inessential by Brent Simmons

NetNewsWire on Mac App Store or not?

I’m not ready to upload NetNewsWire to the Mac App Store — months away, probably — but it’s worth thinking about now.

I’m on the razor’s edge with this one. Here’s my thinking:

Reasons not to appear on the Mac App Store

I have nights and weekends to work on the app, and doing a sandboxed version and fulfilling all the metadata requirements is quite a bit of work. It’s probably at least a week, possibly two. (Again, because I don’t have all day every day to work on it.)

I’d rather spend that time working on the next version (and on my other app ideas). I have a lot to do!

And then there’s the issue of reviews — which for free apps (which this would be) are notoriously severe.

I can already picture them: “The developer ruined the one great thing about the app when he removed the in-app browser,” “This is a con game because it says syncing is a feature and it’s free but you still have to pay some other service for syncing, and I bet he gets a kick-back,” and “This app isn’t very Mac-like, plus [other app] is prettier.”

Do I need to read this kind of thing for an app I do for fun and give away (even the source code)?

And — last thing — the last time I uploaded NetNewsWire to the Mac App Store was NetNewsWire Lite 4.0 (in 2011, I think), and it was delayed several weeks due to an Apple issue (regarding WebKit and favicons). Do I want to deal with possible frustrations like that? Maybe that’s hardly a thing these days?

Reasons to appear on the Mac App Store

My political goal is to promote the open web — the web of indie publications and blogs, the web outside the silos. And that means getting as many people as possible using it.

Being on the Mac App Store will increase that number. It furthers my goal.

Which do I choose?

This is such a difficult case because I have no real idea how many more users the app would get by being on the app store.

And I don’t really know how much time it will take to do the extra work, and I don’t know that the reviews would be as bad as they often are for free apps.

Is the gain — the increase in users — worth it? Maybe?