SeattleBus Diary: some updates, metrics, and the AppStore

I am by now means the only iPhone developer who’s run into this, but man – the reviews on the AppStore are just broken. Craig Hockenberry (of the ADA winning iPhone application Twitterific) wrote about the AppStore and reviews on his blog. He talks about how the AppStore reviews are broken – like the fact you don’t need to have purchased the app to review it. He doesn’t mention something that I’ve noticed – the “helpfulness” of the reviews doesn’t appear to effect the overall rating. But I think what he really calls out at the end is the kicker – the reviews are fundamentally “one way”. The AppStore isn’t a forum and isn’t set up for discussion. Like Craig and others, I’ve received some useful feedback in the reviews, and frankly a lot of really useless feedback (like the fact that someone feels the app isn’t worth the value). Completely valid to the user – I wouldn’t expect anyone to purchase SeattleBus if they didn’t think it had the value – but that isn’t at all a review. And insulting the people who would buy it? That’s just rude. Hopefully we’ll see something better – but given the level of infrastructure I expect it would take to make it happen in a large company, I’m not expecting a quick change.

In the meantime, if you have questions or feedback about SeattleBus – please, by all means, send me email and let me know! I’m responding to all the email I get, and I’ve even tried to respond to the reviews on the AppStore (a little tricky, since I have to guess at email addresses).

In the mean time, I’ve had folks pop by and ask “How’s it doing?”. Here’s the sad thing – I have no idea! Apple isn’t providing any metrics, so the best I have is anecdotal evidence that folks are purchasing and using my application. The most that I think Apple has committed to is providing monthly financial reports, so I think it’ll be a little bit before I have any sense of how well or poorly SeattleBus is doing.

And yeah – I’ve been working on updates. My like Brent posting his updates for NetNewsWire – I’ve got a few myself:

1.0.1

  • fixed a number of memory leaks
  • added in-memory caching to improve performance

1.0.2

  • added in different constants for searching for nearby bus stops – working to make the “nearby” list more adaptive to areas without dense stops (the work I recently wrote about)
  • ordered the resulting nearby bus stops by distance from the current location
  • set Favorites to be initial view – re-organized views to enable that (favorites now left-most tab)
  • Loaded the in-memory caches in the background for better startup performance
  • changed initial image to show “Loading…” to make it more clear when the application is active

Now just as soon as I can figure out their interface for updating my Application, it’ll be in there and hopefully available to everyone shortly!

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