Every Mac developer that uses iCloud has a dirty little secret:
They don’t fully test their software before they ship it to customers on the Mac App Store. It’s because Apple won’t let them.
iOS developers, on the other hand, can upload a build to TestFlight and use the app with the iCloud production servers to make sure everything is working great before it gets sent to the App Store for review.
TestFlight has been available to internal developers since iOS 8 was announced in 2014. The system was opened up to external testers who have an iTunes account in the early part of 2015.
Mac developers have never had access to TestFlight, either internally or externally. It’s “coming soon”, and until that day comes, there’s no way to test apps that use the iCloud servers. Which sucks for both the developer and the customer.
But wait, there’s more.
Apple is touting analytics as an awesome new feature for developers that use the App Store to distribute their creations. It’s a huge benefit to our businesses, but only when you’re selling solely on iOS. This feature is nowhere to be found on the Mac App Store. Again, it’s “coming soon”.
Just yesterday, Apple did something great for developers. They now block reviews on beta OS releases. Unless that operating system is for the Mac.
Let me guess: it’s “coming soon”.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Apple is doing something it rarely does: a half-assed job.
As developers, we completely understand how much work it is to announce these kinds of initiatives and get them working on multiple platforms. It’s not easy and takes a lot of resources. But it’s clear that these precious resources are not being allocated.
Apple needs to change its priorities for the Mac App Store or just shut the whole thing down. As it now stands, developers who are tired of being second-class citizens are making that decision for them and leaving on their own.
This is a pity because the Mac App Store is a great way for customers to download and purchase software. No one benefits from this half-assed job.
Updated July 23rd, 2015: I think the thing that bothers me most about this situation is the inequality. Mac developers aren’t getting the same value from the App Store as their counterparts on iOS. We all pay Apple 30% of our earnings to reach our customers, we should all get the same functionality for that fee.
Dupe this Radar if you agree.