New App Testing: There’s Gotta Be a Beta Way…

So just how hard is it to beta-test new iPhone applications?

Craig Hockenberry (the author of Twitterrific) has written about several bug/crash reports coming in from users.  Craig’s facing several problems: although the iPhone dumps a crash report into iTunes, it’s not in a format that developers can easily parse.  Secondly, there’s no easy way to monitor the operating environment of an iPhone, to see if other apps are conflicting with yours.  But the biggest problem of all rests right on Apple’s doorstep:

"The big problem here is that the only way to install software on an
iPhone or iPod touch is with the App Store. There are also no
provisions for beta testing. Without the ability to sign code, there is
no way for a user to get code onto a device: most users fall into this

The only way to ‘test’ a fix is to release the changes to tens of
thousands of users. It’s the developer equivalent of playing Russian

(Note: there may be workarounds to some or all of these problems,
but with the NDA in place, it’s difficult for developers to share their
experiences and solutions.)"

Apple appears to be unable to keep up with the flood of incoming apps for consideration.  But help may be on the way, with the current Ad Hoc program for directly distributing your own app.  The only drawback is, you can only register a maximum of 100 iPhones for your distribution network.

Makes this old IBM-PC guy yearn for the days when "software installation" consisted of the command "COPY A:*.*"…

[Via The Washington Post/TechCrunch]

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