A critique of the idea some in the community have about the summit

In something akin to a Mr Bean film, our hero has mistook a trip to give feedback as an invite to be the company’s CEO. Bean is ready to set it on the right path and be seen as a saviour. He dreams of basking in glory, yet is equipped with ideas that are guaranteed to make you laugh and he is going to make a total tit of himself . Welcome to this week's Destiny Community Summit.

There are plenty of people going to the summit who have great insight and a genuine passion for Destiny and Bungie, but there are also hints of serious derp which instead of my usual tweets I want to explore in a blog post. Most of what I have to say comes from the perspective of working on large software products. Sure they are not games, but games are made out of software. Also Bungie shows all the signs of being a standard organisation, albeit one with the rare ability to nurture and support highly creative staff, while delivering a complex product. Which is to say I don't see why this summit would be anything unusual to ones I have seen myself.

So what hilarity have I seen?

“why are you bringing these people out here, are they deciding the future of the game?… I think the easy answer is yes…. I would hope the goals of the summit are to drive goal sets for teams that have not had their man hours allocated yet… like helping with design decisions”

Let’s unpack this as I don’t recognise it as a way any company works. It presupposes that Bungie have no idea how to design their own game and that they see the solution is to get a bunch of people in a room for 2 days. “Hey I know we pay you big bucks to work here, you spent years getting an education and a decade building industry experience, but shelve that and just do what these people say”. If this really is the case lets face it Destiny is fucked. 

More likely people are just confused about what is meant by feedback and listening. For example I have spent my whole life eating. I know what I like and have eaten at many restaurants. If I have a meal I don’t like I think my taste is valid and I might chat with the chef. I doubt they are going to tell me I was wrong to not enjoy it. Maybe my comments lead to some thought about if they overdid it with the salt. But if I whipped out a menu I created at home, I wouldn't expect them ditch theirs and use that. That would be fucking nuts.

On products I work on I am guided by the idea that everyone can judge a product (was the meal tasty?), but few people can come up with a well designed and engineered product (be a chef/run a restaurant). I follow Bungie because even though some aspect of their games are far from perfect, when they deliver it is such a fun game. One I sink a ton of my spare time into it. Hell it inspired me to even make an item manager. My own experience is that ideas are dirt cheap. They are almost never original and often speak more about peoples limited experience and imagination. People confuse their own inability to see better solutions with the idea that no others exist. Which is why so many community ideas are little more than asking to make the game like Destiny 1. As time has gone on this hasn’t just passed as the absolute way to improve Destiny, but it has become a parody of itself, where now even levelling up your weapons and armour via collecting materials is seen as a good thing, as opposed to the boring waste of time that only a kid stuck in 1990, with no other games, would consider a fun grind.

I really struggle to imagine there is much time for Bungie to evaluate your new ideas. No matter how deeply you thought about them or how many people upvoted them on your twitter poll. Maybe you are not as important as you think? However companies sometimes want to share ideas about the future and see if someone on the outside has some insight into if they sound interesting or ring some alarm bells. However don’t expect a veto because *sigh* that would be bananas (like really, maybe you are not that special). Nor would it be counted as not listening. The way the world works is if you think someone has the skills to make a product significantly better you hire them. You don’t bring them in for a 2 day event. This should not be news.

I know plenty of people are collecting info for topics Bungie should care about. But it seems unlikely that Bungie doesn't have internet access. The idea they have not been busy reading tons of feedback strikes me as bonkers, and if they don’t know how to read the notes being collected won’t be any use when you hand them over. So again if you don’t get to share all these topics it might be less about Bungie not listening and more they have people that can handle a web browser.

I just want to comment on an issue raised that this summit is just a marketing ploy. People going shouldn’t get suckered into being used to promote the DLC. Bungie need to re-earn trust and be held to account. Who will do this? Self appointed Destiny cops. Uniform not included. I know personally when I turn on the news game developers are in my current top five people I worry about due to integrity issues. Come on! People are getting to meet the developers. This will be a huge group and even if you consider XP throttling and Eververse to be genuine outrages (I don’t) it is absurd to think everyone was responsible for that. These are people whose main concern will be building an awesome strike, giving our guardians kick ass motion and sounds effects, as well as writing epic lore. I am a fan of Bungie, I love Destiny, but one problem is there was a period of silence after D2 shipped and that left the loudest (dumbest?) voices to fill the gap with a story that Bungie doesn't listen and suck. Here is Bungie opening their doors, arms outstretched and saying they want to build bridges. This is an opportunity to get to know some people there and have a conversation. I cringe at the idea of people seeing themselves as Destiny Cops who are there to enforce the community law and make sure people are trustworthy. Get over yourself. 

For those going have fun. I could only dream of getting to visit Bungie and will be both jealous and excited of all of you. Don’t worry about representing everyone. You got selected no doubt because of your views and passion for the game. Go build some bridges and come back with some real news to replace the speculation of some cynical twat on reddit. Also please, don't make a fool of yourself. 

Thoughts on Jan 2018 Destiny 2 Development Update

My main game to play with friends is still Destiny 2. It's exciting to hear changes and new content are on they way. My concerns though are Bungie are in panic mode and this would be a reactionary update to the loudest voices in the community i.e. the least nuanced, the least thoughtful and often the straight up trolls. I hope this is an update that looks to build on the foundations Destiny 2 sets out and expands on what Bungie's vision for the game is. People gana moan, so lol at the press that talk about any update unifiying the communtiy.


The interesting news on this slide was that each expansion will bring a new destination. D2 itself introduced several destinations and even Titan, the smallest, has 2 fast travel points, 3 public events. The Hive one is a personal favourite due to the intensity of the battle in an enclosed space. Also The Archeology is amazing and I would love even more content to explore there. Curse Of Osiris reset what can be expected from a new Destination with Mercury. A tiny location that offers a poor patrol experience with a single public event and little to be explored. You cannot patrol the Infinite Forest and 'the present' is so dull it has become that bit you just run through to get to the fun parts. Just want to shout out to 'past' Mercury which is gorgeous and the best part of the strike where at the end you kill a Christmas tree ornament. Also 'future' Mercury for being moody and having jump puzzles. But anyway, I just hope future destinations are more Titan/Earth/Io/Nessus and less Mercury. As someone that really enjoys The Eater Of Worlds raid lair it is great to see another one on the way.

Happy to see seasons content clarified and that it is open to all regardless of which DLC we own. Now I can invite the friends that left to come join me and maybe they will find a game they too can love.

