02-20-2013 10:26 PM - edited 02-20-2013 10:30 PM
Something in what BBSJdev says strikes a chord in me, and also ties back to some earlier comments about previous programs, and even just my thoughts on the name "Built For BlackBerry".
I'd propose actually keeping 10K tied to the B4B program, but adjusting that program so it's explicitly not any sort of "competition" (e.g. allowing in multiple apps of the same type even if they're somewhat similar, so long as they meet the quality requirements). Lower the bar to allow in more of these apps -- still not "fart" apps or sound-boards, but not splitting hairs on some of these legitimate but also admittedly simple apps.
Developers who manage to get the $1400+ sales figure still get into the program, as they expected, and are rewarded for their efforts, commitment to the platform, etc.(all under the original terms)
Then add a new program that's truly only the highest quality stuff, excluding all of our "simple" apps. This means probably at least half of what is already approved as BFB, at a guess, gets excluded, and certainly both of mine that were submitted for BFB. Include only the real creme-de-la-creme.
Call it "Best of BlackBerry" or something like that. Make it really count, so that rather than trying to meet checklists of service integration and other things, people can focus on making sure their app is sophisticated and rich, top-notch, unparalleled in the store, certain to make it high on the charts even *without* the additional marketing support of the program.
(Just wanted to clarify that I was typing this post as Alec typed his, and didn't see his until after I posted it. Nice to see some similar thoughts on the "simple" issue. Not sure I'd have said anything different even if I'd seen his first.)
02-20-2013 11:07 PM - edited 02-20-2013 11:10 PM
Thanks for the response, the problem for me is that I have done exactly that,I've spent months developing my application using the cascades framework ticked all the checkboxes and still failed to get approved.
The loss of potential revenue and potentially missing out on a dev alpha C because of the vagaries of this program are hard to sit with.
PS Currently I'm up at 4am in the UK trying to figure what a reviewer meant by add more features and whether anything I do will make a difference.
02-21-2013 01:32 AM
I suppose it would be a good idea to 'untie' BFBB from the $10k commitment. Honestly, the $10k commitment can basically govern itself. If an app sucks it will not make $1000+ on it's own. The BlackBerry userbase itself can function perfectly as 'judge' here so I'd just lower the bar for that program (still no fart apps though probably) and run with it.
For BFBB we need the terms and conditions to be much more clear and the team doing the reviews should do a much better job at communicating. They should properly explain why an app doesn't qualify and then explain whether it's possible to make it qualify or not. In case it's 'hopeless' the team can be clear about that. In case it's possible to make the app qualify by changing certain features or adding some then they should explain this to the developer so they can decide whether they feel it's worth putting in the effort to make those changes or not. Right now it's completely unclear whether it's worth trying again or not and what it would take to make a serious attempt at that.
I believe it's also impossible to have a rule to have only one (or very few) incarnations of the same app. If five developers create an insanely good Twitter client that has all the bells and whistles that make a great BB10 app then all five should get the certification. In my opinion anyway.
Furthermore, any app admitted sets a precedent for future, yet-to-be-built apps. Or should anyway. Right now there's a few fairly basic apps such as a tip calculator, a metronome and a dive planner, just to name some I remember seeing. This means that in order to be truly fair, any app of equal 'simplicity' should at least have a fair shot at getting BFBB certification OR they'd have to be stripped of this title (possibly with some kind of compensation for the developers of these apps).
Right now, the rules SEEM pretty clear to me. They do to many developers. Yet the 'interpretation of the law' is currently very different from the 'letter of the law'. This is one of the biggest problems right now. Either apply these rules as a simple checklist and allow everything that fits the bill or change them / add rules to raise the bar.
Anyway, just some suggestions here.
I'd LOVE for my apps to have a 'Built For BlackBerry' badge. Because that's what I built them for: for BlackBerry. Some exist on other platforms but the BlackBerry versions are by far the ones I put the most effort in to give them a true BlackBerry look and feel and experience. If they won't get it I'm perfectly fine respecting that decision as well. But as long as I can actually understand the decision and know what rule(s) I didn't satisfy with them. I'm sure this will be acceptable for most if not all developers. When the unsatisfied rules are known to us, we can decide whether it's worth trying to fix that situation or simply accept the rejection. No big deal at all.
Anyway, just some suggestions here. I'm looking forward to hear about the changes that will be made in the program.
02-21-2013 05:29 AM - edited 02-21-2013 05:31 AM
I guess I said the past 6 weeks already more than enought about my feelings regarding this program and the "developer satisfaction" we're hard to overlook. At least at the Qt (maemo / MeeGo / Symbian) World I'm originally migrated from are developers in the meantime perhaps a little bit too oversensitive because of the whole NOKIA debacle. I read already about some developers which discontinued their BB10 efforts completely, two of those are now members of the accepted open source team which are developing the 12 core Applications of canonical's Ubuntu for Mobile. Would have been great to keep those devs instead of pushing them to more interesting targets.
