Hi there, nice to meet you! Let us introduce ourselves: we’re Shifty Jelly, an Adelaide based mobile and web development company. We currently have four staff who make and support neat products like Pocket Casts and Pocket Weather. We’ve been mentioned in parliamentary speeches on innovation, received a Google design award, and we write really silly product release notes (sorry (not sorry)).
Our products are growing faster than we can code, which is why we need a new server-side developer who has experience in both Java and Ruby on Rails.
It’s a full-time permanent role.
You’ll be working with our whole team in our (soon to be) renovated Adelaide office and you’ll maintain our web products, including the server back ends for both Pocket Casts and Pocket Weather, as well as some front ends like our Pocket Casts web player.
We have a couple of requirements, and we’re pretty bullish on these so please only apply if you meet all of them:
- You must reside in South Australia and be able to commute to Adelaide daily (we’ll let you have the weekend off).
If this sounds like you, then by all means, read on. If it doesn’t, then know that we still love you, but this isn’t the role for you.
We’d like you to also have experience in Linux servers, VPS hosting and setup and scaling web servers and databases to cope with millions of requests per day.
Why you want to work here
Shifty Jelly is a unique kind of app developer, one of only a handful in Australia, in that we develop our own products rather than doing client work. This means that we choose our own destiny, we spend time improving our products, and they reach millions of people around the globe. We like to think that we’re also a pretty fun and happy team, but we’ll let you decide that for yourself.
How to apply
Send us an email explaining why you want to work at Shifty Jelly, and attach a resume that shows us what you can do. You can address that to email@example.com. If you sound like a good fit, we’ll call you for an interview. Please don’t stress about a fancy suit, we’re not that kind of company.
Cast your mind back to April of 2015. What exactly where you doing? I’m guessing most of you have no idea, but I know exactly what I was doing. I was deep into planning Pocket Casts 6.0 and Pocket Weather 5.0 updates for our iOS apps with my Co-Founder Philip. We spent many long days (and plenty of nights) meticulously planning what would go into each one, and when we could expect them to ship. After the planning was finished we realised one really obvious thing: if we wanted to ship either of these apps before the year was out, we’d have to hire another developer. We heard rumours of some things that were coming to iOS 9 in a few months time and we knew that Swift was maturing. We also knew that both of these iOS apps (one which started in 2008, the other in 2010) were in need of a low level overhaul.
Let me back up a little bit. At the time we were a company of 4 people. A designer, Chris. A support and administration officer, Monica and two developers, myself and Philip. I was responsible for all of our iOS apps, as well as occasionally doing some of the lower components in our Android apps. Philip is our Android developer and he also works on all our server infrastructure.
So back to April of 2015: it was clear that to overhaul both Pocket Weather and Pocket Casts would take at least 2 developers, not only that but we’d need talented ones. Jokes about me aside, we began searching for the right developer to join us. As luck would have it, it turned out that Jeff Tan-Ang was available so we convinced him to come and join us. Our plan was simple, but ambitious. Jeff would work on Pocket Weather, pressing the reset button and building it 100% in Apple’s new programming language Swift, iOS 9 and using all the latest frameworks at our disposal. We’d incorporate a Today Widget, Watch app & complication, iPhone 6 and 6Plus screen size support and biggest of all iPad split-screen multi-tasking. For the non-developers out there, that’s a lot of work, but we felt confident Jeff could finish it in 4 or so months.
Meanwhile, and in parallel, I’d be building out Pocket Casts 6.0. In this case it was a matter of refining the existing code base rather than rebuilding it from scratch. I also decided to build all the new functionality in Swift to give us a bit more future proofing. We wanted both of these products to go for another 3-4 years based on these changes we were making, so getting everything in order was our priority.
When I returned from WWDC in June of 2015, the work began in earnest. Jeff began working full time on Pocket Weather and I had already met with some Apple Core Audio Engineers to refine our Android volume boost and silence removal features and bring them to iOS. The core of our new playback engine was coming together nicely, so I began putting in place the groundwork for all the other Pocket Casts changes I needed to make. It’s an obvious thing in hindsight, but in both cases we under-estimated just how much there would be to do, and also how long it takes to get things working to a level that we’re happy with and proud of. Anyone can ship an app the second a piece of functionality is added, but we have higher standards than that. We want everything to work, and work seamlessly. So during the next few months we’d build prototypes of new things, refine them, then add them to the app. We’d build and rebuild so many different bits of each app as we deployed them to phones and tested them out.
