Facebook app dev posts scathing indictment of App Store

Facebook app dev posts scathing indictment of App Store

Summary: The developer of the Facebook app for iPhone has quit the project in a protest of Apple's review process. Apple needs to lift the App Store kimono a little or risk losing other top talent.

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Joe Hewitt by snackfight.Joe Hewitt is mad and he's doing something about it. He's stopping developing his immensely popular FaceBook iPhone App in protest. TechCrunch reports that Hewitt tweeted that he’s done with the project:

Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project.

(Anyone else find it fitting that Hewitt chose to post his resignation on Twitter, instead of, well, FaceBook?)

Hewitt told TechCrunch that he quit the project over Apple’s tyrannical App Store approval policies:

My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.”

I'm with Hewitt. Apple's app review process borders on insane, doesn't scale well and is about as opaque as can be. Although Apple's new status tracker for developers is a step in the right direction, it's not much. The App Store review process needs to be reformed if it's going to maintain its aggressive growth. A bunch of pissed off developers aren't going to help.

The free Facebook app has over 500,000 reviews and is a flagship app that's visible in many Apple television commercials.

Photo: Flickr user snackfight

Topics: Mobility, Apple, CXO, Software, IT Employment, Social Enterprise

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Talkback

20 comments
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  • It's a surprise that Apple's App Store review process is tyrannical?

    Afterall, there certainly isn't anyone more open minded than Stevie Boy Wonder...is there?

    Gee...who'd have thunk it.
    IT_Guy_z
    • so what's he going to do?

      So what is Hewitt going to do? Develop web apps? All the app stores have
      major restrictions, look at windows mobile. And their SDks are a joke.
      He's gonna develop for Symbian? Web OS? Android 1.5, 1.6 or 2.0 (that's
      a joke right there) or Samsung's new mobile OS?? Seriously where is he
      going?? What's he going to do?? LOL
      panic man
      • From what many have described here

        in regaurds to the App store, Apple is by far the worst in terms of having developers jumping through hoops for whatever reason.

        It probally does not matter that he may have to hurdle 10 different processes in terms of developing for another platform, as that may be 50 less hurdles then doing it on the iPhone.

        Every platform has its procedures, some moreso than other
        GuidingLight
        • Wish he, or SOMEONE, would illuminate what the Apps Store issues are?

          Kind of hard to believe it's so horrible when there is no detail behind the story...just 'I can't stand them and am moving on'.

          My guess? He moves onto MySpace. LOL!!!
          No More Microsoft Software Ever!
      • He said he'd develop web apps

        that run on any mobile device via browser.
        LiquidLearner
  • Deleted

    Oops: Wrong place
    GuidingLight
  • Good for him

    Soon, the only people left developing for the iPhone are those that are too stupid to leave. :)

    [i]Want your applications to be approved for the App Store? There's no app for that.[/i]

    Snicker, snort :)
    NonZealot
    • Want NonZealots posts to disappear? There's no app for that! ~ LOL! (NT)

      NT
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
    • Another one

      Another one of your typically useless posts, devoid of ANY even remotely
      helpful information, quite in the habit of the troll that you are.

      It is a sad statement that you actually think you are amusing. Hint,
      humour is only funny if it is not predictable. As soon as I read the thread
      topic, I can predict your response with close to 100% accuracy.
      It is telling of your audience that the same three people find your posts
      funny. It is indicative of their level of intellect as well.
      SpiritusInMachina
    • Soon, there won't be any shills left on this forum

      Just joking. As long as MS pays them and Apple exists, people like Bitty will be *living* here.

      Must suck to have no life.
      brian ansorge
  • RE: Facebook app dev posts scathing indictment of App Store

    I'm not a developer, so I don't understand exactly what you're going through...
    However, speaking as a consumer, I think it works really well!
    I see thousands of applications in the AppStore, and I have reasonable confidence that the applications up there aren't going to rip me off or render my iPhone useless.
    This is all good!

    Yes, Apple keeps a very tight rein on all aspects of their products - that's just what they do... and to some extent that's why their products are popular - you know what to expect.

    Just sayin' - perhaps the developers have forgotten who they're developing for??
    rossdav
    • Its not the "why" but the "how"

      If Apple had a transparent and objective approval process that was there to ensure that iPhone users where protected from malicious intent, and that developers respected the conventions of the device, I don't think make developers would be complaining.

      In reality, the approval process seems to be opaque, subjective, and on some occaisons Apple seem to have put their own interests in front of those of the customers.
      njoho
      • Please post some detail/proof instead of just posting your opinion. Thanx!

        NT
        No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • Eh?

          As I used the word "seems", I think it's quite clear I was posting my opinion (and as a developer, not an idle opinion, but one that is suitably informed).

          I stand by my opinion: Apple's process seems opaque, subjective, and even capricious.

          njoho
    • Well, I use Win Mo

      and have been for years. Every app I have ever paid for has had a trial period soI am also sur I'm not being ripped off or the app will fry my phone. But I don't have to rely on MS or anyone else to decide if I want/can use the app.

      I suppose that is the main reason I will never hav an Iphone. It has a nice UI andI really like the form factor but I just have a basic adversion to anyone telling me how to use my phone.

      And devlopers should be developing for the users - not just to please Apple.
      steeleblue_cactus
  • Well, good luck with that Mr. Hewitt

    It sound like yet another developer who does not like
    process and QA. I understand where he is coming from but
    when you are developing software others, you have to
    keep in mind the rights of others.

    I'm disturbed by the notion Mr. Hewitt has that developing
    for the web has no rules whatsoever. If you are collecting
    personal information from consumers, you must abide by a
    set of laws in how you store that information and you must
    provide a privacy policy stating how the information is to
    be used with an end user agreement which collects
    consent from the user.

    If he were to develop an e-commerce solution, there
    would be additional privacy and security considerations.

    Developing for the web does not excuse anyone from rules
    or having a QA process. Apple was providing a high level
    QA process for smaller developers as part of their review
    process to prevent a fundamental flaw that leaks user
    information or brings down the network.

    Have we learning nothing from the recent news concerning
    the security holes in the facebook API? Recently it was
    discovered that if the owner of a facebook group leaves,
    anyone joining that group can take ownership and shut the
    group down if a new owner has not been chosen.
    aristotle_z
  • RE: Facebook app dev posts scathing indictment of App Store

    I have a friend who own a game development company which makes iPhone apps, and I can tell you that this story is not an exaggeration. Apple took over three months of holding up release of one of their new games and an upgrade to one of their old games because there was a single reference to another game inside them. At any point Apple could simply have told them what they didn't like, and the apps could have been fixed within a day or so. That didn't happen. Apple just kept them hanging for over three months as they attempted to figure out by trial and error what Apple was objecting to. Absolutely idiotic! There are obviously some people running the Apple app store division that have serious case of Napoleon Complex. Apple needs to clean house and put in new management that is willing to actually work with developers rather than ones who get their jollies stymieing their efforts.
    wineaux
  • RE: Facebook app dev posts scathing indictment of App Store

    Scathing? Hardly. The guy works for the biggest walled garden
    since AOL and he complains about Apple not allowing any hacker
    to compromise the phone? It's a freaking phone first, and a
    computer second.
    ewelch
  • RE: Facebook app dev posts scathing indictment of App Store

    Sounds like Joe has trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time.
    I have multiple customers and each one is different. Their projects are
    are specific to their specifications.
    Prime Detailer
  • good idea about facebook

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    gavin.chan