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:
- Real Work.
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.