Fast forward to September and things seemed to be tracking well. Both Pocket Weather and Pocket Casts were cruising along, and we felt fairly confident in our estimates. So we did what any tech company does in this case, we published a blog post. In it we (foolishly, in hindsight) said we’d ship both Pocket Casts and Pocket Weather before 2015 was done. There was a real buzz at Shifty Jelly, this was going to be an awesome set of releases!
Then, the inevitable happened. Pocket Weather development was slowing down as we were realising just how many things the old app did that the new one didn’t yet do. There was also the matter of taking an app that really was a completely different iPhone and iPad interface and trying to meld those into something coherent. In hindsight leaving iPad development until this point was a huge mistake. We had to rework so many things to get split screen multi-tasking to work, and it introduced so many new and crazy bugs. We now had a decision to make: we promised both of these apps before the year was out, it was clear that we couldn’t get both of them out the door. It was a hard decision to make, but in the end we decided that Pocket Weather was the app that was most in need of an update, so I joined Jeff and began working full time on that. Obviously at this time Pocket Casts development ground to a halt.
By November of 2015 Pocket Weather was really shaping up. There were still bugs left, and bits of functionality we hadn’t added yet but the huge array of things we had (Today Widget, Watch App, Watch Glance, Watch Complication, iPad Multitasking, Bigger iPhone support, day/night themes) were coming together nicely. We still had a problem though. Even with Jeff and I working full time on the app, we realised that it was still possible that we might miss the mid-December cut off for submitting apps to the Apple App Store. Now we had to make another decision: to remove some things from the app, or to delay it even further. We were feeling the heat from our customer base, who were all extremely eager to get their hands on the app. Rightly so as well, we’d told them it was coming in an official post. So we decided to remove a few features and try to ship the app before our self-imposed deadline. The dedicated iPad interface was dropped (in favour of the iPhone one scaling up and down based on how you used multi-tasking) and other features like the night theme where also removed.
By December of 2015 we had an app that we were really proud of. It looked and worked so much better than the old one, and we’d at least met one deadline. We had a dedicated group of around 50 beta testers that weren’t reporting as many issues with it as they were in previous builds so we had a high degree of confidence that it was stable and ready to go. If we’re being honest we still had some concerns about it not being in beta testing for long enough, but as the end of the year loomed large we submitted the app. We were ecstatic, to work so long and so hard on something, and to finally see it ship is a great feeling. It was approved by Apple days later and it went live in the store.
As the feedback started pouring in though, we realised we’d made a huge mistake. The app had shipped with bugs that neither we nor our beta testers had found. Our customers were furious about the lack of a dedicated iPad interface. To make matters worse, Jeff had been offered a job at Apple. Now Jeff is an amazing guy, he told us he was applying for that job before he came to work for us, and even asked for our permission to do so. We of course told him to follow his dreams and see where they lead. So this is in no way his fault, but we’d now lost him as a future resource for bug fixes. Jeff had, however, graciously agreed to give us more of his time than we’d originally planned, so that we could fix the bugs and get out a more stable build. So 5.0.1 and 5.1 where born. Meanwhile, our Pocket Casts customers were naturally curious about where the update was, so we decided to give them something, a sign up form for the beta which we’d start in the new year. It wasn’t the update we’d promised, but it was something at least.
After the holiday period, we regrouped in January. Jeff would spend as much time as he could give us working on version 5.2, which added a dedicated full screen iPad interface, and I went back to work on Pocket Casts. We started inviting the first few hundred beta testers into the Pocket Casts beta and that app started to tick along once again. In February we waved goodbye to Jeff as he flew to America, and I spent a few weeks finishing and testing Pocket Weather in anticipation of a 5.2 release in March. All the while though, I lost a lot of sleep knowing that Pocket Casts while it was still moving, must look to the outside world as if we’d abandoned it completely. We wrestled with how much or how little to share with our customers, knowing that we’d already made the mistake of telling them a ship date, then missing that date. So we made the difficult decision of taking Pocket Weather 5.2 down to 1 day a week, with Pocket Casts taking up the other 4. Happily it worked, a full day on Pocket Weather saw 5.2 come together and ship in April, to the delight of so many of our customers. Our rating went from an average of 1.5 stars, to a 4.5 average overnight. It was a huge relief to see that turn around. We’re not done with the app yet of course, but most of you are probably here to find out when Pocket Casts is due!
