Jonas Gesner was inspired to create ProTube to solve a problem he was experiencing at the time — the standard YouTube player for iOS defaulted to HD and on slower internet connections videos would pause to buffer a lot, making them basically un-viewable. He decided to make an app with selectable playback quality and downloadable videos; the second iteration of it delivers a native fully featured app experience. After tackling some difficult design decisions he was able to submit the app without any trouble at all from Apple, they accepted it like any other app. He still updates ProTube which is available on Cydia for $1.99, but they are fundamentally different. The first one is almost nothing more than a web view with a bunch of features stacked in, to make it an app while the second is a fully featured native YouTube experience.
He got into to developing for jailbroken iOS after some friends introduced him to it and he couldn’t find a good theme for SBSettings. After making one, he quickly began making other tweaks and apps including Bridge and Unfold but he primarily works on ProTube now. He develops with his MacBookPro and a few test devices to make sure everything works as intended. Check out the interview below to see what he said and get some great advice for aspiring tweak and app developers.
Question 1: Can you tell the story of how you made Protube?
I got the idea for the first ProTube, in Cydia, because of my bad internet connection basically. I was using the old standard YouTube app and it always streamed videos in HD which at the time was too much for my internet connection and the videos would constantly pause and buffer. So I wanted to make a YouTube app with downloads and selectable playback quality, and so I started making ProTube. ProTube 2 is just a natural progression, I wanted to make a native, fully featured YouTube app, just how I want it to be. I love watching YouTube videos, so this app is not just an app that I make for users, I also make it for myself and that is why I tried to make (or made :P) it perfect in every detail. I started working on ProTube 2 in October 2013.
Question 2: What was the most difficult thing in developing it?
Probably the design, I was making such a feature-packed app from scratch, all by myself, and I had to get the design right. I initially had some very different designs with which I was experimenting.
Question 3: What made you want to get it on the App Store?
Nothing much, I submitted the app, apple accepted it, like with any regular app.
Question 4: Can you explain the difference in the versions?
I could write a full essay about this, but basically the apps have nothing in common. ProTube 2 is a complete rewrite from scratch. The biggest difference to the user is probably that ProTube 2 is fully native, while ProTube 1 uses a web view, and the superior design and all the new features.
Question 5: What other things have you worked on that you can talk about?
In the past I have worked on many successful projects such as Unfold or Bridge, which I still work on. But I mainly work on ProTube now.
Question 6: How did you get into developing?
Some friends got me into jailbreaking, then I got into theming when I couldn’t find a good looking theme for SBSettings and then I rather quickly started developing apps and tweaks.
Question 7: Is developing your full-time job?
Question 8: What are your thoughts on piracy and DRM?
There’s always two sides, but once you are affected by piracy you really get to hate it. People have many excuses and very convincing arguments as they think, but in reality piracy is simply stealing. You’re using software that you have to pay for, but you don’t. It is hard to describe how much piracy can hurt developers. “Customers” that pirate your software often have more problems with it than regular customers because of the cracks or just because their devices got messed up from all the cracked software, and they come to you and ask for support for software that they didn’t even purchase! Most pirates don’t even think about the “other side” of the whole story, which are developers losing out on sales.
Question 9: What is your device set up; i.e. – tweaks, apps on iPhone or computer?
Nothing fancy, MacBook Pro and a couple of iOS devices to test on — iPhone 6, iPhone 5, and iPads.
Question 10: Do you have any advice for aspiring App Store or Tweak developers?
You need to have a passion for it. If you’re doing it for fame or popularity, get out of there. If you’re doing it for money, go away. You need to wrote software that you want to actually use, you need to put passion into it and you also need a lot of practice and experience. You can’t write a massive app when you started developing a month ago, you gradually work your way up, until you can finally release software, make even better software and so on. You always get better.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section!