As a new teacher many years ago, I was shocked to realize that my time spent with students (aka "the school day") was really only about half of my job. There was a completely separate second half that involved planning and prep and paperwork and meetings and phone calls and a whole'lotta other stuff no one outside education really thinks about. I came to think of this seen vs. unseen as something like watching a movie, as the two hours of on-screen action is only a small fraction of all the work that goes into the making of a film. That's why the closing credits last so long!

I guess that's actually the way it is with most jobs. Take our website, for instance. There's all the pretty stuff that you see and can recognize as being the result of someone's hard labor (okay… several someones). But then there's all the stuff that you don't see, the stuff that makes it work and run and do all the things it's supposed to do once someone types in our web address.

app_wordsCertainly such is the case when creating an app. A fully operable and useful app represents both a lot of stuff you see and an incredible amount of stuff you don't. Here's a great piece on the phenomenal work that goes into app creation. But then wait! There's more! Because just when you think it's finished and done and ready to go on sale there's… the Apple submission review process.

Here at We Come to Learn we've learned a great deal as we've worked to get our first app, an early learning game called Letter Muncher, through the Apple review process. We've answered lots of questions for a whole pile of electronic "paperwork" and made quite a few decisions. Take keywords, for example. Apple lets you choose the keywords that will lead potential customers to your app. They limit you to a max of 100 characters, but they allow you to list them in a series without using spaces after the commas (thereby saving valuable character space!). While the teacher in me wanted to use "phonemic awareness" as a keyword, a quick search of the App Store (and some suggestions from my colleagues) led me to choose "phonics" as a reasonable, customer-friendly (and shorter!) alternative.

Now every time I search for, read about, download, and use a new app, I can't help but think about the process its developer went through not just to create it but to also get it to market. I can tell you from experience that every detail, right down to those keywords you type into the SEARCH bar that lead you to a particular app, even those represent work and thought and (sometimes) compromise.

In preparing for our app submission, we came across this slideshow which, though a couple years old, was also rather helpful.

As for us, we are waiting (more or less) patiently in submission process limbo, waiting to hear back from Apple. We're keeping our fingers crossed and telling ourselves that the next one won't be so complicated, now that we've navigated the process once already. Here's hoping!

And by the way, I refer to "stuff" here in the most sublime sense of the word!