Well, the beta is looking great, I’ve been running it now for at least 3 months, adding features and cleaning things up as they are reported and we find things that need tweaking. We’ve had some amazing feedback from our beta testers (we’re full, please don’t ask to join, sorry) that has helped shape some things that we’d normally ship, then refine, to being able to refine before we ship. I’m working on it full time now, 5 days a week. When will it be out? When it’s ready. That answer may sound arrogant or aloof, but all we’re promising from here on out is that we’ll work on it until we’re happy with it. Then we’ll spend a long time testing it and once it’s damn near perfect, that’s when it will ship. I know some of you want to hear that it’s out today, I’m sorry. It is however being worked on today, and tomorrow, and every day after that until it’s ready. It’s our core focus, our singular mission. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to coding. See you on the other side!
Welcome to the Pocket Weather Autumn update!
We know a lot of you have been eagerly awaiting this update to see where we took it and how we could take your feedback on board. We’d also like to thank all those people that joined our Beta Program and have provided us with bug reports and improvement ideas over the last few months.
But let’s talk about some of the big improvements, first on the iPad:
We’ve been hard at work on a brand new interface that utilises the space available on your iPad so that you can get to all your data without having to drill down into it. At the top you’ll find the timeline card which now shows you full weather information at a glance. Below it all the observational data you could ever need. Below those the full graph, radar and tidal information for your location. You can also turn any of these cards on or off, or even re-arrange them to suit your needs. Split screen support is still there, and the interface will intelligently adapt to whatever size you choose.
And of course there’s the iPhone as well. Here we’ve redesigned the header to make information more easily accessible and easier to read. We’ve improved the speed at which the app opens and the speed it refreshes at. We’ve fixed bugs like the Today Widget not updating sometimes. We’ve gone through all the automated crash reports we receive and fixed those issues one by one as well.
Overall it’s a smoother, nicer weather experience that you can enjoy as the temperatures start to dip in our great southern land. Once again to our Beta testers we say thanks for helping us get this release ready. To our loyal customers we say thanks for your constructive feedback and for holding us to the high standard we’ve always set for ourselves. And more importantly to you all, go enjoy some of the nice weather headed our way.
This update means that we are now able to turn our full attention to the long awaited Pocket Casts iOS update, with small, incremental updates to Pocket Weather going forward. Everybody wins! 🎉
The first update for Pocket Casts Android is out. Version 5.3 brings a host of fixes and even a few features to make the app even better.
The full change log:
- You can now filter episodes by time. In the filter settings page there is a new option called “Released in the last” which you can set to 24 hours, 3 days, 1 week etc. We have changed the episode filters new users will have and this update will also add them to your list of filters.
- Marshmallow Auto Backup feature added so if you have app backups turned on (System Settings app -> Backup & reset) it will backup your Pocket Casts settings and database so after restoring a phone your app should look a lot more like it did.
- Switched to Marshmallow permissions. We now only have one permission that requires user approval, the storage permission. The app will only ask for permission for this if you change your storage location to a custom folder.
- Stats page data is now included in your sync account so if you reinstall they aren’t lost. The stats page is now a summary of stats across all your devices.
- Improved switching to a custom location so it picks up any existing episode files in the new location.
- Improved the search for podcast interface.
- Improved voice control. Give these a try after you have said “OK Google”
“Listen to PODCAST NAME in Pocket Casts”
“Listen to PLAYLIST NAME in Pocket Casts”
“Listen to Up Next in Pocket Casts”
- New discover Nearby animation.
- Added a message for the podcast grid if you don’t have any podcasts.
- Faster podcast unsubscribe.
- Fixed issues with video player in landscape.
- Fixed mailto linking in show notes so it opens your mail client with all the fields populated.
- Fixed sync issue with very old starred episodes.
- Fixed the episode time left not updating in the list when returning to the app
- Emojis are now supporting in the show notes and episode titles.
- Lots of little fixes
Fresh from Shifty Jelly HQ to you, Pocket Weather 5 arrives on Android.
Some of the highlights include:
- Design refresh which brings our app into the colourful and amazing world of Material Design.
- Dark Theme! Almost anyone you bump into with an Android phone will tell you the amazing virtues of dark themes on OLED screens. By default it will auto switch to being dark after sunset, but you can also change it manually as well.
