Showcase: Marc Langsman

Marc is an adept UI/UX designer, and he loves running. He creates UIs for mobile apps all the time — but what if he would actually code an app for runners? That’s where Runsense comes in.

“I’ve probably coded every single day, maybe 99% of them, and that regularity helps you get through the initial learning phase.”

Marc is currently working on Runsense, an app for iOS that helps runners run further, faster and with less injury. The goal of the app is to motivate and inspire runners by providing advice from elite athletes. Marc: “My plan is to get the app out of the door, and in the hands of runners, and see how well it’s received. You don’t know that until you launch.”

When is an app ready? Marc’s other interests include creating and releasing music, he explains, and building apps is kinda like that. It’s creative work, and you’re putting your own ideas on the line, so at 90% done you should just put it out there and see what happens, he says.

Why choose iOS development? Marc: “I’m a designer, and I like Apple products, and I’ve got prior experience with software development. There’s something nice about designing for an ecosystem that you like. And I’ve always thought that iOS users tend to spend more money than Android users. I want to generate revenue with my apps, so that’s another important consideration.”

In recent months, Marc has participated in LearnAppMaking’s courses, completed many tutorials, and we did Q&As in our community. Did they help in mastering iOS development?

Marc: “Definitely, yes. A few key things have been helpful. The initial projects we did in the course, they walk you through the backbone; the components of an app. I had no idea at first, so that was useful. You also give technical advice and guidance in the course, which is a bit broader in terms of making apps. It’s helped me become a better developer.”

An example he gives is looking up an API’s documentation, and not being afraid to make sense of such complex information. A frustration at first was debugging, and being stuck with a piece of code. He’s discovered in the course that debugging is a process that you can learn, and that by debugging you learn lots of new things. Marc: “On top of that, being able to ask questions in the community has been invaluable as well. Having someone give you advice when you’re first starting is amazing, and really helpful.”

What’s one thing that stood out? Marc: “I’ve probably coded every single day, maybe 99% of them, and that regularity helps you get through the initial learning phase.”

Frustrations with learning iOS development? Marc: “I’ve got quite a bit of async code, and I’m trying to refine that with promises, and that’s been a complicated task. It’s a big learning curve. It’s frustrating – but then I solve it, and it’s all good.”

What about aspects of iOS development that make him smile? Marc: “I worked on this code that scales a bit of text to make it fit on screen. It didn’t work at first, but when I solved it, I had this great experience of making progress and realizing my vision for the app. I like that nature of building things, from design to finished product, making something that’s valuable to people. It’s rewarding.”

Marc emphasizes that having a community where you can ask questions is helpful, even if you don’t end up posting a question. Marc: “You start typing, forming a question around a problem, and that stimulates ideas and solutions for it. There’s definitely been a couple of times where I started composing a post, and then not posting it, because I had already solved it.”

What’s next? “I want to have one or more products that are out there, that people are using,” Marc explains, “but I’m split between starting a service-based agency and building my own apps. Maybe those two things fit together, and that’s what I’m aiming for.”

When you think of people starting today with iOS development, is there any advice you want to give them?

“Persevere and explore. Perseverance is really rewarding. When I first started, I was overwhelmed – the information, the API docs, what it all meant. Keeping on learning was important. At some point in the course I felt like I wanted to build something, so I started doing that as well. It forces you to solve problems and to learn. And have fun doing it!”

You can learn more about Marc’s work at langsman.com and on LinkedIn.