Facebook iPhone Application Developer Quits Over Apple's Review Process

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by str1f3, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. str1f3 macrumors 68000

    Aug 24, 2008
    The developer behind the Facebook app says he's quit the project because off App Store policies. To TechCrunch he said:

    "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.”

    The Facebook app is one of the most downloaded apps and is well-respected. Apple cannot afford to lose really good developers because of their lousy policies. This is going to have to cahnge because clearly there is something wrong here.
  2. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I do recall reading other developers expressing similar feelings.
  3. macfan881 macrumors 68020

    Feb 22, 2006
    wont miss him I think the Facebook app could be much better
  4. IronLogik macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2009
    Wow. Hewitt is one of the big developers on the iPhone. That's a pretty big loss for the iPhone man. Some seriously big shoes for the new developer to fill.
  5. str1f3 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 24, 2008
    That may be true about the bugs but it's considered to be the best Facebook app on any mobile platform and he alone worked on it. He does say in his Twitter posts (@joehewitt) that bug fixes were already submitted and I believe push notifications as well.

    When you hear stories, like this week and the political bobble head fiasco, you really wonder what is going on at Apple.
  6. DeepIn2U macrumors 601


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    An excuse for new horizons

    I see this as an excuse for the developer to explore new horizons. Was it not the same "middleman process" when he first submitted the FaceBook app?? I'm sure it was; however maybe the recent changes are slowing final development to fruition & consumption.

    Still the web still has a LONG way to go to become so called "best mobile app" because not all data should be sourced in real time or pulled/pushed when needed by the user. Many places where wireless provider data is STILL not truely unlimited & thus restricted (Canadian providers ALL the incumbents STILL charge & cap a specific ceiling of 1-2GB monthly with few % on the offered/pulled 6gb of data; along with tethering restrictions/allowances and so called "fair use" policies).

    There are many applications that serve just as well or better with a single burst of data for 1 time & initial requests. Only specific changes in data which wold affect users are required and incremental.

    Some applications, like stock data for trading applications, world news events/reports - need and require a continuous stream of data. Issue is web based cloud "apps" (more like interfaces) change not only the data presented to the end user, but many times augmenting the GUI layout which most of the times is not needed; this lacks in efficient data streaming, and more data bucket usuage & costs to the end user.

    There is a HUGE reason why WML/WAP1.1 failed, and why WAP2.0 is in a static state of developmental evolution and suits feature phones, and not smartphones.

    Yes I'm aware of HTML5 and what GoogleWave presents - but it proves that the GUI layout consistently changes due to new data streams and provides great event notifications - but its NOT suited for a battery packing handheld smartphone/feature phone device. To put it simply developers that code specifically to the web think of Desktops/Laptops (and recently MIDS) First & Foremost; mobile is thought up of only after mass consumption of their work is taken noticed. THAT is the issue.

    Smartphones are THE MOST PERSONAL and trusted computing platform and thus heavily guarded by the end user. As such there NEEDS to be some kind of regulation, to what extent can be argued and never resolved for the next 10yrs - but it cannot nor should NOT be left to the end user!

    At one point in the future, a smartphones evolution as a mobile device to a lifestyle personal companion should be as easy, as free, and as care free to use as our voices, words and hands (in any language, context & intent) and evolve as such. The only limitations are common sense, experience, and specific laws & moral aptitude for their uses.

    Wow, that is thinking different. I think I'm high!!
  7. iFerd macrumors 6502a

    Jul 20, 2007
    I regard this as a loss if true. The Facebook application for iPhone is one of the most elegant I know of in terms of providing function in a nicely integrated package that is also nice to look at. Count me among those who thinks this is bad.
  8. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    Do you actually know anything about him? He is a high profile developer that worked on the original Firefox and the firebug extension. If he quits, it means something is VERY wrong with the Apple approval process.

    I have a strong feeling Apple gave him a hard time with an update to the app so he was like **** that, it is not worth it.
  9. return7 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2008
    All software has bugs. It's a matter of prioritizing new features vs. bug fixes when one puts out new releases. For many (maybe even most) features or bug fixes you wanted, chances are he had thought of them and prioritized them rationally. I wouldn't burn him at the stake for not implementing something you wanted sooner. :)
  10. str1f3 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 24, 2008
    Reading some of the posts about this on Twitter, it may (or may not be) about the Three20 project (Objective C library for developing iPhone apps) that was developed by Hewitt. It apparently was using private APIs and may have been getting other people's apps, who were using the code, rejected. Conceivably, the Facebook app could have been using the same private API calls and was continually getting rejected. Supposedly, Apple has some new way to check out if you're using these APIs. Hewitt may have just got fed up with the situation and decided to quit.
  11. Pika macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2008
    Let the other developers make apps better then the facebook app.
  12. Daremo macrumors 68020


    Jul 3, 2007
    I respect the fact that he and any developer can do what ever they wish, and move on to do other things, but to use the review process as your excuse is lame. Sure, everyone knows and agrees it's a bit harsh of a process, but he's leaving exactly why? Because it's a 2 week wait for approval? Because Apple polices content to make sure it won't hinder performance on the device? The developers all know the rules, and not much has changed from day one. I understand frustration, but this is a bit extreme to prove a point. There are better ways to go about it.

    Just my opinion...

