Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I Hate Ad Hoc Distribution on the iPhone

Seriously. Ad Hoc Distribution? I hate it. I've wasted so much time with it. Apple has such tight control over distribution to iPhones and iPod Touches that you can't just download and install an application on your device. More importantly my testers can't install my game without having things just so. There are all these hoops to jump through to set up provisioning files etc. It's not super difficult, but there are lots of places to go wrong because there are so many steps. Half of my testers have run into problems because of iTunes, some mistake I made, or who knows why. I have too. From my end sometimes the solution is to ignore the errors that Xcode is reporting and just restart my iPhone. For users we've done a lot of trial and error. I'm sure there are some testers who just punted and gave up.

My artist, Andy, wasn't able to run Solitaire for a month and a half. Really. I made new builds. It worked for other people. It worked for new testers. No prob. I started just making screen capture movies for him so he could see what the game looks like. We were joking about how he should sell his iPhone on eBay. He could market it to people who need a phone but hate solitaire.

The reason I'm writing this post is that once again Google has saved the day. I found the iPhone Configuration Utility (wtf? I never heard of this thing before) and with it Andy was able to clean out the old version(s?) of Solitaire and install the new one. I don't know what iTunes is doing, but it's clearly f'd up. I hate iTunes. The interface is so bad. And it's non-standard in these horrible ways. Like you click the zoom button and expect the window will ZOOM. But instead the window changes into a tiny weird control panel. Also. the UI button to close, zoom and minimize all move. Beautifully, the buttons only differ in color. That's fantastic UI design for all of us who are red/green color-blind. The buttons have moved and the whole window looks different instead of zooming like 99.9% of all other apps would have done. WTF! Maybe I'll write about the horrible ways iTunes handles focus on lists. I swear to you it never does what I expect when I use the arrow keys to try to do something.

Okay. So iTunes, right? Once it has a problem installing an ad hoc app it just loses its mind. It's just crazy. It's like "Hey, how ya doin'? I'm iTunes. What? Yeah. I installed that app. Seriously. Super Serious. No probs. What? It crashes? No it doesn't. Don't lie. I'm iTunes. What? Yeah, I'll install that app. Okay. Done. No. Serious. Cereal. Super Cereal. Done. It's in there. Ha, no just kidding. I installed that old one again. Here. Try again. I swear I'll install it. jk."

Anyway, you struggling iPhone developers who've found my boring blog with Google... I wish good luck to all of you. If your users haven't given up yet have 'em download the iPhone Configuration Utility from Apple. Or I hear it's nice developing for Android.


Drew Olbrich said...

I read this.

Drew Olbrich said...

I read this again.