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  • Facebook for iPhone App Developer Quits, Blaming Apple

    Joe Hewitt, the programmer behind the most popular offering on the iTunes App Store, is moving back to being a web developer, and cites Apple's review process as the reason he wants to stop working on apps. Hewitt had tweeted that he is quitting development on the Facebook for iPhone app, and told TechCrunch that Apple's "gatekeeper" approach to the App Store was entirely responsible for his decision to quit.

    My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

    The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.
    Hewitt has been long an outspoken critic of App Store policies. In an August blog post titled “Innocent until proven guilty,” he had asserted that “the review process needs to be eliminated completely,” and that the review process was about "lawyers, not quality."
    Apple does not have the means to perform thorough quality assurance on any app. This is up to the developer. We have our own product managers and quality assurance testers, and we are liable to our users and the courts if we do anything evil or stupid. Apple may catch a few shallow bugs in the review process, but let's face it, the real things they are looking for are not bugs, but violations of the terms of service.
    Hewitt is well-known in the developer community for being on the team that created the Firefox browser and for his work on the Firebug development plugin. He remains at Facebook, but says he can't comment on his next project.

    While there has been much criticism of Apple's strict control of what apps can and cannot go on the App Store, it may be that this rebuke from such a prominent developer may spur action by Apple... or lead to the defection of more and more developers to other platforms.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Facebook for iPhone App Developer Quits, Blaming Apple started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 51 Comments
    1. Home Skillet's Avatar
      Home Skillet -
      Kinda funny that the new FB update just popped up in the app up-dates.
    1. bbillh77's Avatar
      bbillh77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post
      he seems like a bit of a cry baby imo.
      its apples app store, not his. he should take his app back home to play by himself if he does not like it.
      Apple is one the most succesful US companies around. there is a reason for that.
      Sounds likewe got us a spy dont talk bad about apple it might upset me all swinging on there ....
    1. dunlapface's Avatar
      dunlapface -
      This will definitely get apples attention, but will not ruin apple by any means.

      I think they may be the reason behind why Meebo has not released a promised app that we have all been waiting for since the 3.0 release.

      Also, even if he hands the project off to someone else it's not like his career is done. He will most definitely find something better to work on, and he has great skills that are desired by many platforms other than the apple app store. I think that he will end up going to the droid, and this will take a huge chunk of iPhone users away after they see what open development is capable of.

      It's amazing how many GREAT applications are out there just waiting to get approved by apple, and they will never see the light of day in the app store because of apples horrific "terms of use".

      I think that these developers have considered developing for cydia, but if you think about it, which apple cracking down so much on jailbreaking, how long will cydia be around for? I think that this is keeping great developers from coming to cydia in the first place, and we will end up seeing their fantastic work on the droid or some other platform.

      I think we are a long way from seeing Apple take the shackles off for developers, but I think this is a great start and I hope that other big developers leave because of this reason as well and we can see some progress.

      It's so funny to see all these people that love their Apple iPhone, but HATE Apple. It's such a great device with HUGE potential, but we are never going to see this because of Apple itself holding it's own device back.
    1. jOnGarrett's Avatar
      jOnGarrett -
      everything iDont.....well, you know the rest. lol.

      apple keeps this up and their days are numbered.
    1. khaoticsquirrel's Avatar
      khaoticsquirrel -
      Apple is all about innovation within their company, but when outside developers think of new innovations, they restrict them and tell them they can't do that. Apple is contradicting their own values and belief.
    1. ripped53's Avatar
      ripped53 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Home Skillet View Post
      Kinda funny that the new FB update just popped up in the app up-dates.
      My thoughts exactly....its been in the works for a while now all of a sudden it gets released...ha
    1. ronblade's Avatar
      ronblade -
      This is simply a ********. I did not understand why did the man had problem's with Apple's polices. Apple is completely right on their way.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Apple is completely right? Why should ghe waste his time trying to jump through hoops to get through Apple's approval?
      There are better things he can be spending hois time on and it is a sad loss for iPhone users.
      Apple can do what they like with their store but it doesn't mean developers have top develop for it.
      The apps are one of the things that make the iPhone great but if they continue to lose developers then another platform will accept them.
      It's Apple's choice but they shouldn't forget that users have choices too. At the moment they are still the best but for how long?
    1. bengo's Avatar
      bengo -
      I wish you could sync your FB contacts with the iPhone's. With Apple's approval process, that won't happen.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Way to push developers over to the other open source phones!
    1. godsrainbow1984's Avatar
      godsrainbow1984 -
      Quote Originally Posted by bengo View Post
      I wish you could sync your FB contacts with the iPhone's. With Apple's approval process, that won't happen.
      Fex does this somewhat