Corporate Lucy and naive developer Charlie. Every time she gives you a ball to kick at, or a 'leap of faith', she moves the ball away. Charlie runs for it an kicks only to end up flat on his backside with the ball just as far away as ever. Lucy wonders why noone else wants to play.
In this story Charlie has been worn out staying up all night working out how to use the 'supported' framework, signing process and app approval system. He despairs as he has to find information by trawling support forums, interpreting rumours and fishing for corporate leaks on mobile websites. He dreams of the day when his app is being used, getting feedback and he can enjoy improving it. The cause of his problems, Lucy, is the very thing that should be helping him.
Why is it that great technologies are exploited by these corporate Lucys, yet at the same time neglected? Is it that they don't understand the motivation behind developing apps? Charlies can see potential and are excited by it. The possibility of achieving something is there - but Lucy's not bothered that it's tantilisingly out of reach for Charlie. In fact, she finds fun in making it unavailable. Is there an inate need for corporate Lucy to feel superior and powerful? She demonstrates it at conferences, in Youtube videos and on technology websites. But will Lucy ever make these technologies truly available?
Take these problems Charlie (and others) might face with a Lucy's hypothetical company:
(i) two similar devices, from the same company, with similar operating systems, use different IDEs, different versions of the same framework and subtley different signing processes. One device, which has been available for longer, has worse support for the heralded framework than the first. But Lucy says come and develop for one and you'll effectively be developing for both. "Same framework. Same OS. Same signing process. Don't believe me? We'll eventually provide an update for the first device. It'll be great. Thanks for your loyalty." What she doesn't say is that there are still, now, many seemingly 'secret', badly documented, methods necessary to get the earlier IDE installed, the app compiled in release mode and signed for the app store (not to mention bugs in the newer OS). Implicitly Charlie has to run all over the place just because Lucy won't tell him where the ball is or indeeed where it will be and when.
(ii) so you got your app to compile? Great! Oh, but Charlie found a bug with the OS. No problem - just stick it in our bug tracker. What's that? Other people have the bug with the 'supported' framework too? And when will we look at it? Well we're very busy right now. Why? Well we're launching a new operating system. Oh, but wait, you're not sure if you'll get bad feedback because of the bug? Oh well. We'll fix it Charlie, don't worry...
(iii) so you've got a signed, compiled app? Great! (How did he do that?!) Just submit it on the app store and we'll take a look at it. When will you find out if it's been approved? Oh, well we'll let you know. [Hours go by. Days go by.] What's that Charlie you want to update a bug? Okay, yes just wait for this version to be approved. [Weeks... A month...] We're very busy right now. Lots and lots of apps. [Moment of luck] Hey, hang on - how did you get that approved??! Okay but didn't you want to get a new improved release on there? Okay ...
Never mind Charlie, at least this Lucy is seemlingly playing some kind of ball. Even if the rules aren't clear, it feels extremely slow and you don't trust them 100%.
It shouldn't be like this though. It should be EASY to play ball and developers shouldn't be made to feel suckers because they got undermined at the last moment. What Lucy doesn't realise is that people get fed up and go elsewhere.
The last Lucy really made people feel like they fell on their backside. That was a real way to wreck brand loyalty. Mind you she's suffering now (these days people don't like play ball as much with 'Redmond' Lucy).
But hang on there's a Lucy from Finland and a Lucy from Africa that want to play. Rumour has it they'll be along in a year. And their devices might be available in Europe. What do you think Charlie? Charlie? ...