We are back with another interview with an up and coming tweak developer. Read the full interview below.
Before we move onto the interview, allow me to introduce our guest, smokin1337. smokin1337 is a newcomer on the Cydia tweak scene and has already pumped out quite a few popular tweaks like BlackOutCC.
He is a professional programmer and is currently working on a few jailbreak projects.
Q1. How and when did you get started with iOS tweak development?
Starting out with gaming consoles and web development
I actually started out on a PSP, I was playing an online game (Fireteam Bravo 2) and seen a guy flying through the air and going invisible.
I wanted to know how this was possible so I started doing research and found out it was actually a cheat code program doing it. Once I figured out how it worked, I was hooked. I started making my own codes which lead into making prx’s, which are the executables on psp.
After that, I did a few things on the PS3 using similar methods. Keep in mind I had no programming experience at all I did research on google and spent a lot of time doing so. I learned by trial and error.
I moved from gaming consoles into web development, I ran a server from my house hosting a vBulletin forum for a year or two. I made a few mods for vBulletin as well. I love to tinker.
Moving onto Android Development
Next was Android, yes I was an Android fan I know it’s blasphemous but I liked the fact it was open source and I could learn from it. I made a few “tweaks” and maintained a few ROMs.
I made the switch to Apple in December of 2017 after learning jailbreak was going to come out for iOS. I left Android because all the devices were being locked and no longer customizable.
Making the switch to iOS
I knew before I got my X that I wanted to learn how iOS worked and how to make tweaks. I started doing research and found out how to install Theos and the proper toolchain and SDK.
I had to learn Objective-C, which I am still learning now. I knew some C because that is the language of the PSP prx’s. I have a long way to go but I believe you can do anything if you really want it.
Q2. SmartLPM is a very innovative and one-of-a-kind Cydia tweak. What made you develop it and how much did it take to wrap the project up?
A. SmartLPM came loosely from a mod I used on Android, I can’t recall the name of it now.
It would set the CPU governors down to conservative while the screen was off then back up to interactive while on. This dramatically increased battery life. I figured out how to see if the device is locked or not and activated LPM while locked.
By itself that works fine but I wanted to add in some other controls for Low Power Mode and when introduced the lock part started causing problems.
Using the same method to activate and deactivate LPM made it to difficult to check everything such as when the device is unlocked is it below the set percentage or plugged in so the disable part when it gets unlocked doesn’t disable it if the other two are active.
Basically, it was confusing itself in a sense. So I chose to remove the LPM while locked part until I get it working right.
I am a bit of a perfectionist and will not release buggy code. I will add it back when I make my rounds back to it, as well as a few other ideas I have. One is custom low power notifications which the user can set. So stay tuned.
Q3. You only release free Cydia tweaks. Is there any specific reason behind that?
A. I believe devs should be compensated for their work but I also believe you have to look at what you’re making and determine if it is worth trying to sell or not.
Another factor is being a new developer makes it hard to gain recognition, there are a lot of really great devs around.
I believe if you are a newcomer to the scene you need to let people know what you’re about and I think the best way is releasing your work free so they will see what you can do.
I will have donation links in my tweaks and leave it up to the users. If they think it’s worth a few bucks they can donate. I find myself more apt to donate than to outright purchase.
My favorite part of this is user reactions when people use your tweaks and post or tweet about them or tell you they love it. It makes you feel good about putting in the time.
Q4. Are you currently working on any new project (may or may not be iOS-related) or jailbreak tweak?
A. I am working on OptiX at the moment. It allows custom colors on some UI elements like folders, control center, and the dock.
It can also hide some elements like page dots, labels, and a few others. I want to do a beta run once I fix the bugs I found and add a few things to it.
I will be updating this with more such as custom colors for banners, widget view. Lock screen items and hiding other elements like status bar and spotlight.
Next up is learning more UI stuff I would like to create my own menus and what not for my tweaks. I am also going to be fixing up my Cydia repo with a nice landing page.
Q5. Have you ever felt that tweak developers deserve more money for developing tweaks?
A. I think you deserve compensation for the time and work put in whatever that compensation may be for you. Generally speaking, most want money, I’m not excluded.
But I think it’s very important to price reasonably or you will drive people away. I look at tweaks more like a hobby and if money is the goal the dev should go into app development on the App Store.
That being said there are plenty of tweaks I would and have bought. I have seen tweaks for sale and thought it’s not worth buying but have also seen some I could not believe are free.
That’s why I am going with the donation route for now if people like it they will give what it’s worth to them which helps you in the future determine what to charge if you decide to. Just my opinion.
Q6. Do you own a jailbroken device? If yes, what are your favorite Cydia tweaks and App Store apps?
A. Yes, I have two – an iPhone X on iOS 11.1.2 and the latest Electra and an iPad 2017 on iOS 11.1.2 and the latest Electra. I am currently trying to find something on iOS 10 to test with and a Mac.
My favorite tweaks are pretty much all of SparDev’s beta tweaks. Bannerlock and Hyperion are my current favorites. BatteryPercentX is another must have.
App Store apps guess I have to confess I have a lot of google stuff coming from Android. I am actually writing this on Google Keep… But I also have Twitter, Reddit, Discord, Dropbox, Mega, VLC, and Parallax view.
Not really into gaming anymore so I only have Fortnite which I was just looking at the jailbreak detection.
Q7. What’s your stance on piracy in the jailbreak scene?
A. Nope. Piracy is like cancer in my opinion. If everyone steals tweaks and or apps then when enough people quit buying them and the dev loses money they are less likely to update or release new stuff.
Like I said earlier, you deserve compensation for your work. It takes a lot of work to make this stuff, no one goes to work for free and neither do devs.
If you can’t scrounge a couple bucks for a tweak or an app then you don’t really need it, you have bigger things to focus on.
Q8. What can the jailbreak community expect from you in the future?
A. To be honest I don’t know. I have a lot of ideas so it will depend on which ones I can make happen. I want to get more into the UI part like colorizing and animations.
I have been looking through a lot of those headers and try to get ideas from them. For now, I will improve OptiX to release it and add some new features to my existing tweaks.
I still have a whole lot to learn so I will take on bigger projects as I go. One thing the community can expect from me now and the future is help wherever I can and listening.
I want feedback from users and ideas they have that’s how you make your stuff better. I help people in the community if I can, I won’t get too big to interact with people if they need help with something. Thanks for all the support!
Follow smokin1337 on Twitter!
I hope you enjoyed this interview. Don’t forget to follow smokin1337 on Twitter for updates on his latest tweaks and upcoming projects.
To access smokin1337’s latest tweaks, you can add his Github repository (https://smokin1337.github.io/) to Cydia.
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