Software and advice that’s not of this verse

The Post Shipping, App Store Review Blues

Real programmers ship. I did, ten days ago, into the App Store review process. And now I have the postnatal shipping blues.

The blues come from two sources, shipping and waiting.

shipping blues

The first version of an application always ships, if you do it right, with the critical core features working, one or two bells and whistles to make it fun and nothing else. Do any more, and you’ll never ship.

But there is always a long list of features that you plan to add to the app, and this list has been staring you in the face since the day you decided on the first release feature set.

But you have to ship, and you have to ship sans all these other features. It would be better with more features. Maybe it would sell more if I just added a few more. Ahh, the shipping blues.

Well I’ve shipped. And while I wait for approval, I’ve gotten started on the next version, adding features from the list to delight my first adopters as soon as possible. Some of these features that I thought would take a long time took no time. And they are ready to go. But I’ve already shipped! What now?

If I update the app in the review queue, I’ll go back to the start of the line. And the review and waiting process will take much longer. But these new features are just so nice, and I think my users (none of whom exist just yet) would love them. And the shipped version already looks shabby compared. Ahh, the shipping blues.

Waiting blues

I also have the waiting blues. I have no idea how long it will take Apple to get to my product and review it. And I have no idea whether they may even find a reason to reject it or not. I have no idea when it will go on sale.

So I cannot plan my media blitz (consisting of a press release and facebook update) to coincide with the release date. I cannot tell people I meet now when they can buy my app.

And if it gets rejected, I am not even sure the feature set I’ll resubmit. So, should I be working on this feature of that just in case. Ahh, the waiting blues.

But more than that, I have no feedback. I spent months writing Sights to See, and I hope it will sell well. Maybe this is the lull before the storm when heaps of folks buy it, or maybe this is the lull before the next lull when no-one buys it. Most apps do not sell, most do not make money. But I’d like people, strangers, you to look at it and use it and play with it and buy it and talk about it. And get back to me with you experiences with it, and what you want it to do, and how it could be better, so that more people will buy and use it..

Up until now, I’ve written what I want for the product. I am waiting to hear what you want. Ahh, the waiting blues.

Dealing with it

I am dealing with it by barreling forward on V1.1. Taking advantage of the lull before I have real customers with real needs sending me real emails that will take my attention away from real programming. No interruptions, lots of progress.

But at the back of my mind, though, are the blues. Will it get approved? Will people like it? Did I make the right calls on features? Does the content on the app store and web site help people see the value of the product? Or, did I waste my time on making it? Ahh, blues.

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