Yesterday Marcel and I launched cite, a small iOS app for creating textshots. Textshots became a thing on Twitter in the last months, when people started to post screenshots containing little text snippets of articles they wanted to share. Marcel contacted me in the beginnig of the year and asked if I would be interested in building a small app/service which allows you to do the same - but easier and more beautiful. We already worked together on QUOTE.fm in the past, which was based on the same idea: Share articles worth reading together with a quote you find the most interesting. As I still liked this concept in general and the idea for cite was to do it in a much simpler and smaller way it didn't take long until I started with the development of the iOS app.
Building an iOS share extension
A simple backend with Parse
For the first version of cite we only planned to allow the user to share a cite with the extension and to see your already created textshots inside the app (otherwise the app itself would not have any functionality at all, which is probably not allowed by Apple). As we wanted to store the cites of the user somewhere connected to your account and also have the possibilty to integrate things like showing all cites of people you follow on Twitter or something like this, we decided to build a small backend with Parse. I never used Parse before and I am still very happy with the choice because until now everything worked exactly like I would expect it. I just added the library to the iOS project and some minutes later we had a working Twitter login. Creating custom models and saving data was also very straightforward. In the end I also integrated the analytics and crashreporting functionality, so that we now have everything together in one place. If you need a simple backend for your app and don't want to think too much about it I would really recommend to have a look at Parse. The price for using it is also extremely low with lots of free requests and data storage. Without being too pessimistic about the success of cite I don't expect to exceed the free limits anytime soon.
If you didn't download cite yet, now is the perfect time to do it. Here is an example of a textshot created with cite: