We were super excited about the release of Home Inventory version 2.3 and the Home Inventory Photo Remote app earlier this week. Internal testing of both apps went smoothly and we had a great response from customers who tested pre-release builds of Home Inventory. Unfortunately, we did not test things thoroughly enough.
Many customers experienced a problem the Home Inventory Photo Remote app that resulted in it returning to the inventory browser screen after adding a photo instead of going back to the item list as it should. Originally, we were unable to reproduce this problem internally on any of our iPhones and iPod Touches and all of the users that reported the problem found it was fixed after powering off their iPhones/iPod Touches and powering them back on again. Externally, it appeared the be a network-related issue, but we were puzzled as to why a reboot of the phone seemed to fix the problem. There does seem to be a lot of reported issues with Wi-Fi and iOS 4.2.1, so we were willing to chalk it up to being a side effect of those problems. That is until I got my hands on my neighbor’s new Verizon iPhone 4.
When I downloaded the Photo Remote app and played around with it, sure enough, I ran into the exact same issue that others have been reporting. A reboot also fixed the problem. The real cause of the problem clicked when my neighbor excitedly showed me all the apps he had on his new iPhone: the Tosh.0 app, Angry Birds, and various other audio and video-related apps. It didn’t take long to realize that after running all of those apps his iPhone was probably periodically sending out low memory warnings to whatever was running. When I opened a bunch of apps on my own iPhone and the launched Home Inventory Photo Remote, I ran smack into the problem. It turned out we weren’t handling the low memory warning properly under certain conditions and rebooting the phone stopped all the background apps, thus freeing up memory.
We fixed that problem, as well as another issue that resulted in a crash. We’ve also added the ability to create new categories, locations, and collections directly from the new item screen. I just submitted the update to the App Store and it will be available once it makes its way through the review process.
On the Mac front, an eagle-eyed user also discovered a bug in Home Inventory 2.3 just minutes after it was released (thanks Damien!). It fell into that minor, but really annoying category. Nothing severe that would result in data loss and in fact, something that has been in Home Inventory for a while but never reported before. The problem was simple to fix and I had an update out a short time later.
Unfortunately, my eagerness to fix the problem and quickly turn around a fix resulted in another, even more minor bug that I ran across this morning. It isn’t anything serious and I doubt anyone will even notice. But, I have been doing this long enough to know better than to push out an update (even one as small as this was) without more thorough regression testing. We have a fix in hand for this but are going to go through the full regression test suite before we release it. If all goes well, it will be available sometime late in the day on Monday. This means we will also have to re-submit version 2.3 (actually, it will be 2.3.1) to the Mac App Store.
Bugs are an unpleasant part of the reality of software development, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try to do your best all the time. We did not do our best this time and for that, I apologize. To make sure this does not happen again, we are making some changes to our QA process and putting a more stringent policy in place for releasing updates.
I also want to thank all of those who took the time to write in with their thoughts on the Photo Remote app as well as releasing a full-up iPhone version of Home Inventory. I will be back in touch with you soon.