Aug 26, 2010

Update on Briefs

It has been three months since I last threw myself upon the court of public opinion. I have waited three months for a resolution—any resolution—on the matter of Briefs' admission into the App store and have grown weary waiting for a response. Many have asked where things stand, so I decided to grab the megaphone once again.

Executive Order

Before showering the interested few with details, I’ll summarize where things stand as of today. First, the app is not available on the App store and I have no reason to believe it will be anytime soon. That is not, however, for lack of effort by a great many inside of Apple.

At WWDC I was connected with two developer evangelists and eventually the director of the App store to discuss Briefs’ prospects. All three were very encouraging and helpful. This was in addition to several Apple engineers detailing their use of Briefs for company efforts. I left the conference with hope that differences could be resolved and Briefs would be up for sale.

That was until a few weeks later, when I was told (by the director himself) that the review had reached the “executive level.” Considering he reports directly to an Executive Vice President within Apple, I have every reason to believe him. Unfortunately two and half months have transpired since reaching the executive review. (and what a two and a half months it has been for Apple executives!) I have not completely given up hope, but it is time to move on.

Moving On

Many have asked about development status, including a version for the iPad and a visual builder for .brieflist files. I’m a new indie of four months and trying to feed a family. I have already poured hundreds of hours preparing Briefs for a public release while simultaneously bootstrapping my consulting business with Jeff and Dave. With the status unknown and Apple openly opposing the strategy behind Briefs, it has become hard to stay motivated.

So instead of trucking along, and growing more resentful of the project, I’ve decided to take a break. And to cool the sting, I’m releasing the 1.0 code base to github today.

1.0 Source Available Today

The completely redesigned user interface. The underwear-laden app icon designed by IconFactory. The brief:// and briefcast:// url schemes. It’s all there, including a few bits of code I actually take pride in releasing to the public.

Go get it

Also, if you were having problems getting scrolling actors to work, all of the fixes are in the new code base. Everything should just work. As always, email me with any questions or problems you’re having.

The Road Ahead

I am not finished with Briefs and I would like to find a way to devote more time to it. I’m considering a lot of ideas—including a Kickstarter project to fund iPad development. I still have some good ideas for the platform and I hope to get back to them in good time. However, it’s time to focus on other work and projects that can get into the App store.

In the meantime, feel free to email me with questions, comments or even links like this. It never gets old hearing how others are using Briefs. It still amazes me that I’ll never know everyone who’s ever used it and doubtful that I can thank you all in person.

Thanks. If it wasn’t for folks like you, I would have given up long ago.

Rob Rhyne is a designer and developer. His company, MartianCraft, builds mobile software for hire. He's creator of Pris, a unique mobile camera and Briefs, a toolkit for creating live wireframes on iPhone OS devices. You can follow him on twitter here.