Burger Week is a Big Deal™ where I work and so for the last few years I've painstakingly extracted the list of burgers, put them into Google Sheets and then created maps (Sorry, I can't find the 2017 version I made) to make it easier for us to plan out which burgers we wanted to eat and record our experiences.
Some years I've had a few more burgers than my doctor would probably recommend...
Bottom line, I quite enjoy #LexingtonBurgerWeek.
For years, I've thought there should be an app for Burger Week and joked with my colleagues that I should just make one myself. As you may have guessed by the title of this blog post (or the image at the top, or by the fact you actually came here from the app)... this year I did it! 🎉
You might assume that I've been working on this for a while, that I approached the good people over at Smiley Pete months ago, that I spaced out the development over a sane period of time... You would be wrong. Instead I procrastinated, wouldn't commit, and generally was lazy until they released the list of burgers for 2019 (June 26th). The next morning I woke up early and got started on extracting all the burger information.
It's amazing what a hard deadline will do for productivity. I had early versions of the app up and running within 24 hours of the list being posted and was asking for help testing the app the day after that. I pushed my first version out to my friends (beta testers) on June 30th and immediately got a TON of extremely valuable feedback.
Honestly this app would not have been possible without the help of everyone who volunteered their time to test out the app. I got amazing feedback, suggestions, and bug reports. I would say I couldn't have paid for better help but I know some absolutely amazing QA people where I work so I know that's not strictly true but the sentiment remains. I have said it a number of times but I cannot say it enough: THANK YOU! If you helped test out the early versions of the app I could not have done this without your help. From the people who only opened the app 1 time, had it crash (and send me an automated report) to the people who tore the app apart looking for any and every rough edge to the people who actively (and succeeded) in trying to break it: THANK YOU.
Up until now I've only mentioned Smiley Pete (the company behind all these wonderful food events and more) in passing. I didn't leave out any details, it wasn't until this last Tuesday (July 2nd) that I finally reached out to them through a friend. There are a number of reason I waited so long, first and foremost I wanted something relatively polished before I talked to them. The other big reason was I had no idea how they would react. Would they be happy? Would they send me a cease and desist or DMCA letter? People can be weird sometimes so I was VERY apprehensive going into my meeting with them on Wednesday (July 3rd).
They were understandably wary at first, I mean they didn't know me from Adam and so it's not surprising they wanted to know what I wanted from them or what I expected in return. That answer was easy: Nothing. While I'm not in the habit of working for free (with the exception of open source) I created this app with zero expectation of compensation. It was, as corny as it may sound, a labor of love. Well.. equal parts that and scratching my own itch if I'm being honest.
Thankfully all my worrying had been for naught. After the initial feeling-out they were very excited about the possibility of having a "Lexington Burger Week App". They had a million (great) ideas for things they could do with an app and we had to pair down that list to a few basic changes that could be ready in time for this Burger Week. Listening to people play the "what if we..." game is actually a ton of fun for me, I love empowering ideas with technology and seeing people get excited at the possibilities is infectious.
Over the next 2 days I worked furiously on the changes they wanted pushing out testing build after testing build. My beta testers were the real MVP's here catching issues and giving feedback all along the way. I would like to apologize to the staff and designer at Smiley Pete, it was never my intention to throw extra work on your guys plate on a holiday 😬.
It was not all smooth sailing, I lost power July 3rd so had to cut my night short. I also had a lot of fun on July 4th when Apple's portal for managing/releasing apps decided to go down... Well that and about half of their cloud services. 🙄
I was sweating bullets that after all the hard work that I, the beta testers, and Smiley Pete staff had put in would be too little, too late and that we wouldn't be able to get the app released in time for burger week. 😥
I am proud to announce that we did make it! (Even if it was just by the skin of our teeth). Thanks for listening to my rambling. Go get the App and go eat some burgers!