As for Eververse I hope to find the time to write up my thoughts in a separate post. At its core it seems legitimate to have ways to monetize game over time (I love my Destiny merchandise), but I don't see how something structured like Eververse sits well with the kind of values a company like Bungie tries to embody. It treats people as chumps and reading its content will be 'electively purchased' - whatever that means - still looks bad and I fear will be a genuine foundation for people to bash the game going forward.


Masterwork armor sounds great. The recent Mayhem event showed the supers in Destiny 2 can be super *groan* fun. But who doesn't miss how terrifying they were in Destiny 1 due to how hard it was to kill people in them. Extra armor mid-super sounds great, especially for those wimpy golden gunners. Then if it reads correctly we can finally re-roll the armor stats. Now finally I can do something that was never possible, wear my favourite armor and have stats that fit the current meta.

Feb update

I'm a big fan of the time limit in the Nightfall. The original system encouraged people to slowly shoot everything from the back. Difficulty came from bullet sponges and burns that resulted in one hit kills. The time limit leads to more intense firefights which is when Destiny is at its most fun. An exception to this is the momentum modifier that especially in Savathun's Song leads to that old boring style of play and literally encourages you to run away from a fight. Destiny 1 strike scoring gave you a ton of points for finishing the strike quickly, so in a sense retains a kind of time limit. What was disappointing was a lack of leaderboards and a lack of API support to allow the community to fill in the gap for people who want to see their strike times compared to others. PvE should also have a competitive side! Let's see what happens here.

I'm a fan of the mod system so happy to hear it will continue to evolve.

Finally hallelujah to being able to see your fireteam on the map. 

Da rest

The future looks interesting. As a mediocre PvP player competitive ranks looks both compelling and terrifying. Do I want the game to really let me know how much I suck? But maybe I won't? I have to say although 4v4 is more fun than 3v3, I do miss the 6v6 types of game that were in Destiny 1. People played so selfishly that you could go in solo and have a fine time with plenty of hero moments. Destiny 2 solo PvP can be fun occasionally, but mostly it isn't. Also solo queuing into a game against a full fireteam and then having some of your team leave is the most miserable experience that I have ever experienced in the Destiny franchise. One last thing though, 4v4 Mayhem was brilliant. It is a legit gaming mode unlike the chaos of 6v6. Cannot wait for 4v4 mayhem to return in season 3. Also Rumble is coming back! Maybe Rumble Mayhem too?

PvE has been a lot of fun for me in Destiny 2. Destiny 1 was an amazing patrol space with nothing to do. While Destiny 2 is an amazing patrol space and has plenty to do. Love those public events, high value targets, flashpoint bosses and loot chests that now drop loot. The main issue is a lack of white whales to chase. The loot is too easily obtained. There are hints this might be addressed. But I miss the loot that made me run 150 strikes to get a Dry Rot and Hopscotch Pilgrim. I miss the hardcore quests to get a Thorn or the insanity that was Lost To Light. I miss the strike specific loot. Yes we all moaned they were too hard, that we hated them, that it wasn't fair. But Bungie shouldn't of listened to that, they should have listened to the screams of utter delight when we finally did get the reward we wanted.

If season 3 is just 3 months after season 2 that puts it as the start of March. That is only around 7 weeks away. Cannot wait.

Thoughts on Destiny 2 and the current state of the community

 Played enough to max two of my alts, gain 3000 shards and a squillion tokens

Played enough to max two of my alts, gain 3000 shards and a squillion tokens

For the past couple of months there has been non stop negative drama and it has really soured my general perception of the Destiny community. Communities are pretty broad so I don't want to tar everyone with the same brush. But any voices of reasonableness seem to be drowned out these days. In the past I could hang out at the subreddit and learn cool new things and ways to optimise my play time. That is all gone now. At times it has really knocked my own motivation to work on Ishtar and I can say for sure if I was just discovering Destiny today, there is no way I would have seen a cool community that I want to give something back to. There is no way I would now be creating an Ishtar Commander. That bugs me. It really bothers me that new creatives are discovering Destiny, having a lark and then stumbling across a negative community that no sane person would want to contribute cool things to. 

Destiny 2 is in many ways a huge step up from what Destiny 1 was. The campaign was great with a story that made sense, missions that had many special moments (tanks!) and showed a whole new level to Bungie's ability to create a worlds and tell a story. Patrol, which was a boring empty wasteland of tedium in Destiny 1 is now replaced by fun public events which you can fast travel between. Some of the strikes such as the Pyramidion are AMAZING. Meanwhile in the evil mirror universe that is the subreddit/YouTube Destiny 2 has no story, everything sucks, Bungie are evil and Destiny 1 is being hailed as the greatest game that ever happened. Even Peter 'I read all my story lines like I hate this job and wish I was anywhere else' Dinklage is being hailed to return.

I enjoy Destiny 2. I cannot match the general freak out with the imperfect, but still fun game I play. I couldn't think of anything more tedious that going back to Destiny 1. A game which for its entire life was denigrated as 'an incomplete beta' and one with objective problems stemming from its original attempt at fusing PvE and PvP gameplay together. I also am a fan of Bungie. I also cannot imagine how you attract creative game designers to a company that churns out the same old shit year after year. Which is what going back to Destiny 1 would be. I hate those kind of companies and would never follow one. 

Anyway, a lot of Destiny's issues were addressed in Destiny 2 and I want to say I am a massive fan of the freedom slot weapon system. Running around the crucible with an autorifle at midrange and an SMG at close range is great. That isn't to say (Mayhem aside) PvP solo queuing really does suck balls and (Mayham aside) PvP is rather one note. I would describe Destiny 2 PvP as way less annoying than the insta-kill shotty/sniper/fusion grenade hell Destiny 1 was, but not anywhere near as fun as it should or as Mayhem shows, could be. I fully understand why people have stopped playing, although I don't understand why people are so angry, bitter and cynical about it. I want to see Destiny 2 crucible reach its potential, I don't want to see it go back to Destiny 1. Raise Destiny 2 to the level it is hinting at, don't take it back to the past.

So these are my poorly formed quick thoughts. I am looking forward to the months ahead and seeing where Destiny goes. But I hope I also can find a community again. I miss that.

Announcing Ishtar Commander for Desktop Technology Preview

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 23.06.00.png

If you are feeling brave want to see the next steps Ishtar Commander is taking here are the links to the Windows 10 and Mac OS versions of Ishtar Commander.

