My co-worker and all-around good guy, Rob Rhyne has officially open sourced Briefs.app as of today. After three months of being dicked around by Apple's review team, he's finally given up on getting Briefs.app onto the App Store.
Throughout the ordeal, Rob has taken the whole thing with tremendous grace and has only good things to say about the people involved in the entire process. I hope he'll forgive me for not being quite so gracious.
I'm pissed on his behalf, since he won't be. Make no mistake: This sucks. This is no way to treat anybody, but especially him. Rob has bent over backwards throughout the process to be nice and work within the system and to avoid saying anything negative about the problems he's faced. Rob has kept the discourse on a level I think few of us could manage. He didn't go out and raise a stink the way many developers have when they felt slighted by the App Review team. Rob just calmly and patiently worked within the system trying to make his case and get a product he worked on for months onto the app store… while working a full time job, starting a new business, and being a parent to a toddler. Oh, and his wife works too. Rob's one of the few developers I know who spends more time sitting at a computer than me.
If Apple's review team had just come out and rejected the app, it would have sucked, and it would have been the wrong decision, but it would have been an acceptable situation. The app review team's job is to make tough decisions. Sometimes they're going to make bad decisions, and sometimes they're going to make decisions that we developers are going to disagree with.
But since making decisions is, in fact, their job and they've never actually made a decision about this particular app, it's not an acceptable nor a forgivable situation. Three fucking months Briefs.app has sat in the review queue, and in that time, the app review team has allowed other prototyping applications onto the app store: applications that do the same basic tasks that Briefs.app was created to do. Interface was approved several weeks after Briefs.app was submitted to the App Store. LiveView and Dapp were both updated just yesterday. iMockups was approved about a week ago.
But Briefs still sits in the queue and nobody can be bothered to even say what the exact holdup is or what needs to happen before a decision will get made.
I don't know what reason they could have for dragging it on like this and not making a decision, but it's not right. Apple owes Rob, and all the people who want to use Briefs, an apology.