Friday, May 4, 2012

May the Force be with you! (and MyEDN for iOS)

Happy Star Wars Day!

MyEDN was originally submitted to the AppStore for review on April 9th.

My first mistake was not including, setting up and populating a test account for Apple to test MyEDN. DOH!

That cost me about a week, because the review process is clocking at about 6-7 days it seems.

They sent me a request to update the review notes with a test account and test instructions, and finally submit the new meta data. Unfortunately the reviewer had put MyEDN in the wrong state, and it took me a while to figure out that the only way to get it back into Waiting for Review was to submit a new binary (actually the same one).

About a week later it was rejected with some unspecific pointers about the UI. This was the login screen at this point:



I asked for clarification, and got another couple of messages back from the reviewer that weren't specific enough for me to figure out what exactly they wanted instead.

I decided to use the Appeal option, and while waiting for that process I ripped the UI apart and recreated it from the ground up. I added info screens throughout as well as more functionality.

Yesterday I got a call back from a very nice person of the App Review Board, and it became clear that the issue wasn't UI at all. I had a link to www.embarcadero.com in my description of MyEDN. This is considered disallowed marketing, even though my phrasing was specifically "PS: An EDN account is required to use this app. If you don't have one, you can create one here..." - in retrospect a link to members.embarcadero.com would probably have worked better, but I opted to remove the link completely. I don't foresee anyone that isn't already an EDN member downloading MyEDN anyway. Finally, Apple had also found a crash bug, which is now addressed.

By this time I already had the new UI ready to go. My plan was to make it an update, but since MyEDN still wasn't approved I simply uploaded it as a new binary and it's now pending review in this form:



I'm much happier with this look and feel, and my hope is that the Force is with MyEDN this time. If the review cycle stays on it's current 6-7 day schedule MyEDN should go into review by the end of next week, and hopefully I've knocked out all issues and it will be approved so that you guys can have at it. I can't stand the fact that Cleggy teases me on a daily basis that EDN Mobile has been in Google Play for weeks and that he's updated it multiple times in the last couple of days. I told him that in his case no review was required, and that his UI is still nowhere near mine. Apple is holding MyEDN to a much higher standard than that! So there, Cleggy... ;)

Enjoy!

PS: All this experience with App Review feedback, Appeal etc will be awesome fodder for upcoming webinars as well, so that all of you can create awesome iOS apps.

40 comments:

  1. Completely agree with Cleggy. How much time you have lost during this roundtrip with apple? Now you have a better UI? Yes, but in the meantime you could have developed a much better UI for your own without waiting for the apple approvation.

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  2. LOL, I feel lucky to read your posts, It's gonna save me a lot of time :)

    Well done and thanks.

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  3. Apple's AppStore review process is VERY frustrating and arbitrary. Probably the worst part of being an Apple Developer.

    It has no consistency. Submitting an update is always a risk, because they review the whole app at every update (7 days process) and often reject an update for some reason that was not an issue for the previous version.

    But there is a simple and undeniable fact: it is Apple's AppStore. They can do whatever they want. As they say: it's Apple's world, we just live in it. Still, probably worth the hard work and waiting once your app is approved and starts generating revenue.

    I've had a very frustrating (not to say depressing) first experience with the review process. Had three paid apps submitted at once and Apple demanded I merged them into a single container up to avoid flooding their AppStore. The worst part: demanded I distributed it as a free app and used in-app purchases to sell stuff inside it (as you know iPhoneAll does not cover StoreKit framework and had to do a lot of extra work parsing it) Appealed to the review board and lost.

    My advice is (does not apply to Anders, of course :) ): if you've gone as far as submitting an app to the AppStore, you have already done a LOT. You can't stop now.

    For submitting a FM app to the AppStore, the minimum steps are:

    1.) Buy XE2 license [Money]
    2.) Learn how to use FM (at least adapt to it) [Time]
    3.) Buy a MAC if you don't already own one [Money]
    4.) Learn how to install Xcode and iOS stuff from XE2 [Time]
    5.) Learn how to deply to actual devices [Time]
    6.) Engage to the developer program [Money]
    7.) Do a lot of silly provisioning stuff [Wasted Time]
    8.) Agree to a lot of contracts in order to get your app out there [Time]
    9.) Send it to review and wait a whole week just to know if it got approved or not [Stressing Time]
    10.) ...

