May 3, 2023
Indie Dev Diaries #7: Deep Dish Swift: An Indie App Showcase

These past few days, I had the privilege of attending my first in-person iOS developer conference in Chicago. Deep Dish Swift is the brainchild of Josh Holtz, the lead maintainer of Fastlane and developer of iOS and Android SDKs at RevenueCat. With a stellar lineup of speakers, there was no doubt in my mind that this event would be one to remember!

While the conference had sessions ranging from technical topics such as SwiftUI’s NavigationStack to topics that were very much a call-to-action (how to be a mentor, how to give back to the iOS community), I personally valued highly the half-day of talks focused on indie app development. As somebody who is really trying to grow their apps into a viable source of income, the insights from developers who have literally “been there, done that” will no-doubt help me and all of the other aspiring indie developers in attendance.

If you’re an iOS developer - whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned veteran, indie or not, I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye open for next year’s conference.

Tips from a Full-time Indie Developer

The talk that stood out to me the most was Emmanuel Crouvisier’s “Going Full Indie: From side project to best job you've ever had”. The talk was divided into multiple acts, describing in detail each stage of Emmanuel’s journey from working on apps that didn’t make much money across multiple years, to finally finding an app idea that many users would find useful, to utilizing that app to generate income not just from app and subscription sales but also partnering with influencers. Emmanuel also made a few points that I think every aspiring indie app developer should take note of:

  • Scratch your own itch: Find a problem that you’re facing, and see whether it can be solved with an app. If other’s are also facing that same problem, then the idea could be worth exploring.
  • Underserved communities exist everywhere: Online forums such as Reddit or Facebook groups are full of people who are facing problems. Try to engage these communities to understand what they’re looking for, and when you’re building your app, share the progress in those same communities.
  • Don’t take individual feedback personally: Try to aggregate your feedback. If you get 10 people saying one thing and only one person saying another, you can likely ignore the outlier. Don’t let a tiny minority influence your direction.

Success Comes from Closing Xcode

I think other attendees will agree that this quote from Curtis Herbert (creator of Slopes) during his talk “Subs 301” was probably the quote of the day, if not the entire conference. As an indie developer we wear many hats, and sometimes it’s important to close Xcode and to focus on the other critical aspects of building an app: marketing, engaging with users, and not burning yourself out.

Indie Developers Everywhere

It was impressive the sheer number of indie app developers in attendance. I was lucky enough to engage with many of them, some of whom I had only known from social media thus far. I was even able to trade app icon stickers and pins with some - I now have an “App Icon Stickers” collection set up in Classifier to track which ones I have!

I loved learning about the backgrounds of my fellow indie developers, what motivates them, and the app’s they’re creating. Being surrounded by such an amazing group of people will only motivate me to keep on building!

A New App on the Horizon?

Those who follow me on Mastodon will know that I’ve spent the last few weeks working on a new app, Söka. Söka is an app for tracking your bucket lists, and the goals you have within. The standout feature is being able to generate entire bucket lists using AI for a given location, with activities coming back with a brief description and coordinates (if applicable), meaning the app can be useful for seeking out new activities.

Söka is currently running an open beta; if you’d like to help me find bugs and provide feedback, you can join the TestFlight by [clicking here](

To keep up with everything I’m doing in the world of indie app development, you can follow me on Mastodon. If you were also in attendance at Deep Dish Swift, I’d love to hear what your highlights of the conference were and if you’ve been inspired to work on any new indie apps!

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