Right now it is basically the same as the tablet version, but with added drag and drop. The app is also currently unsigned for both Windows and Mac OS. On the Mac you need to unzip it, right click and select open. There are a zillion PC configurations out there and so it would be great to get feedback now on if the app works. The current version is Windows 10 only, but Windows 8.1 might be possible in the near future.

Finally the app won't be updated till its proper release just as Destiny 2 comes out for PC towards the end of the month. However if you want to support the apps development and get new features I offer beta access to my patreons here. This beta version will be added to on an almost daily basis. Otherwise just hang in there as the end of October is not far away.


Ishtar for Destiny 2 update



Since the last update there have been some significant changes. 

So when will Ishtar Commander support Destiny 2?

It is safe to say before the end of September. I am allowed to enjoy Destiny 2 myself, so don't begrudge me some play time before looking to update the app. Please note when the app updates it will be for Destiny 2 ONLY. If you want Destiny 1 support check out my new app 'Ishtar Legacy'. See the note at the end for more on this.

But I heard Bungie already released the Destiny 2 API docs?

It is true and they can be found here as well as @Lowlines excellent expanded docs here. However although these allow a little bit of prep, until I can play the game and the API can return real data the docs are just an awesome, but limited resource. 

Did you find anything cool in the docs?

Oh yes! It looks like you will be able to control the nodes on items so potentially you can have loadouts that change the nodes on a subclass, weapons and armor. Imagine loadouts where you know a nightfall has a void burn and you can bring over void weapons, or better yet change the nodes on your fave weapon to activate the void burn. However it's just a guess if this is possible. Something else in the API lets you now 'activate' items. Does this mean you can activate weapon synths from an app? Can you apply a glimmer boost? Who knows, but it looks like you will be able to do more from the app which means less Farm visits and messing about with the in-game menus. It also looks like infusion will no longer be 100%, but the API can give details of exactly what light level items will end up at after you infuse them.

I heard the Destiny 2 API is pretty different to D1, is that bad?

It looks like Bungie have learned a ton and the new API looks amazing. Sure it will take a tiny bit longer to get to grips with it, but it clearly will make all of us app developers far more productive. I welcome this change. It also looks like it will be simpler to get the details of your gear, which in turn should mean you can start Ishtar and see your inventory even faster than before.

Will Ishtar Commander look the same for Destiny 2?

Come on! That would be so boring. The look and feel will be fully updated to match Destiny's new lighter grey look. With updated sounds and animation where applicable. I am also using the opportunity to basically rewrite the app from scratch.

Will Ishtar Commander be fully featured when the update comes out?

Absolutely not. The first version will be about just making it easy to transfer your gear around. Further features will then be added back over the coming weeks. I learned a lot building the original Ishtar Commander, but the underlying code was overly complex. This is a great opportunity to tidy things up, make some optimisations and build a better base to allow new features to be added with ease.

So no loadouts in the first version?

Loadouts has always been the suckiest part of Ishtar. Even if you found them useful the underlying code was awful. Loadouts will come back later and this time will be Ishtar level awesome.

OMG I cannot wait for the new version, is there anything I can do to help?

Yes! First stay chilled. The official mobile app and web site will work. Please don't leave hostage reviews (I gave your app 1 star till you fix it!) and just follow my twitter for updates on progress. If you want to help the app and get access to the beta you can do so by supporting my Patreon. The 2 higher tiers give you beta access and an invite to the app development chat room. All patreons also see special updates that show how I design and implement the features I am working on. For example this was a recent patreon only exclusive video.

Creating an Ishtar version of the error dialog

What is Ishtar Legacy?

Previously I thought it would be great to have Ishtar Commander support both Destiny 1 and 2. However although I have some help on the graphic design side of the app, the rest all falls solely on my shoulders. So if I can get any significant boost to productivity I am going to take it. It became apparent I could get a lot more done with separate apps. So now Ishtar Legacy is for Destiny 1 and Ishtar Commander will be for Destiny 2. If you want to play Destiny 1 go download it from your app store now.

Any final words?

Holy shit Destiny 2 is nearly here! This is the next step for our favourite game and also is going to be a pretty cool reboot for Ishtar Commander. I have learned so much over the past 2 years and have a ton of surprises in store. Eyes up guardian and go kick Ghaul's ass.


Ishtar Commander for Destiny 2

 Ishtar Commander with Ralph The Chicken support

Ishtar Commander with Ralph The Chicken support

Ishtar Commander has been out for nearly 2 years now. During that time it has seen 800,000 unique App Store and Google Play accounts download it. It has gone from being pretty useful to essentially indispensable when playing Destiny. People have adapted their play style around the ability to instantly move items around and avoid the hassle of visiting a social space. 

So will there be an Ishtar Commander for Destiny 2? The simple answer is a resounding YES. But for those interested in the details I created the following FAQ.

Will there be any support for the Destiny 2 beta?

Sadly not. Best knowledge is there will be no item manager support at all for the beta. This makes a sense as whatever we collect, if we can collect anything, will vanish once the beta ends. The only thing we get to keep for partaking in the beta is a unique emblem.

Will Ishtar Commander gain support for Destiny 2 in the existing app, or will there be a new one?

The current plan is to just have one app. When you login the app will ask you which version of Destiny you play with and show the relevant user interface (nerd term for the apps visuals and bits you can tappety tap on). You can swap between the 2 accounts at any time. I just don't have the time to maintain two separate versions of the app.

Will Ishtar Commander still work for Destiny 1?

Yes. While Bungie still provide the Destiny 1 API the app will work with it.

Will Ishtar Commander support Destiny 2 on launch day?

Sadly not. The API (nerd term for the way the app communicates with bungie) gives a lot of secrets away about how Destiny 2 works. So Bungie won't make it public till the same day the game goes live on September 6th. 

OMG how the hell am I meant to live?

The official app and bungie.net no doubt will have support on day one. We have waited so long for Destiny 2. Just enjoy the damn game and don't be one of the many plonkers who is determined not to enjoy what should be an amazing few first weeks.

Okay, but when will Ishtar support Destiny 2?

I expect it to take a couple of weeks to add very basic support. Maybe not much more than the ability to see your inventory and transfer items around. This depends on many factors. Not the least I plan to play a shit ton of Destiny 2 myself. Oh yes sweet mumma. Lots of shooting Gary and his minions with my pew pew. It is a free app and I am not your bitch so please be understanding during this time.

What do you mean basic version!

