Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Proper Care and Feeding of ISVs

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Alright, so this post has nothing to do with UI Design, but it has everything to do with Experience (yeah, with a capital ‘E’). That is, it has everything to do with the Developer Experience. You see, developers create software. With tasty, lickable UIs. Or with scary, hairy UIs. Either way, they’re the people who make the software that I lambaste for being ugly and unusable, which pays for my beer and my apartment.

Rosyna from Unsanity, a Mac ISV, has a long impassioned post about the relative quality of the developer experience working on Apple or Microsoft platforms:

There are some areas where Apple absolutely excels like their public mailing lists. And some where Apple could take some cues from Microsoft, such as bug reporting and hardware support.

I’ve seen this from both sides, but with interesting differences. I’m one of the faceless names on the Microsoft Connect website (although I’m surprised so few results appear for my name, as I probably go through a few dozen or more of these bugs a week). I’m also a part-time Mac shareware developer who had to go buy a copy of Tiger at the local Apple Store last year, after I had started receiving complaints from customers about broken features in my software.

I think Microsoft does a lot of great things for its ISV community, and I’ve been very excited to see the increasing levels of public-facing activities and transparency over the past three years that I’ve been at Microsoft. I wish Apple did more of this, but I understand how the cultural differences between us contribute to this.