The best way to find nasty, blocking bugs is to “eat your own dogfood.” i.e. use the software you’re developing as you develop it. I do this with iRooster: I wake up every day to it… or not, as this morning proved. I thought I had worked out the last of the particularly nasty bugs in the repeating alarm code in iRooster, but it turns out that I was sorely mistaken.

Neither of the repeating alarms I have set (one at 7:45 and one for 8:15 on MTWTF) went off this morning much to my eternal chagrin. I wasn’t late for anything, fortunately, but this required me to spend a good hour this evening debugging a seriously annoying problem that had stemmed from a dumb oversight on my part.

The good news is is that repeating alarms should work like a charm now.

The just-plain-news is that I probably will not open a Beta test for iRooster 1.2 until next week sometime. I need a little more time to add one or two UI niceties that people have been asking for forever. I don’t want to make the Beta particularly long, and I’d like to avoid a second Beta release if at all possible.

So, here’s our timeline:

Now –> Next Wed or Thurs (?): post Beta 1 online and send mail to registered users with download link –> Sept 8 - 15: Release iRooster 1.2.

Like I said, I expect the Beta to be pretty short. I want a few dozen users to hammer on it, make sure there’s nothing wrong with the new functionality I added, and make sure people don’t really hate some of the changes I’m making (always a good idea).

I received some great feedback from a person who downloaded iRooster the other day. She had heard about the app through a link on Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo and decided to give it a whirl. Apparently, she’s already paid for iCal Calling iTunes and Alarm Clock SE. iRooster had some niceties she appreciated, but there were a few major deficiencies that truly bothered her.

I address feature requests and bug reports as quickly as I can, but this can often be not-quick-enough. Whenever one of my users runs into a blocking bug I am very quick to release a patch for their problem. Unfortunately, one of the downsides to writing shareware in my spare time while spending 60 feverish hours a week trying to ship the best damned developer tools on the planet is that something always has to give.

My priorities are split several ways:

  • Jamie.
  • Real Work.
  • Friends.
  • iRooster.
  • Sleep.

Typically, Real Work, Jamie, and Friends top out the list. It’s an unfortunate reality at times. This is why it can take me so long to release large new features; the quick updates I bang out usually take no more than 3-4 hours tops. iRooster 1.2 has probably been an investment of 30-40 hours total now. When I only have 3-4 hours a week to work on my app, it can take a good long while to make significant progress on it.

Oh well. I hope this clarifies some of the large time gaps in between releases. I think it’s time that the last priority on my list is bumped up to being a pri 1; I’m off to sleep.