I just mean it is going to take time to get all the features back up and running. If you have used the app you know I love things to work in the most amazeballs fashion possible. I want it to look and behave as however Destiny 2 does. It is a free app and I am not your bitch so please be understanding during this time. Adding bling in the Ishtar way takes time. See here for how much I have to do myself.

Will there be less features long term?

I don't know. It is quite possible something that made sense in Destiny 1 make no sense in Destiny 2 (Please god, no more armour grading nonsense). Hopefully there are new cool things and this leads to some other cool features no one has even thought of yet. Maybe long term you get even more!

Is there anything I can do to support you?

Yes! First of all be patient (Did I mention I am not your bitch?). Secondly don't leave low star reviews on the app. That does not motivate me, quite the opposite in fact. Enjoy the damn game and don't be a downer, like so many in our community want to be. We don't get a new Destiny that often. If you love Bungie as I do, have some trust they are going to give us something fucking amazing. Or at least after a couple of patches :-) Let that keep you busy and happy for a couple of weeks. Finally if you want to splash some cash feel to support my efforts via my Patreon. Even a dollar a month makes all the difference https://www.patreon.com/IshtarCommander

Ishtar Commander's Secure login

Most security issues come down to trust. At a certain point you have to trust your family members with the keys to your house or your bank not to steal your money. Previous versions of Ishtar Commander required you to log in with your PSN or Xbox credentials entered directly into a custom web view hosted by the app. This meant in theory your details could be captured. Or to put it another way required you to trust me directly to be responsible with them. The full details of this area and why there were no alternatives for 3rd party mobile apps were covered in this earlier post.

As of this year Bungie have started to provide a new secure login system. This shifts who to trust away from me and back to Sony, Microsoft and Bungie. This post details how it now works.

When you use Ishtar Commander the login is now through the phones own web browser. On Android you will be bounced over to whatever browser you use, most likely Chrome. While on iOS a Safari View Controller is used. Now on iOS it may feel like you are still inside Ishtar, but view itself is just part of the normal browser and Ishtar cannot access any of it. You can even test this yourself by going to mobile safari and logging in to the Bungie.net site. When you now try and login with Ishtar you won’t be asked for your username and password as the browser is already logged in.

Lets got through the steps:

First you can see here the slightly tweaked start screen in Ishtar.

You are now bounced over to the web browser or Safari View Controller as explained at the start. If you are not logged into bungie.net you will now be asked to do so.


You will then be asked to approve Ishtar Commander.

If you have the official Destiny app a nice notification now pops up.

Ishtar Commander now can happily use your Destiny account details. It will also show up on Bungie.net > Settings > Linked Accounts where you can even remove its access to your account should you so want. This new system will keep you logged in for a whole year so long as use Ishtar Commander at least once every 90 days.

Ishtar Commander is a free app and if you enjoy using it and want to see more posts like this please support me on Patreon. Even a couple of bucks a month makes a difference.

Ishtar Commander a year in review

Today marks exactly a year since I started work on Ishtar Commander for Destiny. The first version did not ship till September 26th 2015 a few weeks after Bungie gave us The Taken King. Although I have worked on designing mobile apps for nearly 2 decades (welp!), this has been the first app I also developed myself. During the day my work has always been in massive teams where everyone had, in my opinion, over specialised roles. So on Ishtar I have got to wear every hat, own every decision and learn from every mistake. It has been ridiculous fun, brought me into contact with many wonderful people and resulted in an app that is very close to 300,000 downloads from unique accounts.

Recently I have seen several emails where people have asked me if I still love Destiny and am still motivated to continue with the app. Despite this being a pretty dry period for content I am if anything loving Destiny more than ever. The changes in April have made the game significantly more rewarding and despite being mediocre at best at PvP I still feel I am slowly progressing there. Rise of Iron looks to be a great update and will bring plenty of new content. I also expect it to lead to plenty of new ideas for the app. However even without new ideas there are still plenty of significant gaps in the app. Item distribution, vendor details, search, bungie forums and many more things that are only missing due to lack of time to add them. Only kidding about adding the Bungie forums. Screw that toxic hell hole. 

So I am not going anywhere, I am still motivated and Rise of Iron should turbo boost my app creation ideas. As the app shipped after Taken King and only grew in reputation in the past six months I have high hopes to see it jump in popularity when the new expansion hits. As people rush back their friends can tell them to check out Ishtar. 

I just want to thank a few people. First of all the amazing team who beta test the app, give me feedback, point out when a pixel is out of place and tell me to chill out when I am being a grumpy douche rocket. Recently they are also helped localise the app and provide some amazing enhancements to the graphic design. You are all amazing and it never occurred to me when I created the app I would have this private mini community who mean so much to me. I then want to thank all the kind people who have contributed financially to the app via Patreon. Recently I have been able to use this money to do thing such as renew my Apple dev account and buy a few pieces of software that mean I can spend less time on boring developer tasks and more on errr fun developer tasks. The other 90% is used to buy me chocolate. Finally I want to thank all those people who follow my nonsense on twitter and leave great feedback on Reddit. Let's make the next year awesome my fellow guardians.


Security and the Bungie.net Destiny API

UPDATE: This post is no longer up to date. Ishtar Commander now has a new secure login. See here.

Since releasing Ishtar Commander a steady stream of feedback has been received asking why the app needs Playstation or Xbox account credentials (username and password) to access Bungie's official API. This is accompanied by a request to add some form of secure login 'just like the other Destiny apps out there'. Yet there is no secure login for the Destiny API, only a mistaken idea one exists.


Above Ishtar Commander can be seen on the left and the official Destiny companion on the right. Both need your login credentials to work, but is one safer than the other? The correct answer is NO! Based on the comments on Reddit and emails this is a topic where some important details are missing and it leading people to think the visuals of an app can magically make it more secure.

The following post lays out why your details are needed, why there are security implications and why there is nothing 3rd parties can do till Bungie provide an alternative. I have tried to write it to be accessible by anyone that plays Destiny. You don't need to be a technically minded or a software developer.

Some Destiny apps don't need any passwords, why is Ishtar Commander different?
Bungie provide a web platform which has two types of end points, public and private. End points are just a way of getting specific data. For example there is a public end point that will show you your kill/death ratio in the crucible. Private end points need you to be logged in and offer things such as seeing the contents of your vault and the ability to transfer items to different characters. This is to stop mischievous people seeing and moving all your items around just by knowing your username. Private end points can only be accessed with your PSN/Xbox credentials.

