March 4, 2023
Indie Dev Diaries #6: Six tools every indie app developer should have in their toolkit

As an indie developer, you are often responsible for every aspect of your app. Project management, design, development, marketing, customer support, and more. But if you’re like me, design and development are the only enjoyable parts! In this post, I’ll share some of the tools that I’ve been using to assist me with those not-so-fun tasks.


Okay, everybody and their cat has been talking about ChatGPT lately. In my case, I’ve been using it to help me write my App Store descriptions, and to describe the features I’m adding. Typically I’ll describe what the app does, and then ask ChatGPT to word it in a way that will entice the reader to download my app. What I get in response is usually a great starting point that I’ll adjust to my liking.

ChatGPT is free to use if you don’t mind occasionally waiting for demand to slow down, or you can pay US$20 a month to access ChatGPT Plus, which gives you priority access to the AI.


Creating compelling marketing material can be difficult but is essential to any app’s success. The best app promo videos that I’ve seen were made with Rotato, which is a 3D mockup generator and animator perfect for showcasing your apps. Rotato includes most of Apple’s devices in 3D-form, meaning you can just drag and drop screenshots or screen recordings of your app, and let the app do the rest. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but Rotato is brilliant for making your apps come to life.

Rotato is free to download, but you can pay US$49 which removes the watermark from your exports for life, and gives you free updates for a year. There are also bundles available that include some additional video templates. In my opinion, this is a fantastic deal given it’s a one-time purchase, and saves me from having to pay and learn how to use other software such as Adobe After Effects.

Below is the first video I made using Rotato for Classifier’s recent 3.0 update, and this took just a couple of hour’s work.


In my opinion, ImpressKit is a real game changer, and all credit goes to Filip Němečekfor creating such a fantastic tool. ImpressKit makes it so much easier to organise and distribute your press kits. It includes hosting your press kit, markdown editors, guides on how best to write and distribute your press kit, and so much more. My favourite feature is a curated list and contact information of various tech writers who have featured apps before.

ImpressKit is a yearly subscription at US$33+tax, but for what you get, this is incredible value for money. There is also a free 1 month trial so that you can try it out and see if it works for you.

I’m still tweaking Classifier’s Press Kit, but if you’d like to check out an example, it can be viewed here:


I only discovered Tally a few weeks ago, but this tool is great for receiving feature requests from users. With Tally, you’re able to create elegant survey-style forms, which can then be shared via a URL. In both Classifier and Ceramispace, I have a simple button “Request a Feature” in the Settings screen that when tapped, opens a Tally form in an in-app browser. I can change these forms as I see fit without having to push out an app update, which is another bonus. When a user completes the form, you get an email notification, but you can easily set up email rules to route them into a dedicated mailbox, if you desire.

Tally is free to sign up, and although they have a paid tier, it’s not really necessary unless you want advanced styling features, custom domains, and collaboration features.

Both Classifier and Ceramispace’s “Request a Feature” forms are essentially the same now and are fairly simple, but here’s what you can expect when creating a form with Tally:


I’ve been a user of Jira for 7 years now through my day job and personally I don’t mind it, but when it comes to managing my indie apps, I want something that’s much simpler to use and tailored for app development.

That’s where LaunchBuddy excels. The clue’s in the name - it’s your buddy for launching your apps. With LaunchBuddy, you can add your various apps, and within each app, you can create dedicated taskboards. I’ve created a ‘Backlog’ taskboard, and then I have a dedicated taskboard for each update I’m working on. Each taskboard has 3 swimlanes: “Backlog”, “In Progress”, and “Done”.

Another feature I love is being able to create checklists, such as a “Pre-launch checklist”, so I can make sure that I don’t forget to update my App Store screenshots or send out an email to subscribers. I also love the ability to add my app ideas as they come to me, and with LaunchBuddy available on both macOS and iOS, the app is always accessible to me!

LaunchBuddy is free to download, and has both subscription and lifetime options to give you unrestricted access to the app.


Initially this article was only supposed to have five tools, but then I realised I couldn’t fit them all in.

As I’ve added more apps to my portfolio, there are certain tasks that I perform a lot that are time consuming. For example, both Classifier and Ceramispace have iOS and macOS apps, which previously I was uploading to the App Store one at a time. Not only did I have to wait to archive the apps, I then would have to click through the upload wizard.

With Fastlane, I’ve been able to automate a significant portion of my workflows. I’m still discovering what I can do, but this has been a real game changer for increasing my productivity. I created a lane that first increments my app’s build number, archives both the iOS and macOS apps, and then uploads both to App Store Connect, all through my MacBook’s Terminal.

Eventually, I’d like to repurpose my Mac Mini and integrate it with GitHub Actions so that it can run my lanes when an event happens (such as a Pull Request merge in to my develop branch), but even with my current setup, I’m still seeing the time benefits.

Fastlane is free to use and incredibly easy to set up. I honestly wish I’d been using it sooner. Take it from me: the best time to start was yesterday, the next best time is now. You won’t regret it!

In Conclusion

Being able to spend more time developing new app features and less time messing around with creating marketing materials from scratch or waiting for Xcode to upload my apps has been a game-changer for me. I’m able to get more done in the limited time I have, making indie app development an even more enjoyable process.

What tools do you have in your app development toolkit? Let me know via Mastodon!

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