Habibi Time

Habibi Time

Once upon a time in San Francisco...I was just beginning my venture into Android development. Socially, I found myself constantly being asked how to flirt in Arabic, as I was friends with male & female Arab Americans that had non-Arabic speaking significant others.

One of the main reasons I jumped to mobile development was the idea of being able to quickly distribute applications to people within no time in a native form. The idea excited me beyond words. Alas, I found my first side project idea: an Arabic flirting phrase book, "Habibi Time" (My Lover's Time).

The layout was rather straight forward. App first showed phrase categories:

In tapping a category showed existing phrases within it, in this case "Flirt":

Lastly, the viewing of a phrase:

Tapping on any of the 3 texts showed a dialog: "Copy to Clipboard" or "Share"

The Arabic, phonetic, and Arabizi form of the English phrase were shown, each tappable to be shared. Secondly, in choose the gender you're addressing, it conjugated it accordingly. Lastly, there was audio playback pronouncing the phrase by male & female voice actors.

I developed the Android version & contracted out the iOS version. Both versions were published Play & App stores respectively.


It was a lot of fun having friends share newly learned phrases with their lovers. Friends too would text me various flirtations for the fun of it. Having this being my first app to have ever published on my own, I learned a handful of lessons:

  • Having an app at the app store means a lot of work in the long run. I genuinely thought: once published, there'd be no need to look back unless adding features. But bugs crept in after Android OS updates rolled out. Play store rolled out new requirements time and time again that needed my attention, such as filling out compliance surveys. Crashylitcs got sunset, etc.
  • If your app is of enough significance, it's likely going to need a backend service. I quickly realized updating both iOS & Android with new phrases was way more hassle than need be without a backend at hand. Planning a backend upfront would have saved me work down the line as well as easy capability to roll out new phrases.
  • Apps are like a boat needing both wind & direction to keep afloat. It wasn't long before friends were telling me they were looking forward in seeing how the app would evolve. The remark surprised me as the need didn't cross my mind prior. I thought a phrase book was needed, thereby delivered, therefore my work done. However friends were looking forward in learing how to put phrases together themselves. The tool they had was no longer serving them as its utility wore out over usage.

I have since sunsetted the project on both platforms seeing the work required to keep it going. At times I wonder how things would have been had I continued working on it.