- 2016 tides, because fishing, diving, boating and general water activities shouldn’t be left in 2015.
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow support, mmmm, so good, roasted on the bonnet of my Mitsubishi wagon…
- Lots of other small tweaks and improvements, my personal favourite being the new week overview graph. Hint: When the dots go red, it’s time to huddle in your air-conditioned homes and offices.
Thanks for all your feedback to date, we’ve been reading it all and making improvements to the app based on it. This update is mainly a bug fix and minor update release, but rest assured that there are bigger updates to come. The iPad interface in particular is something we intend to focus on. We intend to roll those out slowly and deliberately with lots of testing rather than rushing them out before the holiday break.
Some highlights for this release:
- Added ‘Graph Feels Like’ option in settings for those that are into that
- Added current temperature reading to the location list
- Current temperature on the main screen now has 1 decimal point
- Fixed an issue where turning on bold text would cause some temps to not be displayed. You can now turn Bold back on in your accessibility settings if you’ve turned it off to get them to appear.
- Fixed issues with the warning icon and accessibility settings
- Fixed app icon badge not updated properly when you close the app
- Fixed crashes related to re-ordering locations
- Fixed an issue where the warning icon would wander off down the page. No idea why but it really didn’t want to be in the top right. Rebels are like that sometimes.
- Fixed performance issues with older iOS devices
- Tweaked the order of the layers on the radar card so that important things are still visible when it’s raining
- Warnings can now be opened directly from a notification, also fixed issues with loading of warnings
- Drastically reduced memory usage of the app
- Tide height now updates as you scroll the tide graph
- Lots of other small performance fixes and improvements
We hope you enjoy 5.1, and your holiday break. We’ll see you all in the new year!
It doesn’t feel like that long ago but in mid September we published this in a blog post:
Timing wise it will also ship this year, but we’re keeping the date a secret until just before launch.
Since then a lot of you have been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for this release, and we know the clock is ticking. So today we have some news for you all!
As you’ve guessed, we haven’t been able to finish the app in time to make the end of year cut-off. Delays to our other app that we shipped last week, Pocket Weather, spilled over into delays for Pocket Casts. This is, alas, how software development often goes.
That said we don’t intend to leave you empty handed. You’ve all waited too long, and hassled us (in the nicest possible ways) too much. So we’re going to let 100 lucky people into our TestFlight beta that we’re prepping. The beta will be available next week. You can register here http://play.pocketcasts.com/ios/beta. We’ll notify you if you get accepted and you get to be part of shaping the future of our iOS app. No pressure.
It doesn’t seem that long ago, but back in 2008 we shipped version 1.0 of Pocket Weather. It was a different time for Shifty Jelly, just two guys working from their respective couches at night on a fun app. Fast forward to 2015 and the anticipation has been building. The iPhone 6 Plus is out with its giant new screen. Apple Watch is out, a brand new way to get data on the go. The iPad now supports split-screen so you can work better than ever before. You, our beloved customers have been asking us for a while now if we intend to support all these new shiny devices you’ve been buying. Well we have a very clear answer for you today: HECK YEAH! Introducing Pocket Weather 5.
The first and most important point: this is a free update to all existing customers. We know you’ve been patiently waiting for it and we don’t intend to add insult to injury by asking you to pay again.
This app has been completely rebuilt from the ground up using the latest technologies from Apple. That’s not the quickest way to do things, but we believe it makes for the best app experience. If you want to build an app that stands the test of time you need to move with the times. That’s why Pocket Weather Australia 5 is iOS 9 only, and written almost entirely in Apple’s new language, Swift.
Simpler Than Ever
We’ve refined every part of the interface to try and surface all the information you need in ways that the previous version just can’t match. Our core focus was showing you today’s details and the week ahead when you open the app, without you having to perform a single tap.
Of course all the detail you’ve come to expect from Pocket Weather is still there. Swipe up or down to see various bits of information and tap into any card you want to see more detail on. We’ve worked hard on our visualisations as well, meaning getting a glimpse of what the weather is going to be like for that all important weekend is easier to see than ever.
We’ve even sweated the small details. In the previous version you had to pull up your location list to see other weather locations, now they are all just a swipe away.
