As developers, we often find ourselves immersed in a world of code, building innovative solutions and applications for others. However, our personal projects and side hustles tend to remain in the shadows, never quite making it to the spotlight. I, too, have experienced this phenomenon, but today marks a significant change in that narrative.
Celebrating a Milestone
I am thrilled to announce that the first version of my independent app is now live on both Google Play and the Apple Store! This journey, filled with challenges, learning, and perseverance, has taken six years and four complete rebuilds to transform my initial idea into a tangible product that users can now enjoy.
The Evolution of a Dream
The project began in 2018 as a Vue.js website, interfacing with an on-premises .NET API that utilized static JSON files. Despite developing two versions of the Vue site, the project came to a halt as I faced industry restrictions that prevented access to crucial data. However, the dream was far from over.
Rekindling the Flame
Fast forward to this year, I decided to pick up the project once again, this time opting for .NET MAUI. Unfortunately, this experience was less than stellar, leading to another pivot in the development process. That’s when I discovered Flutter, and everything changed.
Flutter, with its Dart programming language, offered a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on app development. The app transitioned into a Flutter/Dart application, backed by a .NET API, but with a modern twist — microservices architecture. Flutter’s consistency across iOS and Android, coupled with its functionality, stood in stark contrast to my previous experiences with other frameworks (I’m looking at you, MAUI).
The journey doesn’t end here; there are numerous features and enhancements in the pipeline to make Gocation even more robust and user-friendly:
- Enhanced Destination Insights: Dive deep into your dream destinations with enriched content, hidden gems, and local secrets.
- Global Destination Explorer: Explore every corner of the globe with our expanded destination library.
- Hotel Price Scout: Find the best deals for your stay with transparent pricing and a variety of options.
- Flight Finder: Tailor your flight search to your exact preferences with our Flight Finder.
- Airport Atlas: Navigate the world’s airports with ease and access essential travel information.
- Local Adventures Awaits: Discover exciting activities and attractions wherever you are.
- Personal Travel Hub: Plan and share your travel dreams, favourite spots, and trip details.
- Smart Trip Planner: Maximise your vacation time with personalised itineraries.
- My Journey Journal: Track your travels, reminisce on past trips, and plan your next adventure.
- Airport-to-Hotel Navigator: Discover the best transportation options from the airport to your hotel.
- Virtual Concierge: Get personalised recommendations and local insights with our Virtual Concierge.
- Gocation Dashboard: Access all features, plan your trip, and explore destinations from our home page.
During the development I had an avid Alpha and Beta testing team, made up of random users from different walks of life, and they requested additional features, they include:
- Specific Airport Destinations: Explore destinations directly reachable from your preferred airport.
- Share Your Story: Join the Gocation community, write reviews, and share your experiences.
- Flexible Date Explorer: Search for adventures within selected date ranges with our Flexible Date Explorer.
I believe in the power of community and user-driven innovation. If you have an idea for a new feature or an improvement, don’t hesitate to share it with me. Your input can be invaluable in shaping the future of Gocation.
I am proud to share the fact I finally delivered something for myself and not a client, and I invite you to check out the app via the website: https://gocation.vacations/.
Your feedback is invaluable, whether you love it or hate it, and I would be grateful for a five-star rating to help boost the app’s visibility and success.
This journey from concept to reality has been anything but straightforward. It has taught me more about adaptability, and the importance of finding the right tools for the job.
Flutter has proven to be a game-changer, and I am excited about the future enhancements and features already planned for the app.
As for today, I celebrate not just the launch of an app, but the breaking of a personal barrier, proving that side projects can indeed see the light of day.