Andreas Linde

About Me

I am Andreas Linde, a software developer from Endingen in Germany who enjoys creating new things. My first steps in writing software was to write my own Norton Commander on MS/DOS with Turbo Pascal around 1993. Once that was done my next learning project was an application that would determine the computer hardware this program was running on starting around 1994, this introduced me into the world of Assembler.

I then got impressed by IBM OS/2 2.0 (also because I was not impressed by Windows) and discovered the Web. That lead me to learn HTML, Javascript, PHP, Rexx and create the biggest OS/2 website (which has been transformed into a form only website nowadays) with a few friends I met on IRC. For that website I created my own content managing system which I later also used when creating the first website for my hometown Endingen (which since then moved to a new design and system).

A few years later, after learning a lot more languages and systems, Apple released Mac OS X 10.1 which finally got me into the Apple ecosystem and away from the PC and OS/2 (I constantly resisted Windows except for playing games like Warcraft 2 and later Warcraft 3). For a while my job satisfied my computer related curiosities and the Macs weren't used for any development purposes. This changed when the iPhone was introduced and I (somehow) got one in late 2007. Having the (by then slow) internet in my pocket and being a way from home, I wanted to find out how to write software for this little computer and write an app that lets me see the webcam image of my hometown which I installed a few years before that.

The most incredible journey

Step by step I learned Objective-C, Xcode and all that was needed before Apple released a public API and I released my first app Locations. I was fascinated so I kept going and created the iOS WorldView apps. The app got the number 1 free app in multiple countries (until the day Google released the Google Earth app), had more than 1.5 million downloads overall, won the iPad travel app of the year award in 2012 from Apple, and brought me many more great memories.

But the app also had issues, namely crashes which people wrote about in the iTunes reviews and I just couldn't reproduce them. As Apple didn't offer any help back then (and still does poorly on it if I may say so), I went out to solve that problem. In 2008 I found the open source project PLCrashReporter which solved the problem of detection a crash, but I didn't like to receive an email for every occurrence. So I create what was later named QuincyKit, an SDK on top of PLCrashReporter that collects the crash, asks the user if they agree on providing the data to the developer and a backend that receives the data, symbolicated and groups them together. This helped me so much to improve the code and learn more about how to properly write Objective-C code and in the end have rock solid apps (stability wise at least).

There also was another problem coming up around that time, and that was how to easier provide new test versions to all the people around the world who wanted to help me improve the app. At first I wrote automatisms using Dropbox and then sending out emails whenever I had a new test version but when Apple released iOS 4 they also introduced a new ad-hoc distribution mechanism. So I came up with HockeyKit, an SDK that would check for updates against a backend and then allow to install the new update right from within the app. This was not only a timesaver for everyone involved, but also allowed to rapidly try out fixes with testers who experienced specific problems in just a few minutes.

Both projects got pretty popular, but also revealed that most app developers didn't want to manage their own servers. In 2009 I got to know Thomas Dohmke on my way to my first WWDC attendance and ever since then we kept in touch, also co-managing the local CocoaHeads meet-ups in Stuttgart. He had the same needs and we both had an idea: how about creating a service that developers could use to collect their crash reports and distribute their test apps. In 2010 we decided to give it a try and what a try it got. We started working on what became HockeyApp and along the way Michael Simmons and Stefan Haubold joined us. Together we released the service as a private beta in April 2011 and went public on May 31st 2011.

The service got more and more popular, even though it wasn't available for free, and it worked great. In hindsight I would say it did because we also built it for our own use and actively used it for our app development projects. Everything was fully bootstrapped, we didn't want any money from Venture Capitals, but also worked mostly 24/7 for several years. But then in 2014, after we hired our first employees to help us working on HockeyApp, Microsoft approached us and in the end acquired HockeyApp in December 2014 (Finally Microsoft got me into their world). What a journey.

Fast forward to January 2018 - after working at Microsoft on HockeyApp and the successor product Visual Studio App Center as a Program Manager, I decided it is time to go back home to Germany and get back to the roots. I am curious myself where this will lead to :)

The Real World Live

Besides all that computer related stuff, I actively play Table-Tennis since the age of 11, I also enjoy playing pretty much any other kind of sport that deals with a ball, and driving tours with friends exploring the Europe (and the State of Washington, USA, in the past).

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