Watch This Space
The second we put Apple watches on our wrists, we realised we wanted weather on there. You want to wake up in the morning and decide what to wear. Glance at it during the day before heading out to lunch and take a quick peek as you’re having dinner to figure out how cold it’s going to be overnight. Thanks to Watch OS 2 you can now do all that. We have a complication which shows you todays temperature up until 5pm, when it will switch to telling you the overnight low and tomorrow’s high. One tap of the complication takes you into the Pocket Weather app on your watch. Here you can see today’s details as well as glance at a graph that shows you what it’s going to be like for the rest of the week. We’ve found that having all this on your wrist at a moment’s notice is incredibly handy.
iPad Split Screen
With iOS 9 and Split Screen support you’ve come to expect that you can do more things with your iPad. Now that Pocket Weather works in with that, you can open the weather for a holiday you’re going to on one side, and open your mail client on the other. Relax flustered family, it’s going to be sunny and warm where we are going.
We’re Not Done Yet
In the past we’ve tended to favour huge, big-bang releases for Pocket Weather. While it’s exciting to get new things all at once, we’ve heard your feedback that it can sometimes be frustrating to wait many months to get even the smallest of changes. So from now on we’re going to be putting out quicker and smaller releases so we can make changes based on your feedback quicker than ever before. Version 5.1 is already in development and we look forward to hearing from you on ways we can make the app even better.
So whether you’re an existing customer, or someone who’s curious about what all the hype is about, now is the time to go grab the app.
Today, Apple released iOS 9 and will shortly release Watch OS 2 to the world. We know that our iOS customers are really excited about all the possibilities these two new releases bring. We also know that we’ve been very quiet recently about what our intentions for Pocket Weather Australia and Pocket Casts are. Today we’d like to give you an update on where we are now, and what’s coming in the near future.
Pocket Weather Australia
Earlier this year we realised that we didn’t have the resources to give Pocket Weather the love it so deserved. So we hunted low and high until we finally found the perfect person for the job: Jeff Tan-Ang of OzTV fame. We pitched the idea of a brand new Pocket Weather to Jeff. Re-written from the ground up using Swift 2.0 and using all the latest iOS 9 and Watch OS 2 technologies. Jeff was naturally excited, and joined the Shifty Jelly team back in June of this year. He’s been working on it full time ever since. The new version is looking nothing short of amazing. It will support both iPad and iPhone, as well as the Apple Watch. It’s a free update to all our customers who have the current version of Pocket Weather. We’re really excited to bring this to you and we’ll have more details on it closer to release. In terms of timing expect it later this year, before the temperatures swell and Australians hit the beach.
At the same time that we were planning the next Pocket Weather release, we were of course working on Pocket Casts as well. It too will be iOS 9 compatible and bring with it some amazingly cool features that we hope to talk about very soon. Thanks to the addition of Jeff, Russell has been able to work on this release full time and it’s shaping up to be our biggest one yet. It will be a free update to all our existing customers. We’ve all been using the new version here internally for a while now and we can’t tell you how excited we are to be able to share more details with you soon. Timing wise it will also ship this year, but we’re keeping the date a secret until just before launch.
So a new Pocket Weather and Pocket Casts before the end of the year, both with some amazing new features. The entire team (Jeff, Russell, Chris, Monica and Philip) have been working tirelessly to bring you these two new releases and there’s a definite buzz in the office as we lead up to release day. If you’re one of our iOS customers: we think 2015 is going to be one of the most exciting years we’ve ever been able to give you. More details soon, but in the meantime we have code to write, designs to tweak and tests to test. See you on the other side!
We live life in the fast lane. Not just us, you too Fred, and you, Sally. When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses, or made time to connect with someone? Introducing, Nearby for Pocket Casts Android.
You can now open up the Nearby tab in Discover to find nearby Android Pocket Casts users (get them to do the same), and see what they’re listening to, easily subscribe and share your own subscriptions. It’s never been easier to discover great new podcasts and spread the word.
Of course, we’re all about freedom of choice, so while we share this cool new Android feature with you, we’re also working on a massive update to Pocket Casts on iOS. We’re not quite ready to share it with you, but with the overwhelming support we’ve received in response to our 5.0 update to Android, we know what you want in the next generation of Pocket Casts on iOS, and we’re working hard to bring it to you soon.
In the meantime, head over to Google Play to update Pocket Casts Android (also includes a bunch of fixes) and remember: stay cool.