Testing Times

Posted by Stuart Wheelwright on April 21, 2023 · 3 mins read

Pre-Release Nerves

Every release follows a similar curve.

Release Curve

We begin with the excitement of designing new features — where a world of possibility awaits. This part is fun because it’s the start of something new. I am momentarily free from the constraints of the design decisions I’m about to make.

Next, is the implementation phase. I enjoy this part too, watching the vision take shape.

But then we pay for the fun with the next two phases: drudgery and anxiety.

The drudgery arrives in the form of regression testing, bug fixing, updating help documentation, and all the prep for the App Store: provisioning profiles, updating screenshots, release notes.

And anxiety because, once the release has passed the App Store review process, it is released into the wild, where anything can happen.

  • Will the new features be welcomed by users, or have I missed the point?
  • Will people use the features as I anticipate?
  • Will it fail to work completely?

I had one particularly painful experience on an early release where the app wouldn’t open at all on a particular iOS version. Nothing but a black screen. I only found out when the one-star reviews started flooding in. That was pretty stressful.

This week I have been in the “drudgery” phase. But I’m now entering the anxious optimistic phase because, today, I uploaded version 3.3 of Shopping UK app to the App Store for review.

I’m nervous about this release because it is a biggie.

This release will introduce fast and reliable list sharing, and it is by far the most complex update I’ve made to this app. The list sharing mechanism has been completely re-implemented using CloudKit and this will become the standard way lists are shared from now. The old way of doing things will remain but it will eventually be retired.

Despite my best efforts at testing, there’s a lot that can go wrong and that makes me nervous.

On top of this, I need to release v3.3 before I publish my eight-part series of articles on using CloudKit. And the first part is scheduled for publication on the 1st of May. The articles refer to the list sharing mechanism in v3.3, so I’d look a bit silly if it hadn’t been released yet. The App Store review process takes a day or two, and I’d like to use phased release to test the water, so things could be tight.

To escape the drudgery earlier today, I produced a short video to showcase the new sharing features coming in v3.3. Please let me know what you think. (criticism welcome!)

(Day 17 of 87)

If you get a chance, please try Shopping UK and let me know what you think at @wheelies