    A rejection is very frustrating and many times unfair, but there is no option but to try again (or appeal to the review board). Giving up would be very expensive and even more frustrating.

    I just don't understand why there is this 7 days wait. If it is always 7 days wait (at least 5 or 6), why don't they work extra long ours for a month and reduce it for 1 or 2 days? If the waiting review time is "constant", then the logic conclusion is that there is accumulated work and it could be reduced by working longer ours for a limited time period. Anyways.

    But once everything clears and your app is live on the AppStore, feels great! :D

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  4. @Olecramoak

    LOL, I think you missed 10 steps, Pull you hair out, learning how to use NS classes etc.
    Thats why i been waiting for Anders to do the work seems he got the patience.

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  5. @Olecramoak: For sure. In my case I got very arbitrary feedback, and no matter what I said they seemed not to understand what the app was trying to do, and that it will have value to EDN users. It wasn't until I appealed and got a phone call from one of their folks that I was able to explain and get across what the app actually does. If they had given me the feedback that I got in that phone call, MyEDN would've been live already. BTW, I applied for an expedited review just because I could. I lost of course, but I wanted to get a feel for that process so that I can tell OUR customers what it's like when they ask.

    @Roger: Hah!

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  6. @Anders
    I'll send you some Surströmming for your work :)

    Just kidding, I spent the last weeks working on IOS stuff and hearing about all the steps to get the app out makes me, grr

    I know I have to get some companies and i guess have to apply for a developer certificate and add us for them to use it internal unless i get a separate contract from apple, Government used apps is a main one.

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  7. @Roger: No fermented stuff, unless it's beer, please ;)

    There is one other choice for deployment and that is AdHoc. For apps that cannot get approved for the AppStore for whatever reason, that makes sense. I may try it one of these days.

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  8. Yes, but what I understand about adhoc is.

    The company that has the development licence can deploy 100 a year in there company. So if you have one you cant give it to other company but they can apply for a dev licence and put you on as a developer and send out 100 apps its fine.

    I need 1000++, Every lawyer in a state etc. I better go for android seems apple is only for games :)

    We got a Company licence and has a team but that no different than a single dev except the stupid paperwork we had todo.

    @Anders oh yes, beer is better.

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  9. @Roger: Oh crap! Wow! I assumed AdHoc was for delivering your app outside the AppStore. So there is NO way to deliver an app outside of the AppStore unless every target device is jailbroken? Really? Yikes.

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  10. @Anders: You right AdHoc is to deliver outside AppStore but it has limitations :(
    I think it's a very weird setup in one way but as a company that want to be a Dynasty It's normal i guess, they want their $. They got nice looking hardware and it runs good (well had, 3x more craches in MAC OS then i ever had in windows after i went all MAC, lol), I'm spoiled, we spent a lot on MAC hardware and 99% of the time i run VM windows 7 in them.

    Well i have to have a talk with Apple because of this and I let you know what they say.

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  11. @Roger: I have the same experience on my MBP. I run Win7 in Fusion. MacOSX crashes a lot more than Win7. Come to think of it, Win7 has never crashed on my box in a whole year. My all-time favorite is when debugging on iOS and the app crashes so bad that it takes Xcode down with it. Go figure that one out.

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  12. @Anders/Roger: fact -- Apple really does not care if their developers make money. Actually, it is better for them if we all try to get "Angry Birds" success, by selling ridiculously cheap apps. They sell expensive hardware. We provide good quality cheap software hoping to win the big app's lottery. Sad is it not? Still... I hope to win this lottery some time... :D and making these little apps make me happy :):):)

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  13. @ Olecramoak: Apple really care about their customers! If Apple's developers are able to deliver cheap good apps, customers are happy, Apple is happy too - they sell expensive hardware to customers and motivate customers with cheap apps)

    So, dont do apps! Do services for customers and sell whole company - this can be BIG (like Instagramm, Evernote, etc)

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  14. @anders: "My all-time favorite is when debugging on iOS and the app crashes so bad that it takes Xcode down with it. Go figure that one out"...

    Agreeded. Those are really awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A quick note about adHoc: it is designed for beta testing. I've been using it since my program entered that mode a few weeks ago. You need to get the UDID of each beta tester and generate a certificate each time you add one. then you can archive your program, sign it using your certificate and email a link to the ipa (or zipped ipa) and they can add it using iTunes.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Xavier: Yep, I figured that out. That means there's no other way...

    ReplyDelete
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