Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy New 2019 and Good Bye!

Dear friends,

It's been a while since I published anything here and I feel really bad about it. For some time I still had a hope of a comeback, but during 2018 I understood that nothing will happen. So I would like to write this last one post and say goodbye.

I will try to answer some questions you may have.



Why? Why? Why?!!


TL;DR: Microsoft killed Windows Phone.

I guess it's pretty obvious for everyone that Windows Phone (Windows Mobile) platform is abandoned by Microsoft. It was announced officially in October 2017. To be honest, I really believed until the very end that everything can change and MS will give the platform another life, but it did not happen.

As much as I loved Windows Phone, as much I was offended and angry with Microsoft for this decision. I still think that they had enough money in their pockets to invest in the third force on the mobile market. I even felt that in 2017 it actually started to get some real traction from people and other companies. But it was not enough...

I also believe that shutting down Windows Phone was a not a very smart move because it was basically the most fun consumer-oriented product for 3rd-party and indie developers to work with. I can explain: the biggest one is of course Windows Desktop, but it's not fun! People use desktops to work or play games, there are already tons of apps and utils for Windows and a lot of people still (in the end of 2018) are questioning why do we even need Microsoft Store on Windows Desktop. It's not that much an appealing platform for an indie dev, comparing to phones which are always in your pocket and innovate rapidly. XBox - needs way more effort to make something valuable like a game. What else? HoloLens - fun, but super expensive for a consumer, seems to be dying slowly now.

The only thing MS was left with and which it is pushing superhard among devs is Azure Cloud. But it's the bloody enterprise and you, my dear reader, don't care which cloud provider a web app is running if it is just working. So are not caring the devs and can choose between many other providers.

For me, Windows Phone was the platform, where I could use my enterprise-coming-from-work C#/.NET skills and favorite tools (which were really great, kudos MS engineers!) to unleash creativity, make something cool and spread it easily among real users (you!). And it was such great power and possibility that I can't be more grateful for Microsoft than giving it 30% cut of all the revenue I got :D

Speaking seriously, I could rather easily transfer from one enterprise-oriented Microsoft .NET eco-system like Windows Forms, WPF, ASP.NET or even more modern Azure to a consumer-oriented one like Windows Store Apps for Mobile and Desktop, HoloLens, etc. In my opinion, this was a very appealing characteristic of the whole C#/.NET world until the most fun consumer platform was killed.

On a personal note, when Microsoft shut down Windows Phone, I didn't only felt sad about it, but it also made me rethink the whole MS-ecosystem developer perspective. Any technology that I, as a developer, invest my time into, could be shut down by MS just because the profit figures are not high enough. I don't judge them and this problem concerns all the big companies there that push out technologies, but this made me understand that it's too dangerous to "put all the eggs in one basket". Eventually, I decided to orient my career more into Web and Cloud direction and avoid vendor-locks when possible. I'm also trying to avoid Microsoft products when possible. You can consider this a form of a protest (though, Visual Studio Code is awesome).

So when Microsoft officially shut down the platform, I really had very little motivation to carry on with my Windows apps. I have other projects going on, but also it's very hard to persuade myself to continue investing time in a dead platform. I know that there still are thousands of users there, but the number is going down every day.

So what happens to the app?

Nothing! The "Bind Mi Band" app stays where it is - in Microsoft Store. I have no plans of removing it and anyone will be able to download and use it. "Notify Mi Band" also stays.

Will you do some development to support existing features?

Well, I don't think so. The good thing is that the app is pretty stable and robust. It has been more than a year since the last release and I haven't really got any major issues with officially supported models of Mi Band! Isn't it cool? I think that's one of the things people love about "Bind Mi Band" - simplicity and reliability.

Even more than that: the app works with the new Mi Band 3 without any changes from me. Of course, the support is limited and not everything works, but 90% of the features from Mi Band 2 work.

Can't you open-source the app?

No, and I can explain why.

For me, "Bind Mi Band" is a very personal project. You can imagine that almost every single small thing here was made or carefully reviewed by one person - me. I spent very-very-very-very much time making it as it is, many nights reverse-engineering Mi Band protocols, thinking about UX flows and UI and testing every single piece of the app. I physically can't transfer app to some other owner (not possible in the Store for apps with purchases), thus it will still be published under my name. And if it is so, I have to be an active maintainer of it. And I cannot, since I no longer use Windows Phone and due to the other reasons above.

Can't you make the app free?

No, and I can explain why.

Every small purchase for the app that still happens does not go to me, it goes to my family. Even this small help is paying for medical bills of one of my close ones in an everyday fight with one of the worst diseases of our time. I'm super grateful to all the new supporters of the app and hope that they also enjoy the results of all the hard effort I've put into the app.

Can't you add proper support for Mi Band 3?

Unfortunately, no. I don't have time and inspiration to do all the reverse-engineering and testing for it, but the good news is that 90% of all the features for Mi Band 2 seem to work for Mi Band 3! So it is already supported in some sense.

How to contact you?

You can always reach out to me on Twitter. I will be happy to hear something good from you. If it is something bad you want to tell me, better keep it for yourself :)

I have a support question!

Please, go check out our updated Frequently Asked Questions page.

Any last words?

It was a truly amazing journey for me that started somewhere in February-March 2015. I've learned how to make from scratch a real useful product out there, used by thousands of people. Believe me, it was not an easy job, but how much fun it was! When I bought my very first Mi Band (still have it somewhere) I didn't know how it all would end (now I have probably 7 Mi Bands, ha!). You can only imagine how happy I was when I managed to make my first prototype app that could only read a number of steps walked. Then a first release happened and your feature requests were "sponsoring" my sleepless nights for a very long time :)

First of all, I would like to thank my wife Julia for understanding and support along all the way. You are amazing <3

Also, I would like to thank all the people who helped me to make the app with graphics, translations, bug reports and words of support. You are awesome and you should be feeling proud, you did great!

And, of course, I would like to thank you all for using "Bind Mi Band". Nothing of this would happen without you, my friends.

I hope, we will get a chance to meet through-code again in the future in some other products.


Happy New Year and Good Bye!


Sincerely yours,
Ian

8 comments:

  1. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

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  2. Thank you very much, Jan, this was and is a wonderful app! It is a pity that MS killed the platform. Anyway, it was more pleasant to use your product than the original on android! Thanks for all!
    Happy New Year!)

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  3. Спасибо за отличное приложение. Очень жаль что теперь оно не будет поддерживаться.

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  4. Me siento triste porque esta app era muy buena y que dejes de trabajar en ella nos demuestra la triste realidad de que nuestro sistema operativo móvil favorito está muriendo (o ya está muerto) lentamente.

    Gracias por todo tu trabajo.

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  5. Muchas gracias por tu trabajo, es una excelente aplicación a día de hoy y aunque intente 6 meses con Android con un Huawei P20 Pro regrese a Windows solo para encontrar esta triste noticia, ya estamos condenados a tal vez solo meses en nuestra querida plataforma, tal vez lo único que nos mantiene a día de hoy es el soporte de las aplicaciones de Facebook (Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp) y el día que estas dejen la plataforma todos la dejaremos también.

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  6. Thank you for your fantastic support over the years. This is the best mi band app across all platforms, and one of the most accurate too. I've just got a mi band 3 and yes, it does pair ok but I've lost the sleep heart rate, which is no big deal i guess. Thanks again. ��

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