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Remote Messaging in Fin 4.3

I’ll be honest: when I added remote connectivity to Fin in version 4, I wasn’t sure how many people would actually use the feature. I just thought it would be a cool thing to have, and I wanted to learn how to work with Apple’s MultipeerConnectivity APIs.

All of my side projects have been about learning something, after all.

But to my surprise, a number of my customers do seem to like connecting two or more iOS devices together while running timers.

Recently, I received a support request for an additional feature: While connected, wouldn’t it be cool to send a quick text-based message to the other devices? That way, you could signal to someone performing on stage, for instance, that there was an important announcement, or something to that effect.

Not a bad idea.

So I went to work on getting that to happen. Since all the networking infrastructure was already done, it actually turned out to be more of a user experience problem than anything else. Where should the messaging UI live in the app, and how should it appear on screen? Those were the two hardest issues to tackle. The rest was just packaging up a string and sending it over to the other device(s).

After some experimentation and refinement, I managed to get something really simple and cool up and running. And so starting today with the latest update on the App Store, Fin can now be used to send notes to connected devices.

Type in a quick message, send it, and the connected devices on your network will display the message full screen for five seconds. Fin remembers the five most recent messages you’ve sent, so you can access them with a single tap, in case you often find yourself telling your performers the same thing. You can even send emoji in messages, if you want.

While I was at it, I improved the workflow for changing the end message that appears when the timer runs out using the same controller. Here, too, you will see the five most recent messages you’ve set. It’s a part of the user experience I’ve been less than thrilled about for a long time, so I was glad to improve it in this version.

Fin 4.3 is now available on the App Store.