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Mobile Apps Status

Posted by Lindy , 23 October 2012 · 8,339 views

At IPS, we pride ourselves on providing industry leading products and services, unsurpassed in quality, features and support. 
 
Much like any other company, we indeed have our strengths and weaknesses. One admitted weakness is clearly developing an independent mobile app platform that can meet your and our expectations. We have struggled over the past several years in securing a proficient mobile app development team and ultimately, the platform has not met our expectations. Our mantra has become: if we can't do it right, we simply will not do it. That is where we are at with the mobile app platform.
 
Unfortunately, this means the Android app will not make its debut as we originally hoped. We do not wish to release something that we cannot provide proper support for. Instead, we would recommend Android users with an immediate need for a mobile app, visit a third party such as Tapatalk.com Please trust that we are just as disappointed as you in our failure to deliver this particular product as promised and I offer my sincerest apologies. 
 
With that, we will do our best to continue polishing the iOS mobile app (which will now be made available for free in the app store) in the short term. For the long-term, we will be incorporating a new mobile integration directly into the product beginning with 4.0. 
 
An integrated web app uses the latest standard web technologies such as CSS, Javascript and HTML combined with mobile extensions which will make the site render and feel like a native mobile application. This will allow far more flexibility and tighter integration across the IPS Community Suite (imagine approving orders, responding to support requests or publishing an article with IP.Content from the comfort of your mobile device) than an independent mobile app while being cross-platform compatible with all mobile operating systems.  This is also something we have the existing internal expertise to carry out to our standards, alleviating the need to rely on third parties. 
 
As always, we welcome any constructive feedback and appreciate your continued business and support. Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience and rest assured - we will continue to do what we do best. Posted Image

  • Ryan11433, The Old Man, Donkerrood and 17 others like this



I do understand this decision to put resources to where it's best suited.

 

I did hope that an affordable white label app would have been provided by now so that we could earn some money from our own sites.

 

Tapatalk offers this but at $799 it would take a long time to break even. 

 

If it is your suggestion that users use third party apps in lieu of the current ios App

can/will IPS be officially installing Tapatalk support to the official forums here so that we have a unified experience?

The current iOS app will remain available and of course, the mobile skin is suitable for most needs. For those who wish to have an Android specific app, you might wish to try a provider such as Tapatalk. 

 

To maintain the highest level of security and protection of customer data, we do not install any third party code to this community, I'm afraid. 

 

I hope that clears up any confusion and again, you may continue to use the iOS app, we simply will not be adding any additional features to it and will instead focus our attention on an integrated web app as mentioned above. Thank you.

To maintain the highest level of security and protection of customer data, we do not install any third party code to this community, I'm afraid. 

 

It seems odd to suggest a third party alternative and at the same time suggest that using it would potentially breach security? just playing devils advocate here - just sayin  ;)

 

-

 

do you know if it will be possible for a web app version of this to be able to be wrapped in PhoneGap or some alternative so as to get into the AppStore?

I assume that this means the current iOS app will not work with 4.0 and above, is that correct?

I can see the reason behind this decision however offering third party service has major downsides. Third party services only cover Forum while we own other IP applications and none of those applications are covered by Tapatalk or Forum runner.

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Marcher Technologies
Oct 23 2012 04:53 AM

I can see the reason behind this decision however offering third party service has major downsides. Third party services only cover Forum while we own other IP applications and none of those applications are covered by Tapatalk or Forum runner.

This is exactly why the approach is turning towards an integrated web app. This has been the exact downfall of attempting to provide a native app.

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markopolo2002
Oct 23 2012 06:17 AM

Lindy, unfortunately the mobile skin is not suitable for most needs at all, this was raised and discussed by me and others over a year ago, and even before then, AND it has been raised since and is still a topic of contention on the forums and concerns the mobile skin and associated IPB apps such as IPContent/IPDownloads/etc.

 

These apps have ZERO functionality in the mobile skin, and I (and many others) use IPContent for my front page and use IPDownloads for the vast majority of my sites activities and as far as I'm aware there has been ZERO progress with the mobile skin for these apps, but a year or so wasted trying to monetize a mobile app.   Hate to sound so negative and pessimistic, but you can't really expect a hero's welcome when the development team have wasted all this time when they could have been developing and contributing to the built-in mobile skin like what was suggested all that time ago - the mobile skin has been grossly neglected in favour of trying to monetize ... now that has failed, is the mobile skin going to be on the "todo" list again?.

How long will the existing iOS app be supported for?

 

What about customers who purchased this app? (expecting ensuring support from IPS) - some sites may have promoted this to members, at a cost to their members.

