Progress Update – Scope Explosion

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Highlights

  • FlashUp is experiencing a change in direction and scope (“Black hole” effect)
  • App cannot work properly due to Apple iOS 12.4+ bug – no timeline given on fix
  • New guidelines for using the App below

Since the major overhaul for FlashUp began about one month ago – due to an important change introduced into a critical component by a 3rd party vendor – development has taken a path in the best direction possible. Reflecting on the outcomes so far of this forced change to the project, I can say that the timing was actually pretty good.

Now it’s time to try to explain what is happening to the most important stakeholders in the project: The FlashUp Beta Testers.

I want to try to clear up why there haven’t been any meaningful updates in the last 4 weeks. I’ve put together an illustration to depict the current state of development of FlashUp, which has gone down a black hole.

The “Black Hole Effect” encountered by some apps in early development

The introduction of a supposedly trivial user account system has raised the level of introspection within the project. New, deep questions are being asked about its core functionality and purpose. This is, of course, very positive in the long run as it will ensure that the product is exactly tuned to what I believe the market needs – at least for an initial offering (version 1.0).

In the short term though, this puts a hold on any meaningful releases until these deep and foreboding questions are answered. In the meantime, I sincerely hope that members of the Beta Tester group can find a moment to share their unique needs and how they think FlashUp should provide for them.

Now, my opinion is that this is excusable for a developer in my predicament. Unfortunately, though, this timing coincides with an Apple iOS bug mentioned last week on the Beta Testers Group facebook page, affecting some core functionality of FlashUp so far: the ability to launch and begin sensing flight state in the background. This means the present behaviour of the app goes against its primary feature as advertised on this website stating that there is “No Start Button” to initiate the process of flight recording.

C’mon, throw this developer a bone for Pete’s sake. No, No! I didn’t mean that!

This presents a two-fold problem for me, the developer: First, that an element of control has been taken away by the mighty Apple provider that may eventually force me to rethink my strategy for differentiating the product, and second that it means having to switch gears to a broader scope of product design without being able to fix it first. Both of these ultimately impact Testers.

The app is presumably launching in the background just to crash hard – consuming useful battery power in the process.

For now, this issue affects only Testers who run iOS version 12.4 or greater. To prevent this behaviour, turn off Location Monitoring for all aircraft in your list (Select Aircraft -> Edit Aircraft -> Location Monitoring -> Off)

The timeline for the next release is hard to gauge, but I’m estimating at least 2 – 3 months from now as we approach the Christmas holidays. Admittedly, that time of year is a very low-volume period for flight hours (at least in the BC South Coast region). Thankfully, at the very least, a select few commercial operators will be flying and testing the app through the winter months allowing the feedback – reiteration cycle to continue.

If anyone has any questions or comments at all, please head over to the FlashUp Beta Testers facebook page and comment, or email me at info@flashup.app

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