When is Apple going to begin listening to developers as well as Google does?
The tools Apple gives developers as part of iTunes Connect (the portal we use to publish and maintain our applications), are better than they used to be but are subpar compared to just about anyone else.
I have a few applications in the Apple iOS ecosystem and I have almost no knowledge of who my customers are and I’m not able to respond to reviews.
Google, on the other hand, has been taking a very different approach, listening to developers and acting on the feedback. Recently Google started allowing developers to respond to reviews. Its super-easy for a user to dislike one feature in your app and give a scathing review. If you are an Apple developer, you have to just sit back and take it.
- Beta testing and staged rollouts
We have introduced support for beta testing and staged rollouts so that you can get feedback on your new app or app update early in its development and make sure your users are happy with the results. You can test two different versions on two different groups at the same time, such as testing a newer version with your employees first, and a more mature version with a group of external testers.
The beta testing is private on Google Play, and you can specify who gets these versions by adding Google Groups and Google+ Communities. Users give you feedback privately rather than through public reviews. When you’re satisfied that your new version is ready, you can now do a staged rollout to a percentage of your userbase. To give you more flexibility in light of beta testing and help get your whole team involved in the Developer Console, we will soon launch additional access controls.
- Localization Help
We’re collaborating with Google’s internationalization team to make translating your app into new languages easier than ever. You can purchase professional translations of your apps from independent providers through the Google Play Developer Console. You can upload the strings you want translated, select the languages you want to translate into, and select your translation vendor based on time and price. If you’re interested in translating your apps with this feature, sign up to be a part of the preview in the Developer Console today on the APK page.
The new optimization tips for localization will help you identify new potential opportunities for global expansion based on popular languages for your app’s users and category. To fully localize your app into a language, you need to translate the strings in an APK, translate your Google Play store listing, and upload localized graphics. The optimization tips will also let you know if you’re missing any of these pieces.
Google also announced Android Studio which offers some really innovative ways to preview what an application will look like on various devices and in various languages. Developers also get to see previews of colors and localized strings in the IDE. It’s developed in conjunction with JetBrains, who produce so many great tools. It has to be better than Eclipse.
If you missed the Google I/O Keynote, here it is, but keep in mind, it’s 3-1/2 hours long:
Apple knows they have developers in a position that we need them, way more than they need us. It’s a really popular platform and people can make reasonable money on it. It’s pretty obvious when WWDC sells out in 90 seconds!
It would be really nice if Apple showed they cared about developers as much as Google does. Google needs developers and they show it. There was a good post on the Treehouse blog, Why Google Loves Developers, that talks about this very same thing. They point out it’s not just about Android but Chrome as well.
So, will Apple realize what Google did last week and follow suite with improvements to their developer support? Only time will tell. As an iOS developer, the Android ecosystem is looking like an attractive place to bring some applications. I have been interested more and more lately and the recent announcements just makes the Android platform that much more attractive.
As iOS and Mac developers, we are customers of Apple. Good vendors listens to their customers, Good did. How long do you think you would get with your business if you ignored your customers? It depends I guess if you dominate your market or not. If you do then you have some time before it comes back to bite you, if you don’t then you will never succeed. Customers are #1…always.
It will be very interesting to see what Apple has in store for developers next month at WWDC. I can’t see a technical reason Apple developers can’t have the same support from Apple as Google gives theirs. If Apple values their developers they should offer the same functionality on their platform, we have been asking for a long time.