RSS Readers and App Store Requirements

Jesper, who you may remember from Waffle but is now writing at Take, has some thoughts on the bizarre new App Store requirements for default feeds in RSS readers that Brent Simmons is experiencing:

It would take an incredible balancing act to actually run an app store well. Apple has done the best job of it so far, but it’s still a tire fire that inhibits applications legitimate developers want to write. These events are not representative of every app review process ever, but they are representative of what happens when you have an app review process and you live in the real world. It doesn’t have to happen in most of the cases to be a disgrace and an impediment.

It has been said before but I will say it again: the biggest problem that the App Store faces is in the communication of shifting expectations. If, for whatever reason, Apple wants to interpret default feeds in a feed reader as a potential copyright issue, they ought to notify developers of the change and give them a chance to make adjustments.

Right now, developers do not find out about a change in App Store rules or the interpretation of existing rules until they submit an app for review. It’s a similar frustration that users face when launching an app only for it to demand an update: it’s a horrible experience to surprise users with a barrier between the action they took and the expected outcome. App updates should be silent, or offer an option to install when the app is next quit. Developers should be notified in advance of changes to the interpretation of rules in the App Store.

It is ludicrous that the App Store turns twelve years old in July and this fundamental problem remains unaddressed.