20 June 2012

App store Woes and Panic's Coda

Recently I purchased Panic's Coda 2. Coda is a great piece of software for web developers who work on lots of different sites because it's an editor that keeps your local, remote, ssh and FTP credentials tied to a single site which you can swap back and forth to at will.

Or it would if it didn't crash every 5 minutes.....

It's partly Panic's fault for releasing something that's so buggy but I'm (or at least I have been) in the game myself so I know a thing or two about release schedules and how this sort of thing happens. Panic is an amazing company and they immediately leapt into action. After release they suddenly had thousands of bug reports telling them (for free, albeit with a small cost to their reputation) exactly what was wrong with the system and they patched it quickly and sent the patch to the App Store; which is when Apple dropped the ball.

That was June 6. It's now June 20th and still no sign of the update. People who paid for and downloaded Coda from the Panic website have had the patch for weeks while all of us App Store suckers are still rebooting the bloody thing seven times every hour. Coda have voiced their frustrations on their blog but little seems to be happening on the issue. Two weeks of security vulnerabilities and an unusable  product is simply unacceptable for a piece of software I need to do my job.

Apple will refund your purchase if you ask them to. That's the good news. The bad news is that lots of features like cloud synch aren't available from the version you buy directly from Coda.

It's tempting to say "Well, I never buy apps from the app store" but the reality  is that if you use iOS or OSX very soon it could be your only choice. Apple prides itself on its vertical integration and user experience so I hope they can read this (and many MANY other posts like it) and get on this problem.

I've got to say the whole thing has got me concerned. Appleland has always been a bit surreal and utopic with lots of forced smiles, pretty shiny flowers and fatherly, authoritarian figures keeping us "safe" and doing things "for our own good". On the other hand everything "just works" and when I compare it to the rest of Computerworld, Appleland has definite appeal. Maybe this is why people see in gated communities. It's funny that living in a suburb is one of my recurring nightmares and yet I am a Mac user.

Regardless, as apple starts to mount barbed wire on its garden wall I find myself needing to make a choice about which side of it I want to be on. I'm still waffling but someday soon I expect to be presented with an Apple terms of service contract swearing allegiance to the cult of Steve and all his mighty works.

That will be an interesting day.

UPDATE: I want to apologize to people with delicate sensibilities about my liberal use of dramatic "quotation marks". 


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