How Apple’s pricing works for digital goods and designing the Touchgram Currency within those constraints.

Coming soon for Touchgram is one of the most important features of the app — the marketplace where you can buy and sell digital goods. These range from single images or sounds all the way to fully-composed greeting cards just waiting for you to customise.

We have to sell those using Apple’s In-App Purchase (IAP) system.

Developers live somewhat in fear of Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines which rule what’s allowed in apps and the websites associated with them. The payments section includes these very clear and strict rules.


The Dilemma for Creative Products, that also hits Touchgram

Photo by Bryson Hammer on Unsplash which called to me. It captures the NFT/blockchain issues of “weakest link” with feeling pulled in multiple directions.

By now, it seems everyone in the tech world has seen the term NFT. It’s certainly hard to miss on social media. If you haven’t or are a bit unsure, I’ve a longer reading list at the end of this article.

Summary and 2 minute audio version available courtesy r/MyFirstNFT

An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a combination of three things:

  1. An entry on a blockchain (not the blockchain) — Ethereum and Tezos being two commonly used.
  2. An associated piece of metadata, probably a JSON document, hosted somewhere on a cloud or other addressable service, pointed to by an address in…

Hey Avi, thanks for the thoughtful response on Touchgram.

Design in a separate app is certainly possible. Working within the constraints of iMessage is actually a burden not a benefit. What happens in Touchgram is a pure native app, just inside a bounding environment that gives us about 90% of the screen.

It has always been the intent that there be multiple apps and different user experiences especially for young children - that will be part of the Android version. There's no way I intended this first version to be used by naive users. …


The control Apple imposes on all iMessage apps that can spoil your experience

The problem with our Touch Sensor editor

This is a portion of the Sense Touch editor in Touchgram, an app for creating interactive messages.

If you’re not familiar with Touchgram, you can download it from the App store. Most of the experience is within Apple’s Messages app and you can also install Touchgram from within Messages. If someone sends you a Touchgram and you’ve not yet installed the app, Apple provide a link in the message bubble.

Touchgram (v1.2) is affected by a problem that is imposed on all iMessage apps.

I call it the corner of doom.


The news is, “there is no news”.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

WWDC, Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference is a scary time for anyone doing abnormal things in the iOS ecosystem. There’s the usual technical deluge of new goodies, expected, leaked and possibly completely blind-siding.

There’s not really anything “abnormal” about Touchgram, unless you count my weird sense of humour behind some of the examples. (Most of which you will never, ever see, cue dark Steven King chuckle…).

But we undoubtedly push a few boundaries, in that the Messages SDK used by Touchgram is a bit of an outlier. Not many apps provide a custom experience…


A tech inspiration story

There’s a foot in Touchgram.

It’s there as a sample in the Faves section — you can go ahead and tickle the foot and hear a young Mom giggling.

The story behind that foot example needs telling, to more than the few people I’ve mentioned it to face-to-face. It was one of my best moments, as a startup founder, of shutting up and listening.

In Perth, Western Australia, we have a fortnightly Meetup called Morning Startup. Founders come to hear speakers on startup-relevant topics and pitch, formally to the crowd or just in-person. People who are just interested in the…


It took someone holding up an unreadable phone for me to realise I’d missed something important.

User screenshot in Dark Mode

I had a very galling moment during a video chat amongst founders. One of them installed Touchgram and then asked me to explain why he couldn’t use the app — he couldn’t see anything.

I thought he’d run into the typical confusion — people forget that Touchgram is primarily an iMessage extension. The app is there just for settings and linking to the privacy and other policies. Then he sent me a screenshot. Yep, that very one you see at the top of this article.

I was horrified to see that the Touchgram user interface was impossible to read- there…


The stories behind the creative messaging app.

Family photos — a young couple in love, on their dream farm, talking to Grandma after her return to the UK

My father chased a dream around the world. He wanted to breed and train racehorses. In England, that was a class-based occupation, like much of their society in the 1960's.

So, in 1970, he went to Western Australia, with his wife and two young sons.

Fifteen years later, my younger brother decided to go back to England. He didn’t bother becoming an Australian citizen before he left. It seemed like a waste of $75 and time for a teenager who regarded himself as Australian. Family connections interested him, along with many craggy mountains. …


The stories behind the creative messaging app.

Photo of inspirational books and touch-oriented devices

There’s a long history of creative tech behind Touchgram.

I fell in love with Apple’s HyperCard

In my first year of studying engineering, I was also introduced to the world of programming. My fellow engineering student was a member of the deeply-distracting UWA Computer Club. He had benefited from a high-school introduction to programming, rare in the late 70’s. He was an utter language geek. So I learned about BASIC, APL, Forth and Smalltalk all at once. I didn’t get to program in the more exotic languages. …


The most-Australian-TV-show-ever made me think about all the things that could have gone far worse

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

I got chills, watching the amazing, and challenging, Australian series Taboo. If you get a chance, watch it. A comedian interviews people dealing with chronic disease, disability, or facing death. Somehow, they find a way to laugh about it all.

If you ever wanted to understand an Australian, watch this show. The first few seconds from the trailer says it all:

Trailer and first episode of Taboo

Episode four features people with major disabilities, mostly from accidents.

I’ve had a couple of, in retrospect, very near-misses in the last decade. In alternate universes, I’m living as a quadriplegic or dead.

Andy Dent

Touchgram interactive messaging CEO/Founder looking for art, sound & advertising partners. Martial artist. Parent of adults. Coder & designer 30+yrs. Australian

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