The Joy of Support

Always after a big and hectic release, such as Feeder 1.2 at the end of last month, there is tons to be done. I always say to myself that I’ll try to take a few days off to restore sanity and I’m lucky if I get a single day of a weekend. Of course time is spent promoting the new release and there is Real Life, where I need to catch up with all those things that have needed doing, but I couldn’t find time or inclination. I also have to reacquaint myself with friends and make time with my family – not that it’s work, but sometimes you need total downtime.

So, immediately after a release is actually the worst time to consider a break, no matter if you think you need one. Inevitably support emails and other feedback floods in – a lot of this can be positive comment, which is fantastic and I always try to respond. While most of the rest can be dealt with quickly requiring no fixes, two things persist in being big issues with Feeder.

FTP remains the thing that needs the most support due to the myriad differences between various systems, configurations and user understanding. That is hotly followed by people needing help with their feeds, almost always malformed or invalid feeds from other applications. I do my best to make these things easier and Feeder has a host of features to filter out crap. There are improvements I can make to the way Feeder works with different FTP configurations, but I doubt the invalid RSS issues will go away in a hurry. Top tip: if you have a feed on your site, check it out with FeedValidator. You’d be surprised at the applications and systems that have problems.

I should mention that the people who write in with support queries can’t be more helpful. They’re always willing to answer questions and try stuff out. I simply don’t have the resources to test every configuration of every FTP server, for example, so in the world of Indieware it is these people who help make products and life better for everyone. Whether it’s questions on how something should work or positive feedback, it all helps developers to know what’s good and where improvements could be made. I think all good developers agree with this. Here’s to you, Mac-using community!

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