Unless you have been living under a rock or not following me on Twitter, you should be aware of the fact that I released an iPhone app called Vegetable Tree - Gardening Guide. Unlike my other apps this was a reference app for vegetable gardening which I am also passionate about. During the design and implementation phase I took several hard decisions and this post explains some of those decisions.


Most of the vegetable are in the form of plants. Frankly, I do not know a single vegetable that is actually a tree (I am pretty sure there are several). I thought it would be funny to name an app off something that does not exists. I added the keyword "Gardening Guide" to indicate that this is indeed a vegetable gardening app. 

The User Interface:

Most of the apps available on the app store uses the green color to indicate the essence of gardening. I completely agree with the concept but I disagree with almost all the available choices. If you cannot choose a clean/crisp gradient of green then you should not use it at all. I choose white for the very same reason. Apart from being a neutral color it gives a sense of calmness and simplicity. The very same simplicity we experience when planting our own vegetables in the garden.

You do not have to look carefully to notice that every single image has a transparent background. Each image is chosen manually among thousands of images. We used the awesome Pixalmator Mac application to edit all the images and maintain the integrity of the application.

Remote Catalog Update:

During the initial phases of design I made a decision that the app should provide an easy way to update the vegetables catalog. This includes adding new vegetables, changing existing vegetables etc. Most of the apps achieved this by pushing out a new version of the app to the app store. The main disadvantage of this approach is that the users have to wait days or even weeks to see those changes. I implemented a system which allowed the user to get *only* the vegetables that are newly added. This results in increased performance since user does not have to download the complete catalog over and over again and also provided an easy way for me to add and update vegetables.

iOS 6:

It is always tough not to support older devices. Fortunately, Apple does not suffer from the extreme fragmentation problem we witness in the Android world. As, of this writing iOS 6 already has 61% adoption rate while Android Jelly Bean has been installed only on 1.8% of the devices. Check out this link to read more.

Icon Design:

Icon is one of the most integral part of the application. A good icon design can make or break the app. I am not a graphic designer and that is why I hired a professional graphic article, Vicki Wenderlich. It was a pleasure working with Vicki and she really captured the essence of the app through her art.


The basic idea of notes is to keep track of your vegetable progress through the use of text and photos. But what good is your progress if you cannot share it. I used the built-in gestures to allow the user to share the notes on Twitter and Facebook. Although there are few apps that allow text and photo notes but they do not provide the seamless integration and intuitive interface you experience in Vegetable Tree. All your notes are arranged in descending order and also there is no limit on how many notes you can attach.  


A website dedicate to your app is extremely important. I exposed the website through my company "AzamSharp Consulting LLC". The website is based on the Twitter bootstrap framework. The website welcomes you with clear/crisp screenshots showing the most important features of the app. The catalog, the notes and finally social media. Also, note the images used in the middle screenshot (notes user interface). Each image is carefully chosen and edited into the screenshot. Although I could have taken photos of vegetable seeds, vegetable growing and harvesting myself but I can bet it would have not looked as professional as you see on the website.

There is a lot to discuss about Vegetable Tree. In the next post I will cover how I implemented a catalog based system which allowed the users to download the new vegetables instantly on their devices.

What are you waiting for go and download Vegetable Tree and start your own vegetable garden.