Thanks a lot for your posting Alec. It's high time, this is not the first conversation of this kind at this forum. You should try to stop this. Communication is the most important part and I'm curious to read soon what you and your team will get changed.
We need strict rules, this program will turn into a farce if every App which uses the Cascades Framework would got accepted, but the current execution just feels wrong.
A developer which was investigating countless hours in a project and gets rejected shouldn't shout out: "Really, THIS **bleep** got accepted? Why not mine?!", after checking the already accepted Apps. Thats just wrong and this atmosphere is dangerous.
I have no idea how to solve this without turning this program into a farce, alienate Devs of already accepted Apps or break rules and terms we had to agree to when we applied. Sadly there are a lot of emotions and to make it worse there is money involved.
I really hope you get it somehow solved.
02-21-2013 05:35 AM - edited 02-21-2013 05:59 AM
Thanks Alec for the reponse,
I agree 100% with peter9477 suggestions, so i don't need to repeat it. Some other thoughts from me can be found in this thread at the end.
One additional point: I read a lot in the forums at crackberry.com and others and something i read over and over again: The user really want to have apps - simple or large ones - with a BB10 UI, and not Android ported apps or platform independent apps.
And they want to have an easy mechanism to find them.
I am sure, they think, the BFBB section is made for them for this purpose.
But it isn't. Everything is still mixed up. Or in in other words, the BFBB section as it is lacks in "user benefits".
My last point:
In the worst case, the user sees a simple but beautyful Cascades app and exactly what he was looking for in the common section, and asks "Why is this not in the BFBB section? is there something wrong with it? Failed it because it consumes to much memory?"
In this case, not having the BFBB label can be a stigma.
@ helex: I agree with your remark about the emotions. I tried to get answers since more than a week in this forum and yesterday i was at the point to chuck the whole business. I had a horrible sleepness night. So Alecs post restored my hope at the very last moment.
02-21-2013 06:00 AM
If BFB should be a seal of "native BB10 App" as it seemed to us the moment it was announced, putting all BFB Apps in a seperate section won't work.
70000 Apps, if 10% are native we have 7000 Apps in a single long list. At least BFB shows currently up like this at my DevAlpha store. This can't work this way.
If it is executed like you and many others are suggesting there should be additional Tags to filter and search for at the App store: "Android", "normal", "BFB" - something like this.
They executed it currently like they wanted to make a showcase. And there is a BFB showcase button at the Store. And at the blog post about the Translator App we have the same statement. And this is still a good idea. Perhaps there should be just a second level to seperate those extra special Apps from BFB.
A "BlackBerry reference App seal" for those Apps which are made according the strict rules they are currently executing. And those are also in the 10k commitment and in the showcase. The rest gets a higher visiblity at the store and a Tag to be a native BB10 cascades App.
But I have doubts if its legal possible to make such big changes at this phase of the program. We are developers, not lawyers. Our suggestions are worth nothing if there are legal issues (10k commitment)
02-21-2013 06:10 AM
Ah, i see, thanks. I have currently no way to test the BFB section and i thought it is separated into the same categories like the common section. Without categories this can't work. I agree with you inclusive your other points.
02-21-2013 06:13 AM
You don't have to be a lawyer, just know where to get one.
I think you are right about the filters though any new app going in at the moment gets swamped and lost in amongst all the 5 question quiz apps (what a genius that guy was, not programming of course, but for extorting money out of BlackBerry for absolute tat - wow!) and the useless personal facebook/blog apps.
Meanwhile apps that have had many man months of work on them go unnoticed and undownloaded.
02-21-2013 06:35 AM - edited 02-21-2013 08:07 AM
Maybe a solution without much pain:
All current criteria in the checklist except the user-benefits criteria are objective and therefore more or less OK.
The "User benefits" - criteria is the problem.
They separate this criteria into two level. Level one ensures that its not a fart app with some easy objective criteria, and without the competition trap.
And level two ensures that this app "might" qualify for the premium(BFBB) section.
Apps which reach level one, but not level two get a label, a better initial position in BB World and the ability to get filtered. Apps which reach level two can qualify for the premium section.
This can be done without changing the current workflow. They only need to specify the criteria for the two levels and create a new label, for example "BB10 proofed". And some changes in the BB World app, of course.
02-21-2013 06:36 AM
My new favourite...
When this guy gets his Dev Alpha C I'm sure he will continue to write high quality, 'power user' apps of this quality!