Watched Animation List Tracker - iPhone App Review and Interview

UPDATED - Since our initial review, the app has been updated to have more of a streamlined look with Apple's iOS7. The app also now features over-the-air updates so you won't even need to sync it when a new movie is added to the database - it will automatically update.

A short while ago we were introduced to the Watched Animation List Tracker, or WALT, which is a clever iPhone app that allows you to track the films (Pixar or Disney) that you've seen. App creator, James Dempsey of Tapas Software notes on his website that the app is inspired by birdwatcher logbooks - in which you "check off" when you spot the different varieties of birds. The good news for fans of Disney and Pixar films is that the app is not only a simple tracker, it also has some other useful information tucked inside it's $.99 price tag.

James is a self-described Pixar, Disney and Apple geek that worked extensively for Apple Inc before stepping out on his own to pursue personal projects. With his background and knowledge of the iPhone/iPod operating system, the WALT application allowed him to combine all of his passions into one. His hope for the application is that it may help someone discover (or rediscover) a new movie or short - in addition to helping keep track of your favorite Pixar and Disney films.

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with James to discuss the app, its inspiration and his future plans.


Question - Pixar Post [PP]
What inspired you to create the WALT app?

Answer - James Dempsey [JD]
Walking through the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, I discovered the Silly Symphonies. The Disney studio produced these short films beginning in the late 1920s. In the following decade the advancement of animation art and technology at the studio was simply incredible.

I had never even heard of these films before, but I immediately wanted to see them all and keep track of what I had seen.

I think of Pixar films as being part of that same arc of innovation - so my original spark of inspiration grew quickly to include Pixar.

(By the way, it turns out there are 75 Silly Symphonies. They are all released on DVD and I am currently working my way through them.)

[PP] - We really enjoy the simplicity of WALT as it stands, but are there other features that you're planning to integrate into WALT?

[JD] - I'm currently in the process of listening to feedback from users to help decide where WALT goes next. We encourage feedback at I don't want to promise any specifics but we definitely have many ideas of what we'd like to do in the future.

[PP] - When do you plan to list a new movie/short in WALT - when it is first announced or when it is officially released in theaters?

[JD] - Sometimes a film is shown at a festival or special event before the official release date. I definitely want users to be able to check off a film the moment they've seen it. (And maybe use the sharing feature to brag about it to their friends!) So my goal is to add a film shortly after it has a firm release date announced.

[PP] - What other new and interesting apps are Tapas Software planning to develop?

[JD] - One thing I learned working at Apple for so long was how to keep a secret. I have a few things simmering but none of them are ready to talk about yet.


When you first open WALT you'll notice the clean interface - this allows you to quickly start exploring and searching for your favorite short film, movie or director.

As you start to check off the movies that you've viewed, you'll see a small circle start to "fill" as you've seen all of the films in that category. We found it great that when we checked off Brave in the Features category, that Mark Andrews' name also displayed the appropriate "fill" in the Directors category without us having to check anything twice.

The app is backed up by a clean and focused databased that allows you to search, sort and filter in almost any way you can think of.

There were several details that we absolutely loved and although they were simple, they could have easily been overlooked. One of those details is that when you click on a movie or short, the app will display the exact release date - for instance Brave is listed with a release date of June 22, 2012 rather than just June 2012 or 2012. We found this useful because we often get into debates over when a movie was released - now we can just pop open the app and easily locate the exact date.

The other feature that we really liked was that you can Share the movie your going to watch (or have watched) through email, instant message, Twitter or Facebook. The neat detail here is that if you haven't checked off that you've seen a movie yet, the message says that you "Can't wait to watch..." - if you have seen the movie (and checked it off), the message is altered to say, "Just watched...". That is very clever indeed.

WALT only leaves us wanting a few small things (mostly movie cover images), but the biggest advantage of this app is that we're using it as a reference guide and a fun excuse to re-watch many of our favorite films rather than just checking them off as soon as we opened the app! Pick up the WALT app in the iTunes store now.

Pixar Post - T.J.



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Pixar Post: Watched Animation List Tracker - iPhone App Review and Interview
Watched Animation List Tracker - iPhone App Review and Interview
Pixar Post
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