swift, so I bought a Macbook Pro and things just happened… 🙂

Sunyyan: That’s pretty inspirational. People find it really difficult to leave their jobs and start a solo career. Now that you’re a developer, which framework do you use to develop apps, and how much focus do you put on design and user experience while developing?

Alessandro: Till now, I’ve used the CloudKit framework that allows apps to store data in a database primarily because I don’t have resources and knowledge to adopt a server-based app. It also offers auto login to the users, so data can easily be synced with the user’s devices and private data is stored safely and in the user’s personal iCloud account.

Another amazing feature of CloudKit framework is the Sharing functionality: users can collaborate and share their app contents in a very smart way. All these things are very important to know at the time of starting with some new project. They are probably invisible to the end user, but I believe real value lies there! The first thing I have learned when I started programming is that every app should be simple and must have value for the user. Based on that, I design and develop my own products.

Sunyyan: Your portfolio contains apps like BeSafe and Vehicles Cloud. What led you to develop these apps?

Alessandro: Behind every app there is an idea, that make it unique and leads to the most important phase: definition!

Vehicles Cloud was my first project and so it has been a kind of a “school” for me. The idea came by when I was talking with one of my friends who is a mechanic. He always had trouble with his many client’s car history and information, like vehicle number and their phone numbers (in many cases, he has to speak with two or more persons for one car). Now, however, my friend still does not use Vehicles Cloud because he has an Android phone!

BeSafe came to idea from everyday life: my wife travels by bus to come back from her work place and so she keeps calling and messaging to update me about her journey so that I can prepare our lunch just in time! My wife’s case led us to design this app to allow other people to keep track of user location and share it with others, and I feel this could be highly useful. I ultimately added the missed response tracking as a core, unique feature of the app. Now, however, my wife still does not use BeSafe because her iPhone does not support iOS 11.

Sunyyan: Well, Alessandro, we hope you can convince your friends and wife to start using your apps 🙂 What were the biggest challenges you had to face while developing for iOS?

Alessandro: Challenges are our everyday job! In just three years, the biggest challenge is to make things easy, straightforward and essential for the scope. I know I still have a lot to learn and sometimes I feel a bit stressed by a very low return for my efforts. Anyway, I think positive and don’t worry so much. When things are made with value, people notice.

Sunyyan: Is your app also available on Android? And what other projects do you have in the pipeline?

Alessandro: Unfortunately, my app is not available on Android, and honestly I don’t know if it’s possible with Android to achieve the same results.

At the and of April I started working on a new project: it is an app for external TestFlight testers recruitment. It will be a hit among all iOS developers (to find a wide and iOS-specific audience for testing new apps/games/versions) and by iOS users who want to try what’s new before the release date on the App Store. It could be a way to connect more users with developers and to make their communication more open.

Sunyyan: What’s your current favorite app or game on the App Store apart from your own?

Alessandro: Recently I downloaded Buffer, which I need for branding my company. This app is valuable because it improves my social networking and saves me a lot of time. Other apps I like are SoundCloud (music), Sattva (meditation), Wordreference (dictionary), Keeper (password), i-Nigma (QR code), Skyscanner (flights), Reflector Director (works with Reflector on Mac to record videos from phone screen), Pinterest (links), Mobile (my bank). Those from Apple: Maps, Graphic, TestFlight, Connect, Files, iBooks, iTunes U, Pages, Numbers, Notes, Health, Weather, Mail, Photos, Clock (Bedtime is a nice function).

Sunyyan: Alessandro, are there are any developer or agency in the industry that inspire you? Do you have a mentor as well?

Alessandro: I would like to interact and connect with other developers and find some special ones. Until now, I’ve walked alone, though.

Sunyyan: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start developing for iOS?

Alessandro: I would say that getting a job is very important in life, so whatever job you choose, it must be something you love to do, something you feel perfectly fine doing, something you wish to do when you get bored. If iOS App development seems like that to you, then go for it!

Sunyyan: Can you send us a screenshot of your Homescreen? Our readers would love to know what apps you use the most!

Sunyyan: It was great talking to you Alessandro. We appreciate you taking time out for this interview, and we’ll make sure our readers get the most out of your app! 🙂

Alessandro: Thank you for having me. And of course. I hope they find it useful too!

Apps Developed By Alessandro Oliva

Free

(iOS Universal)

$0.99

(iOS Universal)

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