How to write a good bug report

Software has bugs, yes, even ours. Since programmers are human, and humans make mistakes, ergo bugs. When you come across a bug in our software, or anyone else’s for that matter, you need to email in a bug report. The developer can use this to identify the problem, replicate the problem and fix it. But most of the time, we developers find submitted bug reports to be incomprehensible. This is because the submitter has no idea what we need, how to communicate with us and how to write one of these bug report things.

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Almost Shipping

After a year of discussions, planning, designing, programming, testing and making it happen, we’re about to ship the 1.0 version of Kifu. But almost shipping is not the same as shipping. The product is feature complete for version 1.0. It was a hard road getting here, and even harder to say no to features that would have delayed shipping. But it’s done, its almost shipping. Almost shipping are where you are when there are still hundreds of small and sometimes large details that need to be right before you truly ship a web app.

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Presenting a Professional Indie Image

As my hiltmon.com blog takes off, I am starting to get emails from indie developers promoting their wares. This is great, I love getting them, looking at new products and helping out where I can. But many of them fail on the basics of presenting themselves as the professionals they are. In this article, I will present a checklist of all the things you need as an indie to present yourself to strangers via email with some credibility.

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End of Life - Sights to See and Emergency List

Noverse is sad to announce that we have taken down Emergency List and Sights to See from the iPhone App Store. What? Really? Why? These apps were developed two years ago, for old versions of the iPhone, and no longer represent the best we can do. We were learning iOS at the time, did not have access to the right designers and did the best we could back then. It got us the business we did the last 2 years.

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Moving to Hiltmon.com

You may have noticed less activity on this site. Or not. I have consolidated all my old blogs, and begun writing a more controversial and wide ranging blog at my personal domain https://hiltmon.com. Expect that one to get new articles more frequently and on a wider range of subjects. I am not sure what to do about this blog yet, so I’ll leave it up for now. But check out https://hiltmon.

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Get it Brilliant

When it comes to software, there should be no such thing as ‘good enough’ software. Yet most software fits this bill, it does something ‘good enough’ to get the work done or even sell. Even though the user has to jump through hoops to do so, or create workarounds to make the whole thing work. At Noverse, we don’t make ‘good enough’ software. Our products must be brilliant, they must be flexible, they must be proven correct, they must get the job done without workarounds, they must be fast and easy to use, they must be amazing.

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Alpha Testing

Everybody talks about Beta testing, unit testing and integration testing, but there is little on Alpha testing out there. At Noverse, we do them all. What is Alpha Testing? If you follow the Wikipedia definition, Alpha testing happens when the product is incomplete and yet still handed over to a testing team inside the organization. And Beta testing happens when the customer gets to test pre-release versions. For us, a small indie developer, we have no separate testing or Q&A team, so our Alpha testing is done with our customers as well.

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Keeping Customers Engaged Early

The early stages of a software development project are brilliant for a designer/developer and painful for a customer. For the developer, the challenge of design, the joy of programming the core functionality, and the absolute bliss you get from making something great keeps the developer engaged. The customer sits and waits. And waits. Traditionally, that wait lasts a long time, all the way until Alpha builds are available. Even with agile programming techniques, there really isn’t much to show the customer during the early stages.

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Time and Material Contracts, with a Process

Call in a contractor to fix a hole in your roof. On a fixed price contract, they will rush to the roof, staple a plastic sheet over the hole and be done in 10 minutes. On a time and materials contract, they will wait for permission to go onto the roof, and sit up there for hours texting their mates, then staple the plastic sheet. On an equity share contract, they will move in, and place a bucket under the hole.

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Reviews are not Support Requests

One of the biggest things missing in the iTunes App Store is the ability for the developer of an app to respond to complaints raised in the reviews section of their app. We all know that the purpose of a review is to document an honest experience with a product. We all also should know that every app on the store has a support link, where customers are supposed to go to report any issues, errors or problems, or to ask questions of the developer.

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