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Rooms irc app removed after 4 minutes in app store (roomsapp.mobi)
140 points by slater on July 30, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments

The whole story is very skimpy on details but it seems this guy is trying to pull off quite a bit of hacky and "clever" tricks (I'm gathering this from the posts about two previous rejections). Considering this, this doesn't seem to be as frivolous act of Apple as it is made to be.

On top of this, the complaint that Apple do not respond doesn't ring true with me. In my experience, at the very least in the past 6 months Apple have become very prompt in responding, especially to rejection issues, and have provided a contact phone number to further expedite the process.

To me this looks like some guy venting his frustration that Apple are calling his bluffs and is a good excuse for people to gratuitously bag on Apple.

The updates on a linked article[1] seem to point to his distribution credentials having expired.

1) http://www.roomsapp.mobi/blog/2010/07/roomspulled-from-store...

Your reading of that article isn't accurate. His distribution provisioning profile (basically his name, address, phone, etc) expired. All he had to do was go in and (for some unknown reason) just save his profile again to "renew" it. You'd think he'd get 5 emails that his profile was about to expire (why expire at all?).

God forbid clever hacks we may want to run on our own hardware.

Feel free to jailbreak your phone.

That or buy a different phone.

At this point, anyone who develops an iTunes app is bringing this on their own head. Apple's arbitrary stupidity is a known risk. If you don't want to get bit, then don't play with the pit bull.

It seems the developer just let his 1 year distribution certificate expire. This is really careless on his part and blame should not be automatically placed on Apple.

If you distribute a web app using SSL, and let your Verisign certificate expire, are you going to complain that Verisign is unfair because now your customers are getting security warnings/errors in their browsers?

The developer said "somehow my so called ‘Distribution Provisioning Profile’ has expired and seems to be the reason."

However, to me, it isn't clear that this was really the reason for his app being removed from sale.

My first two apps haven't been updated for a long time (the first was released in 2008 and the second in early 2009). The distribution provisioning profiles (and the certificates used for the profiles) expired a long time ago.

However, those two apps are still available for sale in the app-store (because my developer registration continues to be active)

It is unclear why the developer's app was removed from sale after being approved, but if the certificate/profile had been valid at approval time, that isn't the problem. If the profile had previously expired and the app had been approved in error, he should just try to resubmit it with a new provisioning profile.

False. He did not let his distribution certificate expire - his "distribution provisioning profile" expired.

Read this carefully: http://www.roomsapp.mobi/blog/2010/07/roomspulled-from-store...

Sounds like he set up a provisioning profile early on and hated the process so much he just kept using the same one for his final project.

SSL isn't a distribution channel. SSL is a authentication mechanism.

Why is this being downvoted?

I wonder if somebody could start an insurance product based on consolidating the risk among iPhone app developers for damages due to arbitrary App Store rejections/delays. It would cover stuff like this, "Acts of Jobs", etc.

That really sucks, but it is the risk you take when you allow someone else a say in the operation of your business. If you want to have a solid income stream you'd do well to stay miles away from walled gardens where some flunky behind a desk can destroy your business with a click of their mouse.

Indeed. Port it to Android and make a bunch of money there. Or in Nokia's OVI store.

Bad advice... The money on Android is terrible compared to iPhone. I know this from continuing experience.

Anyone doing mobile and wanting to bootstrap needs to do iPhone first.

I think that was his point. iPhone is where the money is (for the top X developers).

Heh. I really feel sorry for devs who submit to the Ovi store, it's like Nokia is going out of their way to prevent me from buying apps there.

Not to mention that it will actually work better on Android with the ability to run in the background...

I think GP was being facetious. There was a story recently about how hardly anybody makes any money off Android apps, and OVI hasn't even been part of the conversation as long as I've been following it.

He needs to indicate sarcasm explicitly. There are people on the internet so misinformed that nothing is too outrageous for them to believe.

I recently got an Android phone, ans was stumped to find that the Android Market did not support paid apps in Norway, where I live.

I'm speechless..

I think what you're trying to say is to diversify your income. 100% security is just an illusion.

Maybe its because I've contributed to Mobile Colloquy (Rooms' competition), but, I can't bring myself to be pissed off here. The guy actively ignored his app for periods at a time. That his certs expired at some point isn't surprising. And then he proceeds to abuse APIs in a way that Apple has specifically said not to do. And acts surprised at rejection?

You know what? We had the exact same issues when working on Mobile Colloquy. We managed to figure out a way to not get removed from the app store. And we're BSD! All he had to do was copy what we did (yet again; Rooms' core is based on Colloquy's Chat Core)!

Did anyone honestly believe that use of the VoIP in background API was going to be allowed for non-VoIP stuff, though?

Having said that, the rest of the story seems conflicting and with confusing back-and-forth.

The NPR application appears to be using it to stream audio which is not strictly VOIP.

