Since App World was launched I have had an issue with the caching system that RIM uses. There are a couple of features in App World that are simply slow or delayed making them a stumbling block for RIM. The thing is most of these issues are actually self inflicted by RIM in trying to “optimize” their infrastructure and could probably easily be remedied. App World is making some great progress in becoming the de facto app location but it needs to resolve these issues if it wants to truly succeed. Here is to hoping some of the RIM App World team is reading the following constructive criticism…
Notifications of application updates takes days if not weeks to reach everybody. Every day we get tips from readers letting us know that they just received an App World update notification for an app that was update days or weeks before. It just simply does not make sense for RIM to not use their own Push API to push out these updates within SECONDS of the app being updated. That is the main purpose of a push API. This leads me to my next frustration.
App World updates are staggered so that one user may see an update that is not available to another user. I have heard a few reasons from friends at RIM as to why this is the case but they just don’t make sense. First of all RIM never had this concept of staggered updates before. When they released a BlackBerry Messenger or Google Talk update before App World everybody downloaded it ASAP. Same thing with OS updates. Now that App World is growing strong shouldn’t we be able to do the same thing? RIM is already using Akamai as a CDN to serve this content so it is not like RIM’s servers will get hammered with millions of requests. Akamai can handle the traffic just like they do for more demanding clients than RIM.
So some of you may say that the reason they stagger the updates is in case there are any issues they can resolve them before it hits critical mass. Well it has been almost 2 years and that has never happened as far as I can know except for the update to BlackBerry Messenger 5.0. Still RIM never fixed that issue and just told users to update their OS and backup before upgrading. So why bother?
This delayed update also causes issues with developers who have to wait hours or sometimes over a day for their app or update to appear for all users. I am not sure what takes RIM’s servers so long to propagate an update. I can understand that the content might be cached on edge servers but they could always make it revalidate or simply invalidate the cache of that one app page when an app is updated.
This same concept of caching updates is also a problem on the BlackBerry App World client. We mentioned before that RIM has finally officially detailed the shortcut for refreshing the App World catalog cache on your device. Still wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to do that. This App World cache is probably already cached on RIM’s Akamai cache so would it really kill RIM to just make a quick cache-control or expires header check on that cache?
All of these frustrations can all be seen clearly if I describe to you how I wish/dream App World worked. When a new version of Google Talk for BlackBerry comes out I (along with EVERY other BlackBerry user) should receive a popup notification from App World within 5 minutes (hour max). I would then be able to click on that notification and download it immediately…
So what do you think are the chances of my dream coming true?