Saturday, September 19, 2009

App Store Resource Center

If you're part of the iPhone SDK Program, you likely already now about this, but I think it's cool enough to warrant a post.

Apple has just opened the App Store Resource Center for Developers. I haven't had the opportunity to go through it exhaustively, but at first glance, it appears to a welcome and pretty awesome tool for third party application developers.



7 comments:

Muhammad Adil said...

Well i look into that but did not get what's the point of it?

Dzamir said...

@Muhammad
There's no point if you are an experienced developer, because there are all the tips that we share from months (eg don't change the release date for an update or it will disappear from the store). But I think that it's a welcome addiction for all the new iPhone developers.

Jeff LaMarche said...

Muhammed:

The point? One of the biggest complaints third party developers have had is that the review process is opaque. Apple has just put down a whole bunch of things that were previously unwritten rules and what information there was was spread over different.

for example, I wanted to review a part of the license agreement a while back because I had a question, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to find it. Now, it's right in the resource center - the latest license agreement, the HIG, step-by-step explanations of the process and the possible outcomes and why. Many of the unwritten rules that will get your app rejected are no longer unwritten.

They're even providing us with metrics about how they are doing - giving us the percentage that are getting through in different times.

I think it's clear evidence that Apple's been listening to third party developers.

Remember, there are more of us now (third party developers) than there are Apple employees in total, and that's even if you include the retail employees. It's simply not possible for them to respond to us all individually on every issue, and they certainly can't do everything every one of us wants, but this is a huge step in that it shows they are listening and are taking steps to address the biggest complaints of third party developers.

And remember, this isn't the end of the line. I think many third party developers are too quick to demonize Apple over this stuff without stepping back to think about the enormity of the job and the amazing number of interests that Apple has to juggle.

Dzamir:

If Apple continues to update this with new information, then there certainly is a point for experienced developers. Plus, if you ever have a conflict, you now have an "official" source you can point to. It's hard to argue over unwritten rules, much easier to argue your app is not in violation of ones that are written down and made public. Even if you knew all the unwritten rules, there is value to you in having them written down.

Michael said...

Sorry Jeff,I don't share your enthusiasm on this. There is nothing new in the resource centre (proper spelling :-) btw ) that wasn't already available on the website or in the documentation.

Yes they've consolidated the info into a single place which is good, but I don't see this as Apple listening and responding to its developers...

I think most developers complaints are about apple's inability to respond to emails and the lack of transparency in all aspects of the review process.

If this changes then I will be the first hear singing Apple's praises.

regards, Michael.

Jeff LaMarche said...

Michael:

I think, perhaps, what you desire is unrealistic. I think every single third party developer would love to have a clearer view of what goes on inside Apple, and would love some personal attention from Apple. I'm tempted to give you the same speech I had to give my daughter several years ago when she wanted a pony, but I won't. You're an adult, you understand that it's not realistic to expect you're going to get everything you want.

Apple has lowered the obstacles to developing for the iPhone to an amazingly low level. Anybody can join, and you pay less to join the iPhone SDK program as an individual then you pay for most OS upgrades (the Snow Leopard update being an exception to that). There are, quite literally, tens of thousands of us submitting hundreds or maybe even thousands of applications a day by now.

Many of the developers are new to the platform, the language, and quite a few are completely new to software development. That all adds to the overhead of the review process.

What, exactly, do you expect for your $100 or $400? It seems to me that you're already getting quite a bit of value from it. The development, debugging, and performance tools are included. The libraries are included. A distribution mechanism that can reach every single iPhone user is included, and you can even use it to distribute free applications. A mechanism for processing payments is included. Access to beta releases of the SDK is included. Free help on the forums, often from Apple engineers, is included. Documentation, sample code, getting started videos. Hell, you even get two DTS support incidents you can use to get individual help from Apple engineers on a one-to-one basis.

It seems to me that despite the complaints and the fact that parts of the process aren't 100% perfectly flawless, that many of us are focusing only on the bad and failing to acknowledge or recognize what a phenomenal thing this all is. None of this existed two years ago. We have this phenomenal new thing that's given us opportunities that just weren't there two years ago, and all many of us do is focus on the fact that it's not perfect.

Is there more that can be done? Sure. Are there parts of the process that are imperfect? Absolutely.

But try to view the situation with a sense of perspective and keep in mind the mind-boggling volume of applications and application developers and the number of interests and contractual obligations that Apple has to balance here.

It hardly seems fair to me to look at something like the new Resource Center and say, with a straight face, that it's not an indication that Apple's listening and responding. Clearly they are listening. Maybe they aren't responding to the level you think they should, but they ARE responding and they ARE listening. We third-party developers are never going to be the only parties in this very complex equation. We are never going to be in a situation where Apple will implement or concede on any demand we make.

We should be appreciative of the fact that Apple is listening at all. it's okay to want more, and ask for more, but we should also recognize and appreciate what we have.

Michael said...

Jeff,

Whilst I don't want to get into a big ding dong discussion about this, I don't think either of us can be sure whether the appearance of the Resource Centre is down to Apple listening or not.
You may be right; I'm just not convinced that's all.

However I do think it is unfair to say I am being unrealistic in what I want from Apple. I'm not craving personal attention or exact details of what goes on inside Apple's review process, all I am asking for is for greater transparency in the whole process. In fact let me rephrase that - what I would like to see is clearer guidelines and consistency in applying those guidelines.

If Apple could do this then it would go a long way to responding to ~ 99% of developers complaints. And that would be a good thing for both Apple and developers alike.

It's an interesting point you make about how much developers get for their £100 (personally I would like Apple to increase the fee but's that a discussion for another day) and I agree this is great.

But this isn't just about altruism on Apple's part. Its about business. The more developers, the more successful the platform and ultimately the more Apple make. They made £10,000 from me alone this last year. Multiply by the tens of thousands of developers out there, that amounts to a pretty large pot of money for Apple to cover their costs and more.

Anyway that's probably enough from me. At the end of the day I think we probably agree on more things than we disagree on, although it might not be obvious at first glance!

I'm off now to pick my daughter up from the stables :-)

M.

Craig Patchett said...

Um, it's not a matter of what we get for our $100 but rather what we get for our $100 + 30%. For me that's well over $1,000 so far and I'm one of the relatively small fish out there. I don't think Michael's desires are unrealistic at all.