There is a separate mode for background audio, pandora uses it

I thought this was playing audio not streaming it. A streaming app would need both background network access and the ability to play audio in the background. See the Background Audio section at http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/iPho.... It is not clear here that network access is permitted. Being vague in the permitted application functions for each mode makes it difficult to know what exactly os permitted.

It's completely clear that network access is permitted because Pandora uses it, which is the app everyone thinks of when they think background audio. It also works for Rdio and many other apps.

Audio streaming applications don't need the the voip setting. The somewhat tricky idea is that as long as a background-audio-marked application keeps playing audio its process won't get suspended and so it will be able to do whatever networking it needs.

I can't tell if the programmer was using the VoIP mechanisms to allow the app to run continuously in the background, though it does look that the programmer was attempting that. Apple isn't going to allow continuous background. If your application needs that, then that's likely best an Android application and not an iOS application.

And this comment: "It’s just not possible to tell them to hold the chatline, send a Push Message, and resend the text to the app when it comes online…"? That's arguably less of a limit, and more of a potential opportunity. Why not create the servers necessary to do that; to allow off-line IRC, and deliver via push? There are folks already using a similar scheme - bouncers - to do that with existing IRC clients and servers, after all. Package that and sell it, and (if your end-user agreements are clear about the potential for dual-use of the servers) package and sell the feed, too.

Why not create the servers necessary to do that; to allow off-line IRC, and deliver via push? There are folks already using a similar scheme - bouncers - to do that with existing IRC clients and servers, after all. Package that and sell it, and (if your end-user agreements are clear about the potential for dual-use of the servers) package and sell the feed, too.

We considered running a service like this for Mobile Colloquy. We ultimately decided that it wasn't worth doing. Too many different IRC networks out there, too much potential for abuse. This page is slightly out of date, but explains our reasoning for not running a bouncer service on our own: http://colloquy.mobi/push.html

Instead, we host a push server and let people use a bouncer that they host on their own for push. There's support for ZNC, Colloquy and irssi. Plus an SDK-type thing, so any other bouncer with a plugin system can, in theory, work.

Yep, it's an opportunity, and there's already a certain someone on HN who would already have all the agreements with IRC networks in place too (they usually don't allow multiple connects from one IP address).

He really needs to calm down. The tone of his blog posts on this, while understandable, is not conducive to a good business relationship.

As much as this all sucks, it just seems like a reviewer clicked the wrong button. "Whoops, undo".

I'm finding it really hard to be sympathetic after hearing so many of these kind of stories.

There's no way in hell I'd develop anything for iOS while the only way to distribute is via the app store.

I have some serious cognitive dissonance going on though; I have an iPad, and it's great. I'm glad people do run the app store gauntlet so I have nice apps to play with.

The first iPhone app I submitted got rejected for having "minimum user functionality". I resubmitted it, and it got approved. I'm not saying that this will necessarily work in your case, but it might be worth a try. Sometimes approval/rejection is simply a matter of which person is looking at the app.

How could he not know that this is what is going to happen when you develop for the Apple store? I mean the first few times, one could understand it - we assume others are reasonable - but this is story number, what 30?

If this is story 30, and there are 225k apps in the App Store (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_Store), then you have a 0.01% chance of this happening. So it's understandable that the author didn't know that this is what was going to happen.

Huge market, single point of distribution with known history of 'complicated' app validation. I feel bad for the developers in the same way I feel bad for people that lose in the final stages of a poker tournament. Its not always the quality of your app or idea, but sometimes its just luck.

With the recent ruling reinforcing the legal standing of jail-breaking a device to load applications, does that mean that third party application market places are also legal? I know there has been some debate about that, would be an interesting spot for someone to consolidate a multi platform app store.

removed from sale, sometimes happens when you change the app languages or app world store availability. check to go to app country availability and select all countries

As the creator of typefrag pointed out... once you rely on a platform as part of your business model, you take that platform ugliness and all with you. Don't like it? Don't develop for the app store. There is no better way to protest than to not support them. But we all know the allure is all too much for developers and they will eat apple's cake at any price.

Absolutely disgraceful treatment of a very reasonable person.

Man, this is depressing. As are Apple's terms for the iPhone/iPad store. I'd advise anyone who wants to develop for the iPhone/iPad to stop dealing with iTunes, distribute their work themselves (free and open source) and invite people to jailbreak their products in order to install it.

And lose out on whatever chance they had of making a decent profit? I doubt that this jailbreak ruling is going to result in a spate of common-joe iPhone hacking.

I agree it's not ideal profit-wise, and neither do I expect every iPhone user to be interested, let alone technically savvy, enough to jailbreak their iPhone. But I find the fact that the executable won't be free even if my source code is (and I don't mean free as in "free of charge" - people deserve to get paid for their work and then some) a farce, at best.

How is that a farce? The distribution model of the App store has been clear from the start... It's take it or leave it - but depending on jailbreaking for a mass market app is clearly not going to work.

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