Why the Delays? A Timeline of the App Build

By: Dustin Ranem

Published: December 30, 2022

Over the past five years, we have been working on designing and developing a new mobile app for Reconstructionist Radio. Some of you have graciously funded this effort. We thank you for your help and greatly appreciate your patience!

The development team took this on as an “underfunded” project, knowing that at least a portion of their work would be done pro bono. They took this on as kingdom building work and were happy to tithe with some of their time on this project. 

Progress on the mobile app started out fairly smoothly, with wireframing and design moving forward at a steady pace, with the bulk of the work taking a few months to work through, including revisions, tweaks, etc. Development began once the designs were completed, and started off progressing well in late spring of 2019. 

A couple of months after development started, the main Reconstructionist Radio website started to experience issues where the website would consume all CPU resources, which caused the website to crash and made it completely unusable. The development team building the mobile app didn’t build the website, but they immediately started helping to troubleshoot the website issues. This eventually resulted in an emergency website migration to a temporary hosting service, which was donated by the development team. While the website was back up and running again, it took over six times the CPU resources to keep it running, and even then, it was causing severe strain on the server.

The development team completely shifted their focus from the mobile app to resolve these website issues during this time. After spending considerable time working to debug the problem, it was determined that the best solution was to rebuild the website and set it up on new hosting. Although this was completely out of scope, the development team took on this project free of charge. In the end, this resulted in nearly 140 hours of work (approximately $18,000) to resolve. The end result was essentially a brand new custom website for Reconstructionist Radio for no cost. We have also received over three years of hosting free of charge from this team.

Due to the emergency nature of this issue and the development team’s time needing to shift back to paid client work, the mobile app work had to be mostly paused for a few months, with only small pockets of time being spent on it. However, work started to pick up again toward the beginning of 2020. Shortly thereafter, COVID hit. Although the development team continued to work on the project throughout the COVID lockdowns, the amount of work that could be dedicated to the project was less, which affected the overall project timeline. This was particularly the case during most of 2021.

(pick up where the newsletter left off here)

In 2022, work on the app got into full swing again with just under 300 hours being spent on it this year—all of which was done pro bono. We were just about ready to launch the app in November, when new updates that are required by Google caused a last-minute delay. The development team had to go through all the apps they’ve built for their clients and update them to be compatible with these new requirements. These are all active mobile apps, so priority had to be given to these other apps first. They’re now on their last client app before they can finish these updates to the Reconstructionist Radio app, and then we’ll be able to launch it to the App Stores! This is about $2,500 worth of work that is also being done free of charge!

The development team has only billed us for the original scope of work, though they have had to go over four times the hours that were included in the original scope. They have stated many times that they want to produce a high quality mobile app that will serve the Kingdom of God for many years to come. They’ve shown their commitment to that by absorbing significant time and cost as these unforeseen challenges arose during the course of the project.

As always, we greatly appreciate your support and your patience. We cannot wait to finally launch the new mobile app and are confident that you are going to find it incredibly useful in your studies!