    I think he did a great job on the app, and I'm disappointed he's walking away from it.
  13. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Facebook App developer rejects App Store, irony ensues

  14. Pattycerts macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2007
  15. megapopular macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2007
    What will actually make developers happy? Free run? I respect Apple's right to try to keep their platform within the guidelines that the determine. Apple isn't perfect but the Facebook developer did the right thing... He tucked his tail between his legs and ran... It's cool when people give up. (sarcasm intended) He's a developer, he's gonna deal with different platforms with different rules ALL THE TIME! Soon the internet will start "locking down," then what will he do? I think the Facebook app could be a lot better, I'm not claiming to be able to code it and what-not but the apps shortcomings can't be all linked to Apple's approval process. That's what I think this developer should have focused on: making the app as amazingly good as possible within the "confinements" that are in place.
  16. venasque macrumors member

    May 13, 2008
    I'm a little disappointed. I would like updates to the Facebook app, which I use every day. =(
  17. nehunte macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2009
    Anybody having issues with Facebook at all? It redirects me to mobile facebook half the time. I hope Apple can resolve these issues. They need people like Facebook on board with them.
  18. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Gutted.. the Facebook app since the 3.0 update has really been looking good, and I'd love to see Hewitt evolve it even more.

    Think Phil Schiller should send him an email just to thank him for developing so gracefully for the iPhone, explain the review process and reasoning behind it and then just wish him well in the future.

    This is a PR blow, and Phil will have to do something or this could be damaging to the platform's future development.
  19. STEVESKI07 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Washington, DC
    How will the internet start "locking down"?
  20. IronLogik macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2009
    I can totally understand his frustration. His job is to make his application better. When there is a big bug that sneaks into the application but isn't caught before the release of the app. You discover it after several people complain (and several in FB terms is probably thousands) but you can fix the problem in an hour. But then you need to wait 2-3 weeks for the application to be approved by apple. In the mean time you can't do jack **** because the app store is completely controlled by Apple. Oh and the user has to deal with the bug until Apple approves the update which at the current rate can be anywhere from a week to three weeks (or more as noted below).

    His job is made harder because of Apple's BS. Why would you want your job to be harder than it needs to be? Of course you don't want your job to be harder. So why say that his job should be any different than your own.

    Nevermind the other developers out there like Cerulean Studio's who haven't heard a single peep from Apple about their Trillian app for the iPhone for over 3 months. THREE MONTHS.

    It's pretty clear that while one developer has the capability to be reassigned to better things, not all developers are. As a result he chose to make his life easier. Others can't, but my guess is that if they had the choice they too would switch away from the App Store.

    Look at Steven Frank (from Panic) who tried to ditch the iPhone for philosophical reasons as well. He wasn't able to leave. But my guess is his success rate would be higher now with the newer Android devices (Droid and Droid Eris/Hero).

    This isn't just one developer having problems. It's a LOT of big developers who are seeing issues. meanwhile more fart apps, flashlight apps and trash are loaded up on the store for no good reason. But those who actually want to make your life easier are getting nothing but grief (or in the case of Cerulean Studios' NOTHING).

    Look at the bigger picture is what I'm saying.
  21. jmpage2 macrumors 68030


    Sep 14, 2007
    The trade off is performance.

    Certainly a lot of applications for the iphone could be moved to a web front end, however the applications would be far less sophisticated and would run much slower.

    The choice of letting everyone run wild and do whatever the hell they want with the phones is a bad choice. Just look at all the wankers down in Australia who were too lazy to change ssh passwords on their phones and got pwnd by a worm.

    If you want to do whatever the heck you want then run a jailbroken phone and take all of the risks.

    I do think that Apple needs to work harder on App approval, and I believe the best thing for them to do is have a gold certification level for developers who are trusted. Those developers would be allowed to make as many changes to their applications as they wanted without any interference or approval from apple.
  22. IronLogik macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2009
    This was an asinine comment by the OP that you replied to.

    Joe Hewitt said that the App Store is setting a precedent that the Store for a particular handheld device needs to have a review process. Other companies are following suit. IF this process becomes more and more common then the platforms suffer due to the lack of innovative fun new pieces of software.

    The Internet isn't locked down because anyone can purchase a server or rent one toss it on the internet and run custom software. You can distribute your information, you can sell your products, you can link friends together without another company telling you yes or no (like the App Store). It's open.

    That's what Joe Hewitt likes about the internet. The openness. The close mindedness of the App Store is what turned him off to the development process.

    And losing him is huge. He's one of the biggest developers for the platform. More people use Facebook I think than just about any third party application.
  23. IronLogik macrumors 6502

    Jun 15, 2009
    No one is saying that they want to do whatever the heck they want. The developers are saying they want to distribute their applications themselves without Apple having to Approve them. Sure, you can distribute applications on the store. It's a great thing. But you should ALSO have the choice to download an application from the internet from a companies website.

    The "wankers down in Australia" are running jailbroken phones and clearly didn't read the farking directions. You do that, serves you right to have your phone infected with a worm.

    But no one is saying everyone should have complete control over the phone. They're saying they want to distribute the applications themselves if they so choose to.

    Palm and Android both allow this if I recall.
  24. Pattycerts macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2007
    LOL, do you think Apple is rejecting the app because its not 'good enough' when there are 1000's of useless apps?

    You apparently are missing the point. The approval process is not STRICT, its INCONSISTENT. Read support forums for all of these apps, their approval process is a joke. They update something that's causing an issue in their app then Apple finds another reason to reject it, a reason that wasn't an issue the first time, causing devs to work just that much more work.

    If you're going to create an app for THEIR phone I can understand Apple making sure they accept it, but they need a better policy.
  25. Konz macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009

Share This Page