To Wait or Not to Wait?
After a somewhat frustrating ordeal I was able to submit v1.05 of iDiscGolf to Apple's App Store this past weekend. Unless the iPhone Gods (aka: Apple's iOS App Reviewers) strike it down it should be available for download before the weekend! That my friends is the good news. The bad news is, I made a similar post on Facebook about two weeks ago, which obviously didn't happen. So why the wait?
After reading some not so stellar reviews from users of previous versions I had to revise my road map for iDiscGolf to incorporate user requested features earlier rather than later. The features I ended up addressing in this update weren't all that hard to accomplish and will hopefully lead to somewhat improved user reviews and ratings. On the other hand, they aren't going to make iDiscGolf the killer Disc Golf application I want it to be either. Anyway, my goal was to get a minor update out quickly and get back to work on a larger and more significant update. Then the waiting game began.
First of all, the focus here isn't the minor bug fixes that were made, but rather the sharable score card. Unlike other currently available disc golf apps, I couldn't simply grab a screen capture of the score card and call it a day. This is to iDiscGolf's ability to support so many holes and/or golfers per round. This ability had previously presented some interface challenges when designing an interactive score card. In the end I decided on a different approach than the competition.
My plan was to utilize HTML in the email message users would share to generate the tables necessary to contain the results. This approach failed for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason was due to the fact that all email clients and web based email applications have decided to handle HTML email differently. While both HTML and CSS Standards exist, these clients/applications have all chosen to basically ignore them. This is especially true when trying to utilize HTML email using CSS. These inconsistencies became increasingly frustrating and drove me to abandon that approach rather quickly.
Afterwards I decided to attempt to generate the score card image after all. The challenge then became how to accomplish this task quickly. The first implementation left me wondering if the application had gotten hung up for more than a couple of minutes. It's bad enough when the user thinks the application got stuck, but when a developer comes to that conclusion, something is obviously wrong. Anyway, would users rather wait for a decent release or wait every time they wanted to generate a score card? Thats what I had to ask myself. I decided a decent release would be better for everyone. Long story short, the optimization of that process lead to the first delay. It should be noted that "optimization" is used as a relative term here, so don't expect a huge score card to render before you can blink. Just know that before the rendering code was optimized, generating score card images would have bought you enough time to grab a quick dinner. I know because I practically did it myself.
With the score card rendering process executing within an acceptable window (in my opinion), I was ready to submit. Then came the second delay which was due to the fact that I had (perhaps impatiently) updated my project to support Apple's XCode 4 IDE. Without boring everyone, I simply couldn't build the application for distribution, and therefore couldn't submit. So, while the time it took to get my project building again was probably due to early adaptor mentality, I'd like to point the finger at Apple on this one. Sorry Apple, but while I love the features XCode 4 provides, it still has some unfortunate issues. Then again, I'm sure users could say the same about iDiscGolf... but please don't. Not in the reviews at least... leave that for the forums.
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