Friday, June 19, 2020

New Apple Developer Forum

Apple (also: MacRumors):

The Apple Developer Forums have been completely redesigned, so they’re more engaging to use, automatically surface the most relevant content, offer simpler navigation, and make it easier to categorize and search for content. Connect with fellow developers and Apple engineers as you give and receive help on a wide variety of development topics, from implementing new technologies to established best practices.

I don’t understand why this forum exists. Every incarnation has been slow and far less pleasant and useful than Stack Overflow, both because the site doesn’t work very well and because most questions remain unresolved. This new version is even less information dense than before and drops support for e-mail and RSS.

Why fragment the community instead of embracing Stack Overflow like other companies have? Why not license Stack Exchange or Discourse or some other top-quality engine—or even use a mailing list?

People expect that the value add for Apple’s forum is that it will be the place where these conversions happen (it wasn’t, and this won’t change that) or that they’ll get official answers from Apple engineers (that hasn’t been the case, either, except for a very few saints who sometimes post).

Craig Hockenberry:

Was there ever any doubt that Apple would screw up links to referenced material in a forum redesign?

One of the reasons that developers prefer Stack Overflow is because permalinks never change and can be used in comments.

BJ Homer:

If you’re wondering how to browse the new Apple Developer Forums without just having to search random keywords, here’s the full list of tags, which serve as the organizational structure of the forums[…]

I wish that were linked from the home page.

See also: Meet the new Apple Developer forums.


Update (2020-07-27): Riley Testut:

of course Apple’s developer forums don’t allow you to post URLs, because why would they

Update (2020-08-19): Ryan Ashcraft:

It feels like it was designed by someone who didn’t understand the customer.

First off, there’s no personalization. The top posts/tags/users on the home page are completely useless to me. They don’t even stay fresh! This post has been at the top of the page since launch.

Basic forum features that help keep engagement high are completely absent. For example, there’s no ability to follow posts or receive notifications when your posts get replied to.


The search function drops parens, even if placed inside quotes.

Jim Truher:

I found it most frustrating that the datestamps on google results ended up resetting to June 20th, 2020. Made it impossible to tell what posts/questions were new, and which ones were years old.

Becky Hansmeyer:

I don’t understand how they shipped it this way, especially since it’s a completely solved problem (hello, Stack Overflow!).

Brian Webster:

I’ve lost track at how many attempts Apple has made at developer forums by this point. 3? 4? They rewrite the thing from scratch, it’s terrible, they don’t do anything to improve it, then repeat the same damn thing 3 years later.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Nothing can replace the old mailing lists. They were super useful.

Apple still has a developer forum?

Oh for the days of

If anything, it's good at concealing information.

John Daniel

Peak Apple Developer circa 2020!

The "new" forum has all the same problems as the old one. It doesn't address a single one of the many problems that make it unusable.

Given how well the Swift forum has worked out I'm amazed they didn't go with Discourse. But I guess they're not interested in actually having a useful forum.

At least the documentation updates this year fared somewhat better than the forum updates.

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