Why do I have to type them into this app, isn't it possible it could be capturing my details?
To access your Bungie account Ishtar Commander needs 3 web cookies called bungled, bungleatk and bungledid. These do not have your PSN or Xbox details in them. They are just secure tokens so the next time Ishtar Commander connects it does not need your credentials, it just needs the cookies. So how does Ishtar get the cookies?

The only way to get the cookie values is to read them from the web browser’s cookie database after it has logged into bungie.net. The only way to log in to Bungie.net is with your PSN/Xbox credentials. So all mobile apps have to have some way of logging into Bungie.net that gives them access to this cookie database. Ishtar Commander has a custom view, while others use a built in browser view. As they are 'inside' the app that means your username and password could be captured by the app. There is no difference between a custom UI and a built in browser they can both be manipulated to capture your details.

This is rubbish, I know PSN and others offer a secure Oauth login.
Oauth login is only secure if used from start to finish. For the Destiny API access this breaks down at the point where the cookies are needed. To capture these cookies some form of built in browser/cookie database is needed. Sorry to repeat myself, but it seems many people see the words 'oauth' in a web browser URL and think that automagically makes everything secure. Bungie could and hopefully will add something like oauth in the future. But they don't. Instead the only way to access the api is with 3 cookies that cannot be grabbed without using your PSN/Xbox credentials.

What about using mobile Safari?
In the past you may have used other apps that would bounce you over to mobile safari and after logging in they bounce you back to the app. This is a secure system based on trusting Apple and mobile Safari. This cannot work for the Destiny API. 3rd party apps are not allowed access to mobile Safaris cookie database and therefore cannot grab the 3 cookies. Even if they could Apple now reject all apps that bounce via Mobile Safari under the claim they offer a poor user experience.

What about the new Safari View Controller?
In iOS 9 Apple offer apps a way to embed the secure safari browser. However being secure the app cannot access the cookie database. It cannot get the cookies. This is not an option. You may have seen Instagram and others can use this. That is because they have a true oauth solution. The Destiny API does not.

I have read all this and even though I understand it isn't secure I would like an inbuilt web browser to give me a false sense of security.
An inbuilt browser UI may come later. But the reasons for this are for useful functionality such as being able to accept the Bungie.net user agreement. Currently Ishtar won't work if you never logged in and accepted it. 

Does Ishtar Commander store my PSN/Xbox credentials?
No. The instant you login to Bungie and Ishtar gets the 3 cookies your username and password are discarded by the app. These cookies are then used to access the Destiny API. They cannot be used to access anything else. After about 19 days the bungleatk cookie expires at which point you are asked for your username/password again to get a fresh set of cookies.

Does Ishtar Commander use my PSN/Xbox credentials in a secure way to get the cookies?
Yes. All communication uses HTTPS and nothing is sent as plain text.

How do I know this is true?
It is simply a question of trust. If you trust the author then use the app. If you don't then don't use the app. But the same goes for all the apps that use the Destiny API. They can all capture your details if the author is evil as explained above.

What about if you support 1Password or some other password manager plugins?
These plugins just paste your credentials into the app. There is no extra security here. As the paste happens the credentials can be captured.

Could you open source the network code?
I could, but I am not going to as there is no way for anyone to validate the same code is in the app on the App Store. It would just be security theatre. The look of security without giving anything real.

So this all comes down to implicit trust?
Yes. If you are worried then don't use the app. If you do understand the issues and can see that this is the only way for an item manger to work then please do use and enjoy the app. Hopefully Bungie will offer something better in the future, but right now they don't.

Twitter in 2015

Although Twitter is a net positive for me, the past year has often left me struggling to enjoy its use. As 2014 came to a close I started to unfollow a lot of people. To do this I had to come to terms with the fact I am twitter completionist. Just as with getting all the stars on Angry Birds or even eating the last strange dark sweets my kids don't want, I just have to read every tweet in my stream. A stream that is serval hundred messages every day. A little voice tells me if I just casually glance over messages I will miss some vital tweet that leads to fame, glory or a funny video. 

The criteria I used to unfollow was roughly:

  • Does this person tweet rarely? If so they can stay.
  • Does this person tweet a lot? If so is the majority personal or technical? If it was mostly personal then unfollow.
  • I follow a number of people in other countries and they will tweet about various cases of injustice. These stories really bother me and if I could do something about them I would. However I have zero influence over things outside of the country I live in and maybe my original home country. So I have decided to reduce who I follow that tweet non stop about issues I have no influence over. I am trying to make more of an effort to take part in local affairs though. And not slactervism in the from of tweeting. For example at the end of 2014 I joined a local demonstration to push back on a proposal to end the special art and music classes for kids here in Oulu.
  • Does this person tweet pictures of dead or dying children? This is one of the major bummers of 2014. Now that most twitter clients show a large thumbnail of any linked image you cannot avoid these. Yes war is terrible. But it is possible to care about social justice and many other issues without pushing horrifying photos to people that follow you. At the end of the day people can tweet what they want, just as I can choose who to follow. 

Now there has been several exceptions. But it has reduced my stream by a subjective 80%. Even on days Where I only check twitter once in the morning and a couple of times in the evening it is quick and easy to read any new messages. Much less time goes on reading twitter and I don't feel like the ills of the world are pressing down on my shoulders. I might have a compulsion to read everything, the fact people who I don't follow might be saying brilliant things turns out to not bother me at all.

Always do your homework

Occasionally I get asked for some advice about how to be better at design. My advice is simple, do your homework. 

Know the history of the problem area

People imagine a lot of design involves a deep understanding of psychology and a mystical expensive process to find great solutions. But even if this were the case you don't want to waste time re-inventing the wheel. At the start you want to know what are the best existing solutions to the problem you are solving. You should have a look at existing solutions, especially those of your competitors. Let say you are working on a payment design and want to have the best possible credit card experience.

 Amazon.com credit card entry UI

Amazon.com credit card entry UI

 Apple.com credit card entry UI

Apple.com credit card entry UI

Above is the credit card entry page for Amazon.com and Apple.com. Ignoring that the Apple site asks for the security code, can you see another key difference?

The Amazon interface requires the user to first select what type of card is being used. Visa, Master Card or Amex. If you get it wrong the process fails with an invalid card error. The Apple version takes advantage of the fact that each card issuer has their own unique pattern of numbers. It is not necessary to ask the user a question they might get wrong as you can detect the card type from the number they enter. Design genius is not needed here, just doing your homework.