 

Can you please detail the objectives of the integrated web app? You must have some high level objectives already.

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Luis Manson
Oct 23 2012 07:25 AM

its really disappointing to see a working iOS app and after a long wait on an android app just post this, its a waiste of time for us and you as a company too, i feel very diappointed with this decision and the time it took you to say something other than "its coming"

If current app will be offer as a branded version that cover all IP applications , that can generate more then enough income to support new devs that will work on Mobile Development only.

    • CCJD likes this
I have excitedly awaiting the android app for a very long time and always had high expectations of it. I think everyone here knows by now that I am a heavy mobile user. Am I disappointed? Yes, but so are you and in the end I appreciate that you were honest with your customers and with yourselves. In fact you guys are probably more disappointed than anyone because I know how much you care about your product and your company. So, yeah. This sucks, but s a company you've made the right move here and if anything thus improves what I think of IPS. They acknowledge when they can't do something and admit it. I like that and prefer it over false hope and unkept promises.
    • bfarber, Alan, IH_Jimbo and 7 others like this

Sometimes putting your hands up and admitting that you can't do something is the way forward, but if that something happens to be the major growth area on the internet and probably the way the majority of people will spend their time online in the years to come I'm not so sure.

Our mantra has become: if we can't do it right, we simply will not do it.

Soooo about that documentation... :P
    • IH_Jimbo and adonismale like this

I can see it is way more efficient to focus on one webapp rather than device related apps. So I am excited about the announcement and look forward to IPS extending the potential of the mobile website!

    • avro likes this

Thank you very much ;) 

I'm a little bit disappointed actually, although I can understand. A lot of my websites use IP.Board and when I am away from my desk I use my Android smartphone to check up on them, I was looking forward to a Android App from IPS since it is the only place I would have it from to keep things tidy without the need for a third party app to give that support.

 

Good luck though, I hope that one day you can find a team that can develop a Android App for IP.Board.

We have considered other resources and alternatives to develop actual mobile apps, but ultimately, an integrated web app and enhanced mobile skin can accomplish the vast majority of what independent apps can and without compatibility issues across platforms, without waiting weeks for Apple to approve a simple bug fix release, etc. 

 

We certainly recognize that the future is in mobile technology. I travel often and would love the ability to fix a simple billing issue or address a critical request with ease, from my mobile device. That's really the objective here: Create a feature-rich, unified mobile experience. Ultimately, independent apps while seemingly the latest trend, are really not necessary for that. :)

    • Donkerrood, Ryan H., IH_Jimbo and 5 others like this

To reiterate what others have said, I am disappointed as I have been looking forward to this app for a long time, however, the new direction is good news.

 

I am a little frustrated I will have to wait for IP4 to come along before seeing a complete (hopefully, & not a basic release with other apps "to follow", such as the ios app.) mobile skin with proper functionality. Just how long are we talking here?

 

I am currently in the process of making my custom third party app work with the mobile skin (the app is the core of my site) so now I feel this development could be wasted as the new mobile skin is likely going to be entirely different to the current one.

 

Mobile is huge these days, I know people who never even use their laptops/Pcs any more. I would like to see a large focus on mobile use in the next releases.

 

Paul.

Much like any other company, we indeed have our strengths and weaknesses.

Weakness - not a big company like Microsoft, so can't afford the necessary resources for getting all desired goals accomplished.
Strength - not a big company like Microsoft, so we get personalized attention from the staff, which in turn more than makes up for any goals not met.

I'm sure some will disagree with me on this, but I believe customized mobility isn't the highest of priorities, since there are compatible alternatives available. Not saying it's not important, just that it looks like IPS came upon an obstacle that it has to pass on for the time being. I'm sure most (if not all) of the staff felt bad about the decision since they generally aim of trying to keep us clients happy. At least IPS can and does recognize when it needs to put a delay on something in favor of the 'big picture' so to speak. Let's keep this in mind during the infrequent times that IPS has to provide updates that aren't as great as the others.
    • Heyhoe and Feld0 like this

it is a shame i must admit.. Apple do my head in and this is the reason why with the monopoly they have over everything which in turn if a developer is struggling with something they will always concentrate on the ipad/iphone ilk and the many people who use android get left behind..

 

I use tapatalk and while its fine for forum use its no good for the blogs or gallery and all the other bits of apps IPB has...

 

mobile development is more important than ever these days for a site, even PC/desktop sales are suffering as people turn more to mobile devices, and this can only get worse and those who haven't got  comprehensive mobile access to their site will lose out more and more..

 

Only hope is that things will get better in the future for us android users....

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