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Social workouts with Fitness Tracker 90 CE and the Health Graph

November 15, 2011

Are you a developer with an idea for using the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) but no company (yet) to help you build it? Take inspiration from this week’s featured partner, Steve Chen of SJC Global, Inc., who built Fitness Tracker 90 CE (@iFitnessTracker) himself while holding down a separate full-time job. You can do it too!

Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and your company.

Steve Chen: My company, SJC Global, is self owned and I am the sole employee. I do occasionally contract with other individuals as necessary, but the core of the product is all developed by myself. The company started in August 2010, and the company’s mission is to create great apps that enhance users lives. I hope to expand and grow the company’s products in the next year. My company is currently one of my many “hobbies”, as I am only able to work on it during my free time, since I also have a regular full-time job.

I have a Computer Science degree as well as an MBA and a great deal of experience working in the technology industry. I’ve worked at numerous companies throughout my career including small start-ups as well as large multi-billion dollar companies.

BD: What’s the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use your app?

SC: Fitness Tracker 90 CE is an app for your mobile device that allows you to record and monitor your workout progress. You no longer need to try and remember your workout schedule, since the app allows you to customize any routine to fit your needs. Use the app to track any 60 or 90 day workout or anything in between. Entering data is simple with the sleek user interface that is designed with speed of entry in mind. With Fitness Tracker 90 CE you know exactly how your workout is progressing given the detailed logs and elegant graphs that let you visualize your achievements. Get social with your workout by sharing your results on the RunKeeper service, or sharing your workouts on the user forums.

BD: How did you get started using the Health Graph API?

SC: I felt that integrating with RunKeeper would benefit both my existing users as well as RunKeeper users not yet using Fitness Tracker 90 CE.

I started development using the Health Graph API by going through the documentation on the developer site. I also worked closely with the RunKeeper team initially on validating some of the API requirements to ensure that they would map to my needs as well as others.

BD: How has using the Health Graph benefited your business?

SC: Having the ability for users to post their results to the RunKeeper service has helped expand the reasons why someone would purchase my app. Users tend to see the integration with the RunKeeper service as a great benefit and I am thrilled that I am now able to offer that service to them in Fitness Tracker 90 CE. Traffic to my site has started to increase with little promotion thus far, and I hope to see the traffic continue to rise as more and more announcements are made.

BD: Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?

SC: Fitness Tracker 90 CE currently utilizes the strength tracking and weight measurement features of the Health Graph API. The decision to use these Health Graph features was based on what Fitness Tracker 90 CE is designed to do, and that is to allow users to track and maintain their fitness.

BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?

SC: The Health Graph makes it easy for any app to integrate with it through the use of the APIs. The one difficulty I found frustrating at times was that errors on the server often resulted in HTML pages coming back instead of a simple response with an error code and description. I could see the need for an HTML page result when the API is called from a web page itself, but when calling the APIs through a mobile app the result needs to be parsed out of all the HTML and it is unclear in the documentation what types of error conditions may arise.

BD: If you could request any crazy new feature from the Health Graph, what would it be? How would you use it?

SC: My first request would be a simple change to how fitness activities are recorded. Currently, there is a type “other” that may be used when defining a new fitness activity. I would like to see an optional field that would allow you to also specify the fitness activity name, as this option would allow my users to track activities such as cardio kickboxing or other workouts that don’t necessarily have individual exercises.

BD: Can you share any future plans for your app? What’s coming next that your users will be excited about? Does the Health Graph play a role in that, and if so, how?

SC: I can’t give away all my secrets, but I can say that I do plan on expanding my app to other devices in the future. The mobile industry is growing at an extraordinary rate and getting Fitness Tracker 90 CE on all mobile devices is one of my goals for 2012.

I am planning on integrating more workouts with the RunKeeper service as soon as the APIs are available that would allow me to do so. My goal is that every exercise, whether strength training related or not, that can be tracked in Fitness Tracker 90 CE should be integrated into RunKeeper.

There are also plans to add a stopwatch feature that will allow users to better monitor the time spent on fitness activities. This feature is already available through the RunKeeper API and would be something that users could look forward to seeing.

BD: Is there anything else we should know about you or your application?

SC: If you are serious about working out and keeping track of your routine then definitely give Fitness Tracker 90 CE a try!

Cross-posted from the Health Graph blog.

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