Rapture In Venice, LLC – John Blanco

:: Freelance iOS and Xamarin Development

No Longer a Hybrid Mobile Developer And No Longer Gone Insane

It’s been about 15 months since I retired from Android so I think it’s time for an update to see how it’s gone, yeah?

Firstly, I’ll say that the response to that blog post was shocking. I had tons of comments/support/criticism from Reddit and Hacker News and I read all of it. Did I make the right choice I’d think to myself and I spent a day re-evaluating based on the feedback.

But, yeah, I haven’t written a single line of Android code since that day.

In the time since, I’ve noticed several changes to my life and well-being, so I’d call the decision a huge success, but there were a few cons, too. Let’s take a look at it all.

Pro: Staying focused on iOS has kept my skills strong and my mind “in the loop”

The primary reason I decided to quit Android is logically the biggest benefit I’ve had from it. After spending 5 or so years toggling between the two platforms, I found I was becoming decidedly “average” at both. My work life was a pendulum where I’d fall behind on the latest and greatest API for iOS and once I caught up I was missing the must-have libraries for Android and, oh by the way, what’s this Kotlin thing?

That’s gone away now. I always feel like I’m progressing in my iOS development skills and keeping up to date with the latest Swift-iness and I’m always improving on how I architect my iOS apps. I can stay focused now.

This was the biggest reason and biggest benefit by far.

Pro: Less clutter

I’m a clean guy. I try to write clean, pretty code. (I was featured in a chapter of Clean Coder by Uncle Bob as a matter of fact.) I maintain a library of tech books to try to not only keep up to date on things but review what’s in the past to pick up on concepts I’ve missed or simply to refresh myself. (I always recommend reading a new iOS How-To book every year.)

The day I quit Android I deleted Android Studio, all my SDK stuff, put my dev phones away, put my Android books in storage, deleted my Android-related Kindle books, and even put my Droid toys somewhere else. Everything around me is iOS and it’s so clean.

And, oh the extra space on my laptop.

Con: Less contract work available

Also an expected consequence, this was the one thing that kept me from making the switch to iOS-only for months (if not years) previously.

And it’s held true.

Over the past year I’ve had to turn down work twice from previous clients because they only had Android work for me. If you’re a contract, you know how hard this is to do! I could’ve caved, but I stood firm and have had consistent work, but I’ll be honest there’s been moments where it’s gotten very hard to find something and it’s led to some sleepless nights.

If I was working on both platforms I’d have twice the work available to me.

Pro: Don’t Need to buy Android devices anymore

I’ve had four Android devices in my lifetime: a Nexus S, Nexus 4, S6 Edge+, and a tablet I can’t even recall what model at the moment. In general, I disliked all of ithem except the Edge+ which was my carry-along phone for about 10 months. The irony is that I started carrying that phone at a time when I was thinking of being a devoted *Android* developer. 2.5 months later I was done with Android completely.

Less devices to buy means more money available for…Nintendo products. :-) OK, and iPhones. (But really, Nintendo.)

Con: I don’t feel cool anymore

There was a time years ago when a developer who could do both iOS and Android was pretty rare. I was proud to be one of the few. Being able to talk to a client about both their platforms at once was invigorating and surely came off as a perk. “We have one guy who can handle both our apps,” they’d say and I even had a few clients where I did product work on both sides at once.

I sorely miss being that cool and now I’m just an iOS guy. Mind you, I still talk about Android whenever I can, but I know as time goes by I’ll be further and further out of date with things and then I’ll feel like I do now when I try to talk Perl.


Pro: Time for my kids, my wife, and a healthy work-life balance

Isn’t this what it’s all about? I don’t have to tend to two different sets of dev conferences. I don’t have to study how tables work for two different platforms, I don’t have to have two sets of network libraries in my head at a given time…and lord knows 4 languages: Objective-C, Swift, Java, and Kotlin.

I have more free time to just have fun.

And for that, I’m happy with the choice I made and confident it was the right one now and in the future!

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John Blanco

John Blanco is a freelance iOS and Xamarin developer living in Lakewood, CO. He's been developing mobile apps for 10 years, beginning in the medieval days of Java ME and Blackberry, making him the ultimate hipster mobile engineer. Follow him on Twitter!

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