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Why developers hate iCloud and use other cloud alternatives

Why do some applications not integrate with iCloud? For example, I have a lot of universal games on the iPad and iPhone that I would love to see synchronized progress and not keep different games. Is it really that complicated? At first glance it seems that no, the developer does not feel like implementing it, but it is not. Let’s tell you how Apple goes through everything and doesn’t dedicate its efforts to fix something that doesn’t work.

Steve Jobs introduced iCloud less than two years ago with the promise -and famous phrase- “it just works” . A promise to simplify our daily life, where everything happens automatically: we modify a document here and it is instantly modified there. No complicated settings, go, no configuration at all. This way we could use a single Apple ID to synchronise all our devices.

Why developers hate iCloud and use other cloud alternativesWhy developers hate iCloud and use other cloud alternatives

As I was saying, that was almost two years ago. And what is the current situation? Consumers are demanding iCloud integration in many applications – I include myself – and developers are not doing it. What is the problem? The problem is in the implementation of the code. Something that at first glance is uncomplicated – database synchronization – is impossible to implement in some cases. Says developer Michael Göbel:

This is the problem that many developers face. iCloud doesn’t handle databases the way it should and that ultimately means that for the end user the data disappears and there is no human way for the theoretically synchronized content to appear on the other devices. That translates into deactivation guides here, activation there, deletion there, and no end of tricks so that eventually we don’t even synchronize and lose our content, from our own experience.

The iCloud API is halfway there. Normally the developer documentation should cover everything a user can do with the application, such as exiting the Apple ID and identifying with a different one, but this is not the case, so developers are “defenseless” as they have to go through the filter of the App Store and through Apple’s servers, which do not always respond as they should. This Apple problem is a priori perceived by the end customer as a developer problem, and that translates into bad reputation for developers, complaints, and one-star reviews , which can end up sinking you.

The developers really want to fulfill the promise of iCloud, but Apple seems not to want to fix the issue. Although if you implement it, you will surely get a reward in the form of for example a highlight in the Editor’s Choice on the App Store or even a Keynote . One alternative solution that many apps have found is Dropbox, a simple system for syncing, but already is one more barrier, especially for those who don’t have or don’t want a Dropbox account. We’ll come back to these.

The hope of many is once again placed in the World Congress of Developers or WWDC which is held every year in San Francisco. There are possibilities that together with iOS 7 everything can be solved magically , as it used to be done in Cupertino. Now when trying an application I will think twice if it does not come with iCloud integration.