JAMM Interviews Yuri Selukoff of Good.iWare

Today we have a special treat for all of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users out there.  We are starting off the second round of the JAMM Developer Interview Series with Yuri Selukoff.  Yuri is the mastmermind behind the software development company Good.iWare.  Their flagship program, GoodReader, is a huge success in the iTunes App Store.

As you read through the interview, please note that JAMM’s questions are in bold while Yuri’s responses are indented.  Please leave any questions that you may have for Yuri in the comments, and we’ll be sure that he has the opportunity to respond.


Thanks for agreeing to this interview.  Can you tell the readers of JAMM about the history behind Good.iWare?

A little less than two years ago we started a project to write a suite of useful iPhone apps for pilots. The project was sponsored by a certain airplane manufacturer. At that time there were almost no PDF readers on the iPhone platform, and those that were there were only able to handle small files. So we figured that the first thing to do is to write a PDF reader that could handle huge PDF files, because pilots always have to read technical manuals, maps, various references, majority of which are available in PDF form. So we started to write GoodReader – a PDF reader that could handle large PDF files. Then financial crisis changed the way how large and small companies spend their money, and the sponsorship from the airplane manufacturer was cut off. GoodReader was something like 50% ready at that time. We decided to finish it and to release as a general productivity app, just to see how things would go with it. As it turned out, that was the right decision, because reading PDF files on their iPhones is something that people really appreciate.

How did Good.iWare get its name?

It was just an idea that instantly came up in our heads as something that implies “Good Software for iPhones”

How did you become involved with developing for iPhone operating system?

For me personally it started as a hobby back in iPhone OS 1.x days, when there was no App Store, and any iPhone development effectively implied jailbreaking, and distributing your software for free. I didn’t like the stock calculator that Apple put on all iPhones, because there was no percent and backspace buttons on it, so I wrote my own and called it GoodCalculator. Then Apple announced iPhone OS 2.0 and the App Store. And after that I slowly started to realize that it might be a way to make a living.

What programs do you offer, and what makes them unique?

Our main product is GoodReader. It’s mainly a PDF reader, but it is also a universal file viewer, and a great tool for downloading and managing files. It offers some features that are not present in many other PDF readers for iPhone: large files support, PDF Links, PDF Reflow, Table Of Contents support, etc.

How do you choose the programs that you are going to develop?

Right now there is not much of a choice, because GoodReader development takes most of our time. We have an enormous amount of feature requests for it, and we plan to implement many of them.

What platforms do you currently support with your software?  Are you considering supporting any other platforms in the future, such as Android, Windows Phone 7 or Blackberry?

iPhone OS is our only platform of choice at the moment. We’re not currently considering moving to other platforms, mainly because programming for iPhone platform is such a great pleasure. I’m not sure that other platforms will give us so much satisfaction as iPhone OS does.

What are your thoughts on the future of mobile computing?

It is the future. People tend to get more and more mobile over the years. Right now you can do very advanced things with mobile devices without even leaving your car. These things were impossible to imagine 5 years ago. We truly believe that devices like iPad (I’m sure that Apple’s competitors will soon come up with something else in this area) will make a small revolution in the way people do their work.

Are there any exciting sneak peeks of upcoming projects that you can share?

The enormous success of GoodReader for iPad leaves us no choice but to develop updates with cool new features for it. That will probably keep us busy for a long time.

How have your experiences with the iTunes App Store been?  I know a lot of developers have had problems with submission approval times, reviews, etc.  Have you had to deal with things of this nature?

Sure, we had problems too. And we also faced a couple of strange and questionable App Store rejections, but we worked that out. The important thing to understand about Apple and the App Store is that Apple created something so new and so unique, that they sometimes didn’t know themselves what to do with certain issues. Hence all these strange rejection stories. But they’re evolving, they’re learning their lessons, they’re actually getting better and better. Right now it is relatively easy to contact the app review team and to discuss certain issues. We were even able to push our previously rejected app updates through the review process by simply discussing questionable issues with Apple and reasoning with them.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers of JAMM?

I just want to thank everybody who bought GoodReader and made it possible for us to climb up to #2 in the Top Paid iPad Apps charts. Thank you for choosing our software!

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