People don't do their homework for a variety of reasons. Laziness and an expectation that being smart will get you through are common. But design projects have a limited amount of time. Don't do your homework and you end up going down the same wrong path everyone else already travelled. If you do your homework you can use the time to work on totally new issues that can make a product better than the competition.

Homework isn't just for the start of a project.

An easy mistake to make is that homework is just for the start of a project. In fact the start can often be a terrible time, as this is when you understand what you are designing the least. As you get a better idea of what the really tough problems are go and look again at how other products tackle the same issue. I often find many things I missed the first time and also have a greater appreciation of why certain products work the way they do.

Make sure doing your homework is part of the process

An easy way to ensure you do your homework is to make it part of the design process. Make sure you are constantly up to date on how your competitors products work as well as any other relevant design solutions. As most people don't do their homework it gives you a surprisingly large advantage from a small amount of effort.

Don't believe me? Here is a screenshot from todays iOS 8.1. Look carefully. Can you see where someone at Apple is not doing their homework?

 iOS 8.1 App Store credit card UI

iOS 8.1 App Store credit card UI

iPad Mini 3: Not Our Best iPad ever

 "iPad Mini Retina has scored an unbelievable 100% customer sat [satisfaction]" - Tim Cook 16th October 2014

"iPad Mini Retina has scored an unbelievable 100% customer sat [satisfaction]" - Tim Cook 16th October 2014

I'm a fan of Apple and a fan of the iPad. Apple are at their best when their products feel like they are trying to be the best they could possibly be. But that does not seem to ring true about the new iPad Mini 3. Before it was introduced Tim Cook provided some background:

It’s always been a unique blend of simplicity and capability. But while the iPad has been beautifully simple on the outside since the very first one, it has advanced technology just jam packed on the inside. From Apples custom designed powerful chips, to the ultra fast wifi and cellular connectivity, to the incredible iSight and FaceTime cameras.... But what’s more important to us is that iPad has consistently been rated number one in customer satisfaction. This is what makes our hearts sing. And iPad Mini Retina has scored an unbelievable 100% customer sat [satisfaction]. You just don’t see these numbers in customer sat. And so why are so many iPad users so satisfied? We think it comes back to this unique blend of simplicity and capability.
— Apple October 2014 event

While the new Air 2 saw a new custom designed A8X chip, the Mini 3 has last years A7. While the Air 2 got new blazing fast 802.11ac wifi, the Mini 3 is stuck with the same speed it had last year. Finally while the Air 2 got upgraded with incredible new iSight and FaceTime HD camera the Mini 3 was stuck with the same ones as last year. In fact apart from optionally being available in gold and supporting the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor the Mini 3 is identical to last years iPad Mini 2. 

It's hard to follow the logic of being pleased a product got 100% satisfaction, to then introduce an unsatisfying update. It's hard to follow the logic of success through increased capability, with a product that has none. Is the Mini now an unloved sibling to the Air? Is this a sign, just like the paltry 16GB of storage in the entry level product, that it has been priced too aggressively to warrant the expected upgrade? Is this a sign of product managers not thinking about the range as a whole and getting their way to differentiate the product against the Air, by crippling the features it should have had? Who knows, but one thing for sure is that this is not Apples best iPad ever.



Thinking About Adaptive UI's Part 3

After the basics things start to get more interesting from a design perspective.


Portrait and landscape orientation

One way of looking at the portrait and landscape orientation is they are nothing more than a change in aspect ratio. But especially with a phone the design is not primarily an issue or a narrower or wider screen, but how the device itself is held.

One and two handed use

Phones are primarily held one handed. It is not unusual to find yourself with only one hand to operate your phone. Be it carrying the shopping or holding onto a rail on the train. The entire interface of a phone, including being able to type text needs to be possible one handed. The only position where you can safely hold the phone in a firm grip and still reach the majority of the screen is when the device is held in portrait.

When held in landscape the phone cannot be firmly held and operated. Landscape on a phone is for two handed operation. On tablets one handed operation is not a design consideration due to the size and weight of the device. However hand position is an important consideration and means key buttons in tablet apps need to close to the edge of the screens where thumbs can comfortably press them.

Thinking About Adaptive UI's Part 2

There are 3 basic elements that first need to be understood regarding adaptive UI's. These are physical size, aspect ratio and resolution.

Physical size

Physical size is measured diagonally from one corner to another of the display. This has been trending upwards for phones.

Aspect ratio

The aspect ratio is the ratio of the length of the two sides of the rectangular screen. If the screen was square they would be equal 1:1. 16:9 has become common on phones where it allows the best compromise between keeping a phone narrow enough to grip in your hand while maximising the amount of space that the screen can take up.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 14.35.01.png


This is number of pixels a screen has. This is normally thought of in terms of dots per inch (DPI). This has also been trending upwards and in the next two years 4K (3840 x 2160) with DPI's in excess of 800 are expected. The trend is expected to abruptly stop at this point as the human eye can no longer see any higher.

The next post will show the new adaptable UI issues that emerge as these three elements are combined with how these products are held and used.

Thinking About Adaptive UI's Part 1

Since 2003 I have been working with the problem of adaptive user interfaces. The common examples are apps that work on phones and tablets that can have a range of different screen sizes, shapes and resolutions. Marco Arment in episode 85 of the Accidental Tech Podcast spoke a bit about what he has learned from his previous app, Instapaper. As well as a lot of custom elements this had a separate UI for iPhone and iPad. This was then compared to his new app Overcast and the additional challenges being offered by the different screen sizes on the new iPhone 6 and 6 plus. A variety of reasons were given for minimising the amount of UI that is custom to a specific device and instead just having a single universal adaptive UI that works on all iOS devices.

On first listen I broadly agreed with some of the reasons given for this and kind of agreed with the conclusion, even though I also hope it is wrong. I want apps that get the best out of my iPhone and my iPad. Not just a one size fits all kludge due to the cost, or questionable user value of having anything device specific. It kept bugging me and I remember how this is a surprisingly complex area. A lot of people are in the dark about all the issues here. 

Back in 2003 the design brief was to take a touch based mobile app platform (yes they did exist back then) and allow it to adapt to a range of screen sizes. “Apps can scale on the desktop when you resize the window, now just do the same for mobile”. But mobile apps were far more complex. Factors such as holding and using a phone one or two handed needed to be considered. Then there were different types of app. Some could easily scale to use a different screen such as many games, video and the web browser. While others such as the calendar needed major redesigns.

