Co-founder of video-tweeting app Vine, Don Hofmann, talked about some of the philosophies when it comes to making apps. According to The Verge, he also revealed that an Android version of Vine will be making its way to devices soon. Hofmann says that, “Great apps are simple and complex.”

“Every single part of what we did in Vine was informed by this notion,” he said at the NYC Apps meetup. “Dark Sky solves the simple problem of 'Do I need to bring an umbrella?' Behind solving that simple problem is a complex set of algorithms.”

According to Hofmann, the challenge in app design comes not from reducing complexity of apps, but instead, concealing the complexity. The philosophy is evident with Vine, which for example, encodes the video while you are recording it, so that the app is done processing the video by the time you are done recording it.


Hiding complexity is what makes apps good

Earlier this month, Vine's popularity became evident when it managed to climb up to the top of the charts in Apple's App Store within four months of its launch. Bought over by Twitter back in October last year and finally made available to the public in January, Vine has fought against all odds to climb to the top of the charts to become the number one free app in the US.

It is interesting to note that the app has met with such recognition only in the US. While it is still the top social app in countries like Canada and Sweden, there's a long road ahead when it comes to the rest of the world. Of course, becoming number one on the App Store in the face of serious competition is a mean feat and is only a sign of things yet to come for one of the world’s youngest social networking websites.

Vine is a six-second video sharing app that loops GIF images with sounds. The app was launched back in January as a free iOS-only app with much fanfare. However, it met with controversy mere days after it was launched. While it was hailed as the future of tweeting by many, New York Times reporter Nick Bilton realised that using Vine to discover porn was extremely easy. All a user needed to do was use the keyword ‘#porn’, which led to a trove of sexually explicit videos on Vine. Evidently, the short, looping format is extremely lucrative for pornographers to peddle their wares on Twitter.

While Vine’s Terms of Services did not expressly prohibit explicit content, it appealed to users to share videos responsibly. Vine made its stand clear with its warnings, but Apple started to squirm under the pressure of dealing with porn. Apple’s “See no Evil” attitude made a lot of people wait with bated breath for its next move. The company had after all pulled an app called 500px “for featuring pornographic images and material, a clear violation of the guidelines.”

The last straw came when Vine inadvertently displayed a pornographic clip in the app's Editor’s Pick section. While Apple did not pull Vine from the Store, it quietly removed the app from the App Store's Editor’s Choice section.

Vine promptly cleaned up its act and even changed its age rating from 12 years to 17 years and up. The past couple of months have not been as eventful for Vine, with the app concentrating on building its user base with newer and better features.

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