GhettoDoro, The World’s Worst Pomodoro Timer

I am a believer in the Pomodoro Technique, a very smart productivity hack to structure your work efforts in 25-minute sprints, punctuated by 5-minute breaks.

Lately, I’ve been using a mechanical Ikea timer, and I hate it. It makes an awful ticking sound, and its alarm (when it actually manages to work) is jarring. I considered using the iOS 7 built-in timer, but switching between 5- and 25-minute increments is clumsy. All I need for a timer is to start/stop/pause/resume it, and to add in 5-minute increments. Is that so hard?

I know there are probably some very good Pomodoro timer apps out there, but I thought building one myself would be a good way to learn more about how to use timers in iOS.

So I built one myself. And I made it revel in all of its brain-dead-simple glory. It’s so simple that I christened it GhettoDoro. I even ripped the Windows 3.1 startup sound to use for the alert. I made the app icon the ugliest tomato (pomodoro) you’ve ever seen.

And I submitted it to the App Store, and I totally expect it to be rejected! There are tons of timer apps out there, and mine is definitely way uglier, but damnit, I’m going to use this thing, and I’m going to enjoy it.

And in case you were wondering: yes, I learned a lot of good things from this short project.

I know how to create an NSTimer. I know how to schedule it on the run loop to repeat. I know how to invalidate it to stop it from firing again.

I know how to set up an UILocalNotification, which is the class you use when you need to have your app display a notification to the user (banner or alert style). I know how to register it with UIApplication to run at a specific time (fireDate), and how to cancel a scheduled notification (cancelLocalNotification).

I learned a lot about working with time intervals.

And I made my first dalliance into the AVFramework by using the C API to play the alert sound and vibrate.

And I wrestled mightily with the Apple Developer certificate signing and device provisioning, and I have a much better sense of how it works.

So all in all, my ghetto Pomodoro timer app was a rousing success!

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