January 6, 2020

First commits

Arnaud Joubay @sowenjub

I came up with the idea a bit before that, maybe a few days. It all started with me wanting to eat less meat because of a mix of ethical and ecological reasons.

After a couple of weeks trying to be careful, I realized 3 things. First, I was eating meat at every meal, sometimes not even paying attention to it because it was in small quantities (think bacon in a quiche). Second, it was hard to keep track of my efforts: because I didn't stop entirely, I wasn't sure if how much less meat I was eating.

That last part was a bit disheartening.

I wanted to track my meatless meals and imagined the most simple way to do so: an app that would push a notification every evening and ask me "Did you eat meat today?". To which I would answer by a simple "yes" or "no". I wouldn't even have to open the app if I didn't want to (I end up opening it daily just to check my cows, but it's unnecessary…)

I didn't (and still don't) care about the quantities. I consider that I am already complacent enough by not going 100% vegan, so I decided that just one bite of meat during a meal would make it count as "with meat".

And so I started to imagine an app from there, for myself because it would be so basic.

But I have a hard time not going the extra mile, so even if it was only for myself, I got a little be crazy.

I would get asked a question every day. But someone had to ask that question, it couldn't just come out of nowhere. So I invented Naomi the cow, as in Naomi't Today. She'd be my companion.

Seeing that same notification every day would be pretty boring, so I wanted to have a random message. And because I tend to be silly and like bad puns, it would be a silly sentence or a bad pun.

There had to be some sort of history to view my progress. I was heavily influenced by the Apple Watch rings, so I created a similar-looking view for history because I enjoyed it.

And since a simple total of how much meatless meals I had logged wasn't much fun, I imagined that you would get cows for not eating meals. But then, where would they show up? On a planet of course. And I would answer "yes" or "no" to the daily question by pushing planets.

And so the first commits reflected this:

  • First commit
  • Basic notification setup
  • Naomi Icon
  • Log from notification
  • Store daily sentence
  • Add history: fixed range of months
  • Infinite scrolling for history view
  • More silliness

My oldest log entry is Feb 1, which is probably the day I came up with the idea. My first commit was on Feb 2, 00:20 am. Yes, I love coding during the night.

I only worked on the first 2 commits on that Feb 2 night. It was enough for my MVP running. Of course, it wasn't fancy and at the time I wasn't sure I would ever release it.

It would take me more than 2.5 years to release a public version.

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