Software developers have a love-hate relationship with Apple’s App Store. Getting into Apple’s store is both personally and financially rewarding. But the company is coy about its approval process. Apps are sometimes rejected for unclear reasons.
More important, the amount of time an app developer has to wait for a yea or nay from inside Apple is way too long. It can take weeks or months to be approved or rejected. In the fast-moving app world, who has time for that?
Mobile app analytics firm Motally has solved at least part of the problem. The company will announce today that it has enabled what it calls 2-Way Communication in its analytics tools. What that means is, app developers will be able to change Motally-specific settings in iPhone apps without needing to re-submit the apps to Apple for approval.
2-Way Communication works for Android and BlackBerry apps, too. Here’s how it works: Previously, if an app built with Motally’s software toolkit transmitted data to its maker from an iPhone, Motally’s API would respond with a simple message saying, “OK, got it.” With 2-Way Communication — can we just call it 2WC? — the app’s maker can send marching orders back to the app that tell it to change Motally-specific settings for tracking and debugging the app.
Motally founder and president Arte Merritt patiently explained the inner workings of 2WC in a long phone interview today. In short: Merritt didn’t specifically talk to someone at Apple about this new feature. But he’s pretty sure that thanks to Apple’s review process, the system Motally had already built into its analytics tools doesn’t reach far enough into the app’s bowels to cause security or privacy problems. 2-Way Communication, he said, is limited to telling the app to change the values of certain settings used by Motally to collect stats from real-word app users.
“We’re not doing this so developers can change gameplay,” he said. “It’s so they can turn on different tracking options” within the Motally system, and “so an engineer can debug a customer’s problem without needing to re-submit to Apple.”