Since 2003 we have seen the emergence of responsive websites. A single site that can adapt to desktop and mobile web browsers. As Apple have increased the range of screen sizes and resolutions with the iPhone and iPad they have also introduced a single new solution to adaptive needs called Auto Layout. Today the new naive call is just make your app scale like a responsive website, or just use Auto Layout. But it is not that simple. There is no one size fits all. Or at least there isn't if we want to not wave goodbye to a whole class of interesting applications. At this stage in the evolution of apps shouldn't we be seeing more interesting variety, not less?

The following series of posts is an attempt to share some earlier learning. To describe why mobile is different to the desktop and the web. To explore how different types of apps have different problems. I then want to research some of the key solutions to making adaptive apps and share them. Right now I am unconvinced that there is a magic technology that can solve all these issues. That new thinking and new solutions are needed. As well as that device manufactures have a responsibility to limit the range of devices they offer. To better consider these problems and not burden app creators with a wide range of screens as if these issues are not that important or have been satisfactorily solved.

Is there such a thing as Dangerous Knowledge?

It is not unusual to be told by user experience designers that not only do they not need to learn to code, but they would be less effective if they did. Often with the claim that the process of learning to code makes you overly concerned with the workings of computers and not the people that use the products. You gain an engineering mindset, whatever that means. This post is not about addressing the merits of this specific claim. Instead I want to touch on an underlying assumption. The idea of dangerous knowledge. That there are things we can learn that will in some way corrupt us and make us worse at what we do.

Dangerous knowledge is an ancient idea. It is often used to gain or stay in power. I am reminded of the manager who once told me in all sincerity ‘if I told you and the team everything I know, then what would be the point of my role?’.  But it seems even worse when we decide for ourselves that learning can be bad. That smart people can take anti-intellectual positions. That we don’t even blink when many people who are part of delivering software products say proudly ‘I know nothing about how software works and that makes me better at my job’.

So lets not be so foolish. Maybe you are too busy to learn something new. Maybe deep down you are scared to learn. But these are problems that can be overcome. That ultimately taking a bite from the tree of knowledge is not how we fall, but how we can better ourselves and the products we work on.

The Joy Of Science Podcasts

The news is constantly full of depressing and confusing news. "Humanity is doomed due to climate change", "Diseases like bird flu and ebola are going to kill us all", "Antibiotics will soon stop working". Despair and be frightened! But I have found a wonderful antidote to this and one that never ceases to brighten up my week. This is the wonder that is science podcasts.

What I appreciate is:

  • Serious topics presented for non experts. If a topic needs a lot of explaining, then that is just what you get.
  • A lot of fear and nonsense in the media is put in sensible context or simply dispelled.
  • The range of fascinating areas I get to learn about that I often never even knew existed.
  • Interviews with the actual scientists. You often get to hear much clearer limits of what their research does or does not show.
  • A lot of news about research that may well be years from impacting our lives, but clear progress is being made.
  • Fascinating new books to read.
  • An understanding that there are a lot of people out there working hard to make the world a better place and succeeding.

Here are three that I cannot imagine my week without:

Science for the People: This is a weekly radio show from Alberta Canada. The format is two guests are interviewed one after the other. They often have an interesting book they just published or are an expert in an area that is currently hot news. If like me you are a coffee addict the episode on caffeine might take your fancy.

The Naked Scientists: As well as a weekly news program on the BBC there are also a number of specialised programs on areas such as  neuroscience and genetics. Covering a lot of the latest science news, interviews with scientists directly working in each area and plenty of background information to help you understand the issues at hand. It is often a great podcast to listen to with your kids. Discover why spaghetti always breaks into three pieces or if reading as a child, will make you smarter as an adult. They cover it all.

Science Weekly: From The Guardian newspaper this weekly podcast covers the latest news.

Were Apple holding back on what makes the Watch special?

Regarding the Watch is the idea that Apple held back a key aspect of the product. Not a standard feature, but something major. The kind of thing that would elevate it from mere accessory, to something that one day could replace an iPhone.

But in todays busy world you only get to launch a product once. The fear of bombing is enough to stop anything key being held back. In fact the problem is often just stopping this fear from resulting in an unfocussed presentation which does not zero in on the two or three elements that make the product understandable and desirable.

Do Apple even have a history of holding back major aspects of a product? Sure they don't detail every tiny feature. Yes with iOS beta's they do not reveal aspects that give away details about the soon to come iPhones. But major features that are only announced at shipping?

What about keeping details back so competitors cannot copy them before the product launches? Again this rings hollow. Apple have a whole lot of other issues medium term if the Watch can be cloned in a mere months. Compare that to iPhone and how it lived up to being five years ahead of the competition. 

Looking back at the video of the event you can see an Apple that is going out all guns blazing. The event itself was back at the Flint Center, "... on this stage we introduced the iMac. Which signaled the rebirth of Apple. Today, we have some amazing products to share with you. And we think, at the end of the day, that you  will agree that this too is a very key day for Apple."

Then Tim Cook announces  (55:45) "We have one more thing". It made me wince to hear this classic Steve Jobs line. Was it too personal to Jobs for it to be used again? Not on this day.

Compared to the focused beauty of the iPhone launch, what followed was a laundry list of features making it hard to think back to anything particularly memorable. Overall, far from being a day where anything was held back, it was a day that sorely would have benefited from it.

On struggling to understand the Watch.

It has been three weeks since the announcement of the Watch and if anything my thoughts have grown more confused. The two perspectives that interest me are is it just going to be some semi interesting accessory, or if it is going to be a significantly important computing platform. Put another way is the Watch going to be in the same category as say the Apple Cinema Display, or will for some of us it be replacing our iPhones?

Back in 2000 the design department I worked in purchased a Creative Nomad Jukebox. It was an early MP3 player with a reasonable sized hard-disk in it. It was horrific to use even for a nerd. But having instant access to thousands of songs was clearly amazing. When in 2001 the iPod launched it was obvious how useful this was. Apple had taken the wonder of having your whole music collection with you and not just made it a joy to use, but packaged it up into a fashionable and desirable device.

My entire career has been spent working on touchscreen based smartphones. They were often difficult to use, even for nerds. But the potential was there. We were all staring into our phones and ignoring friends and family long before it became the norm. ON touching an iPhone in 2007 it was again obvious how great this was. Back then there was no app store, but it didn't matter because the web browser alone was AMAZING. You could blog for weeks just on aspects of the iPhone that changed the game and unlocked all the potential compared to any product before it.

