You work to add features – and Retrograde gets in the way…

“Ummm – I am getting a bunch of complaints here…”

On Friday afternoon, during our Demo Day, my Nexus started buzzing a lot more – and I noticed a sudden uptick in the Feedback emails on the OWLR app we had just released the day before. It turned out that people were suddenly not able to use their cameras and the updates on the viewer seemed not to be working well.

Moving from version to version

We spent the past month working to add audio to the Foscam 9800 series and discovered that the iOS 9 beta build was breaking our apps with no apparent reason. So, instead of launching on our two week cycle time, we had to check all the cameras – and then test any number of cases.

For an existing user:

  • User stays with iOS 8.4.1 or older and simply upgrades
  • User upgrades to iOS 9 and then upgrades their app
  • User upgrades app, then upgrades to iOS 9 – do all of the cameras work?

Now that sounds quite simple – but multiple 50 cameras times three cases AND if the app does not work, figure out a way to overcome Apple’s beta bug – which then can suddenly be corrected in the final release.

So, when we got Apple to expedite the review, we were really excited to see how you – the users – would like the changes we made.

App Review Process, Weekends and Versions

As any iOS developer and you will discover the joy of the Apple Review process. Hundreds of thousands of people are adding apps continually, and the time it takes app to review apps can range from five to ten days, depending on various factors – including time of year.

In addition, when you have limited controls, or the inability to communicate to you – the users – directly on the App Store, it can be quite disheartening when you know there is a bug, you work hard to repair it and then make sure it works with all of the cameras, then hope that the Review Team will allow you to expedite the release.
Sadly, this weekend, we found out the bug at 4pm GMT and started seeking the problem out (turned out that we had a bug in the migration script on the Foscam 8900 cameras!). But the challenge was what to do?

Finding the bug took three hours, recoding the current code an hour and testing the code was only an hour – but we were testing on our developer branch, and were not going to release a code to you that had new changes before we properly tested it (for instance, the next release will have “Keep Alive” for the Portrait and Landscape views). So, this weekend, we spent time rolling back the code to the tested state and have completed the correction (seriously, it was a simple three letter change to the suffix of a URL, but the biggest bugs can have the simplest causes).

We do apologize for the bug – and the challenge of navigating the Apple App Store within their quality constraints. They have been quite helpful – given the flood of things happening with the iOS 9 launch, so we can only ask that you give us a few days (two hopefully) to get the correction up and running.

As a matter of fact, I am going to the office this afternoon (it is 1pm GMT now) to test the cameras and the bug fix as promised. And the guys have been working this weekend to resolve the issue as best as possible.

We do appreciate your support of our apps – and really do love making them. And, in the coming weeks – there are more exciting things coming to (hopefully) enrich your use of yoru cameras in much more connected ways.

As always, please send us feedback at or just go to and add your voice to the features you seek.

All the best – and Happy Viewing!

Sanford and the OWLR Team