Thomas Schmidt

My personal projects

On this page I list some of my fun personal projects. I like working on my projects, and I have a lot of projects going on, they all take a lot of time. Right now I have so many projects that I'm working on, that I try to stay focussed on one project at a time. The projects below are the ones I enjoyed most:

Pigeons

Communication between people is getting faster and faster, and the reason for that is technology. As we all know, sending a message in the past could take days with mail. Nowadays, the same message can be delivered in a fraction of a second. Unfortunately, this technological wonder also has a downside, it doesn't have the same personal feeling as with sending a real physical letter. Messages get shorter and less personal, because sending messages doesn't cost that much of an effort. With the app Pigeons, you can create your own personal letter, and send it to a close friend. A virtual pigeon will deliver it, meaning that it would take a lot longer for a friend that lives far away. This makes it great for sending messages between close friends, lovers or family.

Right now we are in beta testing, I think it needs a bit more content to be really fun. I hope to release it this summer! It can be found on Google Play as soon as it's done.

Planets

During the summer of 2014, my good friend Martin showed me his planet simulator written in MATLAB. I told him that I could rebuild the program with Java in 4 hours. At the end of the afternoon, we had a working planet simulator with Java using Swing. But now we wanted to turn it into a game. We decided to go with the libGDX framework instead of using Swing, because I have used libGDX before, and I think it's awesome. You can develop multi-platform, using Java and Gradle, and the framework has loads of functionality that is needed for games. This way we could develop the game a lot faster.

The game will be released for Windows/Mac/Linux and Android/iOS. Right now, it has 8 levels, multi-platform multiplayer support, and AI. I think it will be released by the end of this year.

iOStoAndroid

This project is really experimental, as I like to experiment. I sometimes wonder if it would be possible to create a program that could transform native iOS apps into native Android apps. At school I learned a lot about ANTLR and using lexical parsers, so I thought it should be possible to make. After a couple of evenings of development, it is possible to convert XCassets to Android drawables, convert some basic parts of the Storyboard to XML layout files, and to convert some basic code from Objective-C to Java.

What I found out was that it could be useful for the beginning of porting an app from iOS to Android. Converting images is pretty trivial to automate, Storyboards are a bit harder to convert, but converting the code itself will require a huge amount of development time to get it right. You would have to convert every single API from the iOS SDK, and convert it to its equivalent in the Android SDK. What happens when there is a new version of the SDK, or what if Apple invents a new language for their SDK?

City viewer

I am a big fan of Simcity 4, which is basically a city builder game where you can create cities in big regions. Once, I was messing around with the save files, and I found out that these files contain thumbnails of the cities. So what I wanted to do was to make an app that shows the whole region in one picture. The only problem was that the files were stored on the computer, not on the phones. So I made a Dropbox integration in the app, and users would have to save their regions to Dropbox. Which is a good thing, because it would backup their cities, and they could share it it their friends. The app became pretty popular, after a year it has been downloaded 50,000 times. However, many users thought it was a game, and were upset by it. So I took the decision of putting the app offline.

Andrest

In 2011, my friend Tijmen asked me if I could develop an app for a restaurant to automate the order process. Being a student and young, I immediately said yes. My friend arranged a physical server, phones for the waiters, and a receipts printer, so I could focus on the software. After 3 months we had a great complete order processing product. The waiter could log in, order food or drinks, send it to the kitchen, or print out the receipt. Unfortunately the owner went bankrupt just before we wanted to launch it.

Bierbase.nl

When I was studying, I was exploring different languages and frameworks. I found out that PHP was one of the most used languages for web development. I started developing a Dutch website for people who want to rate their beers. It was made using the PHP framework CodeIgnitor. First using plain HTML/CSS, but after a year, I rewrote it later using Bootstrap v1. The website is still live, you can find it at Bierbase.nl, please mind that it can be a bit rough around the edges. It would needs some fine tuning, as some links are dead. Also it could use a graphical redesign.