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I hope your apps are better than this

Today, let’s do something different. Instead of offering up my own opinions, I’ll let others hang themselves with their own words. Suffice it to say, test your software fully before shipping it out. These aren’t kids cloistered away in their bedrooms building apps for fun; these are commercial developers. Have comments on this? Well, sure you do — you’re a software developer, too. What do you think? Join the discussion; we’d like to hear from you.

Case #1:
Adobe royally messes up this week’s updates to Lightroom (desktop) and Lightroom CC (cloud).

In an effort to simplify the process of importing images from camera into the Lightroom database, well, it’s broken. Broken so badly the various photography forums are ablaze with anger. Today (Fri., Oct. 9, 2015), in the Adobe Lightroom Journal, branded as “tips and advice straight from the Lightroom team,” Adobe’s Tom Hogarty, writing on behalf of the Lightroom Management Team, falls on his sword:

Lightroom 6.2 Release Update and Apology

I’d like to personally apologize for the quality of the Lightroom 6.2 release we shipped on Monday. The team cares passionately about our product and our customers and we failed on multiple fronts with this release. In our efforts to simplify the import experience we introduced instability that resulted in a significant crashing bug. The scope of that bug was unclear and we made the incorrect decision to ship with the bug while we continued to search for a reproducible case(Reproducible cases are essential for allowing an engineer to solve a problem). The bug has been fixed and today’s update addresses the stability of Lightroom 6.

The simplification of the import experience was also handled poorly. Our customers, educators and research team have been clear on this topic: The import experience in Lightroom is daunting. It’s a step that every customer must successfully take in order to use the product and overwhelming customers with every option in a single screen was not a tenable path forward. We made decisions on sensible defaults and placed many of the controls behind a settings panel. At the same time we removed some of our very low usage features to further reduce complexity and improve quality. These changes were not communicated properly or openly before launch. Lightroom was created in 2006 via a 14 month public beta in a dialog with the photography community. In making these changes without a broader dialog I’ve failed the original core values of the product and the team.

The team will continue to work hard to earn your trust back in subsequent releases and I look forward to reigniting the type of dialog we started in 2006.

Case #2:
Epicurous, the foodie website, messes up its mobile apps beyond repair. The apps have to be completely withdrawn. Really.

Read portions of what Eric Gillin, executive director of Epicurious, writes on the Epicurious website on Tues., Oct. 6, 2015 (excerpted):

Important Announcement for All Epicurious App Users

If you’re using our app on Apple or Windows, it’s critical you upgrade it immediately. If you’re using it on another platform, sadly, we no longer support those apps. Read on for more information.

Effective immediately, our apps for Apple and Windows will no longer work unless you update them. On that same date, our apps for Android, Nook, and Kindle will stop working properly.

IF YOU USE THE EPICURIOUS APP ON APPLE OR WINDOWS TABLETS OR PHONES

You must update the Epicurious app. Upgrading your app is critical. It will no longer work properly if you remain on an older version. If you’re unable to install the update for some reason, you can still view our recipes — and your recipe box — right here on our website.

IF YOU’VE BEEN USING THE EPICURIOUS APP ON ANDROID, KINDLE, OR NOOK DEVICES

These apps will no longer work properly. Because we can no longer support these apps, we will be removing them from stores. We’ll be working to create new versions that include all of the functionality you’ve come to expect from us.

We’re deeply sorry if this causes frustration. We’re doing this because we want to make sure that we offer the best possible experience and sadly, it’s no longer possible for us to support older devices and every single platform.

Do I need to say anything else? What do you have to say?

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