03 May 2010 by Published in: iphone, rants Tags:, 1 comment

> We lose nothing by having closed systems.

For good or for bad, for the past 25 years or so, programmers have effectively been subsidized in that the tools to design and create programs are effectively the same as the tools to *run* programs.

So every system, simply by installing a compiler, is ready to write computer programs.

Early computers didn’t even have that step. They had assemblers and basic in the ROM. It was assumed that you were going to be writing programs; how else were you going to get computers to do what you want?

The iPad/iPhone is the latest and greatest step in that huge gap. A little uneasy, for some of us, perhaps, who grew up with QBASIC on-device-coding and can’t imagine any other way.

But that is sort of a straw-man issue. You have to buy a real computer, so what? There’s a closely-related, but way-more-troubling problem.

App review.

App review is painful. I’ve had two apps axed by Apple not for bugs or for security issues, but because, quite simply, Apple didn’t like them (technically I had 3 such rejections; one was “reversed” on “appeal”).

Think this doesn’t affect you? It does. Google Voice found out the hard way. It was easier for them to rewrite their app in HTML5 then to talk Apple into letting it on the app store. Same goes for Google Navigation, that will never see the light of day.

For every app that you hear about, there are hundreds (I suspect more like thousands) of developers who had an app rejected and quietly went away.

That’s the danger in these new devices. Not that you need a computer to develop for them. Not that the apps are sandboxed and you can’t animate your icons or you require some ridiculous API nobody should ever need.

The problem is that Apple can–and, in fact, does–reject well-behaved applications that it simply doesn’t like. Not just the buggy ones. Not just the malicious ones.

That’s a thought that should chill every developer to the bone.

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  1. Wed 19th May 2010 at 1:00 am

    If Apple allowed every decent APP that was submitted to be approved it would bring AT&T’s network to its knees. Although I agree with you, if an App is well written, it should be approved. Sometimes I get the feeling that Jobs personally gets pleasure denying Apps. Makes him feel god like.

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