an interview with the founder of Instapaper, Marco Arment. In this post on ReadWriteHack, we look at Arment's product development philosophy. And he knows what he's talking about. Instapaper, a cross-platform app that saves web pages for reading later, is the second popular web service that Marco Arment has developed. He was co-founder and lead developer of Tumblr, the leading light blogging service.Yesterday we published
As a developer of web applications, Marco Arment is the kind of guy who builds things fast, gets it out there and iterates quickly. I asked him: is that pretty much his philosophy, or is there more to it?
Arment replied that there are two different approaches he takes. For his browser-based web apps, he said, "the features are very, very simple. At least, they end up being very simple once I've handed them out. And so the web apps are intentionally kept very basic."
But for the iPhone and Kindle platform devices that Instapaper has, in addition to the web site, they are "much more complicated."
Arment told us that he has to do a conservative release cycle with these apps. "Especially with the App Store's approval process," he said, "I have to do a much more conservative release cycle on that."
If Instapaper has to issue a bug in a release on the iPhone, he told us, he typically has to wait 10 days before the fix is approved and pushed out.
"That process has gotten better over time, by a lot actually. Much better than the way it used to be. But, there's still a delay there. And so I have to be very, very careful that I don't ship bugs to customers in the iPhone app. I'm much more conservative, the release cycle is much longer and there's much more testing involved before I release. I'm generally very conservative about it."
Arment concluded by noting that "on the [Instapaper] web site, I'll just do something very quickly and throw it out there and see what happens. Then adjust it and iterate until it's ready."
Let us know your thoughts on product development for web apps - browser-based or native apps - in the comments.
Photo credit: Lucius Kwok