FreeHit is a state of the art cost-free and ad-free android application for Cricket enthusiasts. This Java-based app displays various match scores. Featuring news, relevant tweets, player statistics, team information, rankings, polls and option to pick your favourite teams is what sets this apart from other similar applications.
The features are elaborated below:
New polls regarding the latest matches were added every day and real-time updates were shown to the end-users.
A dynamic dark/light mode that could be manually handled by the user was added.
Individual player and team statistics were made available.
From the coders’ cache:
The backend was coded in NodeJS with MongoDB as the database for the application. The admin was provided with an intuitive dashboard to manipulate the data displayed on the application.
We used Retrofit as the HTTP Client which made retrieving and uploading JSON files relatively easy via a REST-based service. Initially, we used threads to make network calls and parse the JSON in Java natively without any libraries. To increase efficiency, we restructured the whole application, integrating Retrofit into the application. Since the application focuses solely on handling JSON data, other libraries like Volley was not utilised.
With the Alpha Release to a closed group, bug reporting was difficult for users since they had to redo their actions to re-create the bug and then send the log files. Teaching them how to send the log files using ADB was an arduous process. In a search for a solution, we encountered a Library by Ereza which displayed a custom activity on the crash from which the user could report the issue with a complete log with just a click of a button. The user was shown a custom configurable screen which made the UX relatively better than if Firebase Crashlytics.
The UI from the Alpha to Beta release was not changed much and we proceeded with the production roll-out with the same. The overwhelming response of the initial closed group as compared to the lukewarm response of the production roll-out pushed us to make major changes, giving us the present product.
With the latest model, we hit around 5,000 downloads in about 2 months with organic word of mouth marketing and social media publicity (some touching over 1,000 mark on likes, impressions and reach).
The application went through many design iterations from the Alpha and Beta release to the production release, finally adopting the material design standards with a simple and clean UI.
The application cannot be downloaded anymore and is no longer maintained as it was a small-scale project, shut down eventually due to high server costs and the number of daily active users on the platform increasing day-by-day after the 2-month mark post-production roll-out. We migrated from AWS to Aruba Cloud overnight and eventually released a Donate application to keep it afloat. The installs and earnings from that application were not sufficient to maintain the overhead operational costs.
However, with new frameworks like Flutter, that help in developing a hybrid application, we may develop the whole application to serve both iOS and Android users. Rest assured, if this happens, the application will still be completely Ad-Free.