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Suck It Up And Ship

October 19th, 2010

When I introduced the rich HTML editor in MarsEdit 3, I knew there would be some issues. WYSIWYG editing is freaking hard. I don’t pretend to have started out an expert, nor have I become one. I’m getting there, though!

I decided to release MarsEdit 3.0 when I did because of what I refer to lovingly as my “suck it up and ship” mantra. I tell other people all the time that you can’t hoard your work. Sure, putting off the ship date indefinitely will allow you to avoid the embarrassing critiques, the discovery by the public that you are in fact imperfect. But you know what? They never get to try out your app, either.

The customer-developer feedback loop is exceedingly important when it comes to prioritizing bug fixes. The months you spend “perfecting” your stuff will undoubtedly focus on parts of the app that your users don’t even, as it turns out, give a damn about. Get your 1.0 (or 2.0, or 3.1.2) to users as quickly and responsibly as possible, and evaluate the results.

On that note, MarsEdit 3.1.2 is available today, fixing an issue in the rich text editor that, suffice to say, is far more than a “minor glitch.” In a nutshell: if you did a “search and replace” where the replacement text included the search text, the app went into an infinite replacement loop, hung, and required a force-quit.

That is so not Red Sweater. Yuck! I discovered this thanks to my new (as of 3.0) crash reporter that, while providing precious few details about the reason for the force-quits, eventually included key feedback from a user who offered the hints as to what was happening.

I hope this release cuts down dramatically on the number of mysterious, context-free crash reports. There are some other goodies, too:

MarsEdit 3.1.2

  • Fixes for issues with Find/Replace in the rich editor
    • Fix a potential hang when doing replace all
    • Fix “Use Selection for Find” menu item
    • Fix behavior of “Replace All” when limiting to selected text
  • Fix a bug that prevented “None” from sticking as preview filter choice
  • Fix a bug that caused wrong alt text to be generated for some uploads
  • Prevent ugly clipping of font descenders e.g. on lower case “g” in Media Manager

Here’s to the next imperfect release!

10 Responses to “Suck It Up And Ship”

  1. Seth Says:

    I would much rather have a developer constantly iterating on a good product, making it great, than be waiting an interminable length of time for perfection. Which, as we all know, is never really perfect anyway. Keep up the good work.

  2. John Wilker Says:

    I’ve always seen this type of thing as a form of brain crack. it’s a Ze Frank thing, but yeah why ship when you can polish and spruce up, and have the best product ever, that no one is using because you can’t click the upload button.

    http://www.ourstartupstory.com/fighting-brain-crack/

    When i wrote code full time I hated the teams that hated to ship for fear of a bug.

  3. Michael McWatters Says:

    Permanent beta, baby. Put out the best you can that won’t terrorize your customers, then work (rapidly) to fix the flaws you discover after release. No one expects perfection, but people expect quick resolution when issues do arise.

  4. David Sinclair Says:

    Yes, I’ve suffered from that disease. For example, I’ve been working on my website & server monitoring tool, Dejal Simon, since May (albeit with some client work mixed in). In fact, it grew from version 2.6 to 3.0, since I did so much in it.

    I’ve resolved to ship smaller, more frequent updates in the future. I totally agree that that is much better both for the customer and developer.

  5. Mike Stewart Says:

    I’ve been a test manager for a number of years. Trying to release my own stuff has been…conflicting. What I found through the beta and release of TaskSurfer was that the critiques aren’t nearly as devastating as one might imagine. The vast majority of folks have been really nice even when they report nasty, functionality-breaking bugs.

    So release already, users won’t bite. :-)

  6. Ferdinand Says:

    I agree with your philosophy. I’d rather have an imperfect product that gets regular updates than a “perfect” product that the developer neglects for longer periods of time. Keep up the good development. BTW, are there any plans for an iOS version of MarsEdit?

  7. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Ferdinand: I do plan to release an iOS version of MarsEdit at some point. There are some complications though, for example it is impossible/very-hard to get a rich text editing solution for HTML on the iPad or iPhone. I’m not sure yet whether to just ship an HTML-only version first, or what.

  8. John Wilker Says:

    I always wondered as far as rich text on the iDevices if it would be worthwhile to so HTML, but allow for inserting of the tags. ie I want bold and hit the B it inserts the I type what I want, then hit B again and it closes the tag. Ditto for other formatting. Certainly some work remembering what tags are open etc.

    For images and URLs could just pop up a type of wizard asking for URL, etc

    Has been a random thought of mine off and on since like you say it’s hard to do and all current blogging tools on iOS are Craptastic.

  9. Sanjay Says:

    This is timely and very helpful. It’s just the kick in the pants that I need. Thanks!

  10. bndctc Says:

    I’m still waiting for an iOS (or even Android) version of MarsEdit, even after a year. The desktop version of it is great and I’d love to continue the experience on my iOS device.

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