Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Ask Apple

Apple (Hacker News):

Apple today introduced Ask Apple, a new series of interactive Q&As and one-on-one consultations that will provide developers with even more opportunities to connect directly with Apple experts for insight, support, and feedback.


This series will enable developers to ask questions to various Apple team members through Q&As on Slack or in one-on-one office hours. Q&As allow developers to connect with Apple evangelists, engineers, and designers to get their questions answered, share their learnings, and engage with other developers around the world. Office hours are focused on creating and distributing compelling apps that take advantage of the latest in technology and design. Developers can ask for code-level assistance, design guidance, input on implementing technologies and frameworks, advice on resolving issues, or help with App Review Guidelines and distribution tools.


“We’ve been listening to feedback from developers around the world about what will be most helpful to them as they build innovative apps, and we’ve seen an increased appetite for one-on-one support and conversation with Apple experts,” said Susan Prescott[…]

John Gruber:

Anything that puts third-party developers in touch with real engineers inside Apple is good for everyone.

Office hours use Webex and so may be better for certain types of questions than the asynchronous, e-mail based DTS. Often, though, DTS has to confer with a specific engineering team, and I don’t see how that would work on a synchronous call. Is it worth scheduling a session to go through a list of open Radars?

I’m not a big fan of Slack in general, and I don’t think it’s very good as a searchable archive. I wish we could just have mailing lists (like in the old days) or a Discourse forum—with official participation from Apple engineers. That was sort of the promise of the new developer forum, but it still doesn’t work very well, seemingly only a few Apple engineers participate, and most questions remain unanswered.

Or, you know, I don’t want to criticize a new program that will surely help some developers, but the elephant in the room is that Feedback/Radar needs to be fixed. I wish Prescott would focus on that. And documentation.


Update (2022-11-01): Saagar Jha:

Unsolicited feedback but for the amount of effort that seems to be going into the “Ask Apple Q&A” series I feel like getting two dozen answers to people’s specific questions, most of which are “we can’t talk about future plans” or “please send me a FB#”, are not very useful

I think I would prefer a week where the engineers were asked to go through the forum topic they’re responsible for and actually try to answer reasonable questions, like they do at WWDC.

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