Competition, A Necessary Evil

When I see an online contest, my first reaction is to run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. This is due partly to bad experiences, but mostly because my reasons for entering contests were misguided. I have learned a lot from both winning and losing competitions.

Things to remember when entering a contest :

Calculator App Contest

Team Treehouse just put on a contest, Calculator App for iOS, which sounded like a great way for me to start giving back to others. I have been impressed with what the Treehouse’s team has been doing with their online training service.

[![Team Treehouse](public/content/images/treehouse_logo.jpg)](

The details for the app contest :

Let the competition ensue. :)


Find apps like what you are wanting to build.

![Calculator App Icon](public/content/images/calc.png)

I spent a while testing what happens when using the Apple calculator in different ways. Below are a few tests :

[button] display


I spent a good chunk of time trying to get it as close to working like the original app. Here is what I was able to get working :

I always get annoyed when I accidentally hit the wrong number while in the middle of a multi-step formula. So I chose to add a “delete” button that removes numbers if they have just been input. It does not delete if the display is a result.

Design & Experience

Specifications I wanted to follow :

My biggest design challenge was the font(s). Yes, that is plural. Apple uses the Helvetica Neue family for most of there thin fonts in iOS 7. But the funny thing is the decimal point in Helvetica Neue is a line, not a circle. So I went about finding a good decimal and I ended up using Avenir. The button was easy, the display was a little trickier. I setup a simple NSMutableAttributedString to solve the display issue.

I wanted to have a nerdy throwback. So I based the icon on calculator speak. When you put 1337 in a calculator and turn it upside down it spells LEEt (as in an elite nerd).

![1337 App Icon](public/content/images/leet_icon.png)

Here are the screenshots of the calculator app that I built.

![Launch Image](public/content/images/leet_launch.jpg) ![Screen Shot](public/content/images/leet_ss.jpg) ![Screen Shot](public/content/images/leet_ss2.jpg)

Wish me luck!