About good use of ratings in the AppStore


Ten years ago Apple opened its AppStore.

And seven years ago, I published my first iPhone application: the very first version of CalJ for smartphone.

The uses of our dear devices have evolved; users have learned to download, copy, paste, share, try, configure… but still have not learned how to rate.

CalJ users, at least those who had the curiosity to pay attention to my communications, my successive descriptions of the updates, or who took the time to exchange with me by email, got to know me, and know what I invest in personal effort (and pleasure) in knitting this free tool. A lot of downloaders sent me a nice word of encouragement, a suggestion, a thank you, even a blessing. I am grateful for this.

Nevertheless, almost all comments on CalJ posted in the AppStore, are depressing. Sincerely, they make me want to cry.

We discovered together last week, you and me, that my update 3.7.2 (supposed to fix the 3.7.1 that was crashing on iOS 10.1.1 with parental control enabled – so a rather specific situation) did not correct anything at all actually. And worse, it caused to everyone a new crash… which lasted one day.

If the crash did not last long, it is because several users, who felt concerned and who know how to appreciate the effort, quickly contacted me by email, to let me know of the problem. They even sent me screenshots, or a bug report (look for “crash log report iphone” on Google if you do not know what it is). This allowed me, very quickly, to correct the glitch (which was in the CalJ server CalJ, not even in the app…).

Yet, just take a look at the reviews in the AppStore… you mostly see 1-star ratings (because zero does not exist) of anonymous people who say:

Useless. It crashes all the time today.

It may well be that the said anonymous had been using (for my pleasure) CalJ freely and daily for months, or years. That CalJ became for them a small part of the pre-Shabbatic preparatory ritual. That they pronounce the Birkat at all the meals by reading it in CalJ, with the Yaalei Veyavo showing in the right time.

It can be that they recommended the app to all their friends, assuring them that it was great.

But, no.

These anonymous, who had never expressed themselves in the AppStore, nor had sent me a word by email until then, decided this week to pay a 1-star tribute, which says:

Damn, it was nice but now there’s a bug.


Let’s imagine what a new user would see, who does not know CalJ (yes, there are still some), or who was recently saved from the Blackberry to enter Apple’s paradise (or hell, you decide). He falls on CalJ by chance, or by recommendation, and sees:

Since the last update today, impossible to open the application. (Nov. 17, 2016)

(Knowing that the previous comment, saying that the app is wonderful, dates July 2014… and virtually nothing in between.)

Yes, that’s unfortunately how the users comment (this means you).

The worst, perhaps, is that Apple (unlike Google) does not leave the developer (this means me) an opportunity to recontact the culprit. The anonymous ticket will remain forever on the wall of the app, even though the said bug was corrected during the very same day. And the person who made the comment may have stopped using CalJ for life (or maybe not! maybe he’s back to a normal and happy life with my app inside), and I have no way of telling him “Hey, Anonymous, try again now? (and eventually withdraw your rotten review?”.


Of course, I will continue to program CalJ, and to enjoy it, and to publish new updates, as long as Hashem grants me health and time (and some money because it is not free to purchase an iOS Developer licence and the proper hardware).

But, sometimes, I find it depressing…

(Now, if after reading all this, you don’t feel like rusing in the AppStore and post a nice review, really, please, suppress your own iTunes account! 😛)

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