Open Source Apps

One of the very exciting trends I’ve been seeing recently is the open sourcing of actual iOS/OSX apps. Here are a few examples (feel free to add more in the comments):

  • Artsy: Explore, collect, and share more than 100,000 high-resolution artworks
  • Gulps: An iOS and Apple Watch app for keeping track of your daily water consumption.
  • Project-RainMan: Open Source Weather App created with Swift and powered by Forecast.io
  • PebCiti: A simple iOS app to show the nearest available CitiBike NYC dock on your Pebble (opportunity here to contribute a Watch App version)
  • Parties for WWDC: WWDC hit parties app
  • WWDC: WWDC app for OS X
  • WatchSnake: A clone of the game Snake for Watch (don’t think it’s going in the app store, but I really enjoyed playing it on my wrist anyway)

I like to track my daily water consumption, so when I got my Apple Watch, I immediately downloaded Gulps. However, there were a few small things that bothered me about the Gulps Watch App. As a developer, I, of course, would normally just start working on my own app that is only slightly different than the other app – I just want that one feature!

Well, since Gulps is open source, I just went ahead and submitted the fixes to the two things that bothered me most. And voilà, the changes have been merged!

I cannot overstate how empowering it is to contribute to an existing app I actually use. The small changes I made will be in the App Store, and I didn’t have to go through the whole process of creating a whole new app, just to most likely quit finishing it because I don’t have time to finish / maintain it in the long run.

Of course open sourcing your app is not something that’s possible for a lot of companies or startups, but if you have a passion project that you’re doing just for fun, consider open sourcing it! We as a community, can create powerful and beautiful apps together.

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