My own pattern for trying to understand new products has followed this. There is an area with great potential, but the current products suck. Then you get a new product and you can see the potential in that area has been unlocked. But with the Watch I just don't see that. I have tried various smart watches and never found anything interesting. They have been horrific in design and use, but without the hint of being an important device. Sure some of the fitness applications are interesting, but this is a micro niche.

Part of me is impressed that Apple have entered an area this early. No one has made it obvious what the potential to be unlocked is. But when I hear talk about this being a big platform. That this could cannibalise iPhone sales I feel lost. I don't know what I am missing here because all I see is something that can complement a product such as the iPhone. What am I missing?

What would be a dream way of creating apps?

Apps are marvelous. But the way apps are created is still stuck in the dark ages. Apple recently announced Swift, but at the end of the day is this anything more than a catch up with the rest of the industry? The three main hurdles of learning Xcode, understanding how to program and learning the Cocoa Touch framework are still there. As is the lack of any change to how designers and developer can better work together. What would be a genuine game changer?

No environment to set up (Just works).

With Android and even iOS, getting to the point where you can write a line of code, let alone see something run on a device is torture. Setting up a developer environment is countless gigabytes of downloads. Even with Google and Stack Exchange to consult, getting a working setup with all the right SDK's, plugins, certificates and other junk it a chore. 

It shouldn't have to be this way. Everyone should not suffer just to appease developers that want to be able to tinker with everything. Nor should it be acceptable to leave these issues unfixed just because developers are willing to spend a lot of time and effort getting a working setup. 

The dream would be a system as easy as downloading and using a new Twitter client. It should be possible to download a tool and have some code running on an actual device in less than five minutes. This would both make starting to develop apps accessible to ordinary people and also free millions of developers from having to go through the same horrible setup process.

Bring designers and developers together (Tools for app creators).

For historical reasons mobile apps are created by separate designers and developers. There is a lot of nonsense that these separate roles are fundamentally separate and even require different tools. This in turn has had the effect of cementing in place this absurd difference. The question should not be how can we make designers or developers happy? The questions should be what can we do to make app creation as easy as possible? Give everyone working on apps a shared toolchain dedicated to the problems of app creation.

Don't dumb it down (No tinker toys)

The best solution to creating dynamic logic in an app is a modern programming language. Provide just that and a great editor to compliment it. On the other hand the best way to create a visual layout and animations are visual tools. Don't listen to developers so stuck in their ways they want to do everything in code and don't listen to the designers so terrified of coding that this side is hidden away. Give smart people the best possible tools. Also the code and visual side should play together seamlessly. Don't hide the code away or have visual tools that generate un-editable code. Instead of sticking with a fantasy that apps can ever be created without code fix the main problems with writing code and make it more accessible to all. 

Get designers hands on.

It is 2014 and it is crazy that for most mobile apps every UI elements is positioned by a developer. If a designer wants to adjust how pixel perfect a button placement is, or tweak a font they have to ask a developer to do it. In the time it takes to reach an understanding countless other tweaks could have been made. The problem is even with tools such as Interface Builder it is far too hard for designers to get hands on. Editing the code often seems impractical. But if designers can hand edit a web site, there is no reason we couldn't have a system where they could get hands on with the real app design.

A language for thinking about user experiences.

Back in the 70's the first object orientated languages were created to enable the Graphical User Interface. Code objects had the potential to map to real objects in the interface. Over 40 years on this way of developing User Interfaces still dominates and it sucks. When designers run away screaming from the idea of coding this is one of the main culprits. These languages don't allow you to think in terms of what you want. You don't directly express concepts such as text, images, buttons, animations and visual effects. Instead you describe how an abstract engine running on a computer should serve these up. You spend ages translating the 'what' into a 'how' and it gets in the way of coming up with a great design.

The dream would be a language that along with the ability to handle complex logic, would also allow the direct expression of the user experience in terms of what is needed, not how the machine should serve it up. It should provide the basic elements needed to allow people to easily break down even the most complex design into manageable and understandable pieces. Just as with the developer  environment, all the scary stuff should just be abstracted away and all the common parts of a user experience should just work without configuration.

So productive it renders separate prototypes pointless.

There is an idea that fundamentally you cannot try out ideas (prototype) with the same language and tools as used to ship the production version of an app. Instead separate tools and scripting languages are used where you can create prototypes which vary in fidelity. But there is no law of computer science that states it has to be this way. Maybe as engineers are all masochists there has been little pressure to address these problem. But think of the benefits if a production ready software environment was as approachable and productive as the ones for making prototypes. Currently so much work goes into throw away prototypes and then duplicate work goes into recreating them again with the actual shipping technology. The prototypes often cheat and hide designs that cannot be implemented for real. Designers can be found wasting valuable time fixing issues that are part of the prototyping tool, and not the real app. There is often no access to real device functionality in these tools. No real HTTP and network support. No using cool features such as the camera, accelerometer or location features. Often even text input has to be faked. Then there is a lack of access to real data. You can make an amazing video of zippy animations using After Effects. But then the real app has to contend with network connections and they types or real content people own, not the glossy stock photos demos often use. If you could design with a real device and real data these problems would no longer go hidden till late in the design process.

See a design run on a mobile device as fast as you can think it (Live development)

There is this magical yet horrifying point during an apps development. After weeks of design effort a developer creates the first real version of the app. This is then deployed to a phone or tablet, you put finger to glass, and... your app sucks. It should have been obvious, but somehow when the design lived on paper on in a contrived fake prototype obvious problems were hidden. Then you ask for a change and the cycle starts again. Even the simplest change to an iOS app takes about 30 seconds to build and deploy back to a phone. This stop start process makes it expensive to iterate and can try the patience of even the most hardened engineer.

The dream would be seeing your ideas appear instantly on a real mobile device. The speed of thought is perhaps unobtainable, but how about at the speed you can type?

Capable of delivering the absolute best of the best apps (Performance)

The App Store and even the Play Store are brutal places to compete. Just good enough does not cut it. What are the best apps? They are the ones that don't drain the battery, that don't crash due to hogging memory. They open instantly and have the silkiest smoothest most responsive user interface possible. Sixty frames per second with no dropped frames or stutters isn't an aspiration, it is the bare minimum. Not only is performance important but so is the ability to get the best out of the current generation of smart devices which often have amazing graphical power that has gone untapped.

An environment like this would make teams far more productive. It would change the dynamics of how designers and developers work together. It would also be a really great way for people to learn how to write software and turn their own app ideas into reality. Now this would be a game changer. But right now it doesn't seem to be happening.