Tuesday, February 17, 2009


While it's been a while since our last post, we have not been resting on our laurels. During this time, we have released new versions of both Xslimmer and Snapshot. We have also released Sketches 1.5, and prepared and uploaded Sketches 1.6 to the iTunes Connect portal. Version 1.6 of Sketches, however, has already been rejected twice. As it happened with the undo icon back in October-November 2008, reviewers have found previously undetected issues in our product.

The first of these rejections was due to the fact the reviewer was confused about two distinct features: image hosting, and Web sharing. We had updated our application description to reflect the fact that sharing your images via twitter or email causes them to be uploaded to a new web hosting service we have developed anew for Sketches, instead of the former third party service we had been using. It was also explained that the reason for this change was to ensure an excellent quality at all times: we are not interested in placing ads on Sketches' image hosting services; we can act promptly on the event of unexpected downtime; and we can grow the service in the future with new features - none of which was possible with the previous offering.

The Web Sharing feature, on the other hand, allows customers to start a tiny Web server running inside Sketches in your iPhone, then download your pictures in PNG, JPG or PDF from your computer.

After activating the Web Server screen (see screenshot below), the reviewer somehow kept waiting for the drawing to be uploaded to our server. This, of course, never happened, and thus our app was rejected.

Picture 1562.png

When the rejection mail came in, I uploaded the same binary again and wrote back to the reviewer:

"Thanks for your feedback. Uploading to our server is only done when exporting to email or twitter.

What you attached as screenshot, is the integrated web server. That is, Sketches has a Web server that allows you to access your drawings from a Mac or PC using a Web browser, in order to export them. To do so, you simply have to connect to the URL address shown in that screen. In your case, if you open Safari, enter "" [IP address changed from original value] in the URL field. You should get something similar to the screenshot I have attached. Then you can press on the file type you want to export, jpeg, png or pdf, under any of the drawings to obtain a local copy.

I hope this clarifies it. Let me know if you need any further explanation."

A week later, the second rejection email was received. This time, the reviewer had found a true issue, totally unrelated to the previous discussion. Sketches Web capture mechanism used two icons that did not adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines "as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5".


The funny thing is that those two icons have been there since the App Store launch back in July 2008.

What's interesting is that Sketches 1.6 is just a small, bugfix release that was submitted shortly after Sketches 1.5 was approved. Sketches 1.5 added some notable new features (such as our own image hosting service, as described above), and it was approved in just 40 hours. Somehow, improving over the existing feature set has triggered more alarms to fire off than creating new functions in the first place.

Anyhow, we talked to Adam Betts and he sent us a new pair of icons in no time. We created a new build and upload it again. 5 days later, we are still waiting for a response.