Should the App Catalog be purged? [from the forums] | webOS Nation

Should the App Catalog be purged? [from the forums] 19

by Derek Kessler Thu, 13 Dec 2012 7:24 pm EST

Should the App Catalog be purged? [from the forums]

RumoredNow brings up an interesting question in the webOS Nation Forums: should HP purge the App Catalog of dead and broken apps? It's been over a year since HP killed webOS hardware development and sent the webOS app development community into panic and disarray. Considering the questionable future of webOS, developers have understandably become less enthusiastic about webOS as a whole (our favorite mobile operating system doesn't even factor into polls of developer enthusiasm anymore). The result is that despite there being thousands of apps available for webOS smartphones and tablets, and new and updated apps joining the App Catalog on a regular basis, there are a good many apps that have been abandoned by their developers.

For some apps, abandonment isn't the end of the world. For example, a unit converter app will continue to work no matter what happens on the internet, as it doesn't need to tie into a web service in order to support converting ounces into kilograms (currency conversion is another story, admittedly). But a Twitter app, that's an app that needs regular updating to keep up with changes to Twitter's API, lest the app be irrevocably broken and leave a slew of frustrated and disappointed users in its wake.

These broken apps are littered throughout the App Catalog, and to be fair the webOS App Catalog is not the only app store that has this problem. It's just exacerbated on webOS given the state of the platform and the subsequent drought of new apps to replace the abandoned ones.

Spitballing in the forums, RumoredNow proposes that HP enable a purging of the App Catalog of these defunct apps. The problem is, how to do it? Are app developers given the opportunity to tag their apps as still good, and if not they're dumped? Or do you put the onus on the users, who upon finding an out-of-date app tag it themselves for review and potential removal?

And is purging, pruning, or cleaning up the App Catalog something that needs to happen? The current state of the App Catalog isn't what's holding back new app development - it's the state of the platform. webOS users by now should be aware of the boat their in and be prudent when exploring the legions of old apps in the App Catalog. Is there a tangible benefit to purging the App Catalog, a process that could, depending on how pursued, dramatically reduce the number of available apps?

And what about the App Catalog going forward? If we assume that HP's going to provide App Catalog services to some third party someday, should that App Catalog include all of the apps currently in the Catalog, or should HP start over without the baggage of the TouchPad weighing on the future of webOS app distribution? All important and intriguing questions, ready for your thoughts in the webOS Nation Forums.


I'd leave it. Most of us know some apps don't work. If a developer is pulling out shouldn't they be responcible for a notice on their app in the catalog?

they may come back if the market were to pick up open webOS ...for the present it functions as a place card ..

The biggest problem with leaving the broken apps in the App Catalog is this:
If someone buys a broken app, they're screwed. No recourse, no refunds, and a seriously bad impression of the platform and its development community.
Like Derek says, this is only exacerbated by time, abandonment, and a dire lack of new applications to take their place. In some quasi-niche categories, there's only one app representing the group.
That alone should necessitate some sort of strategy to purge non-working applications, even if that purge is isolated to paid apps only.

Only problem is: is it legit? I mean, I also had found a Twitter app in the App Catalogue where about 7 users reported that DM's weren't working anymore but after installing it DM's were working just fine for me.
So how does one tell it's a legit tag?

The platform is dead (maybe it will come back at some point, deep down I still hope...)

Users should be able to tell by the reviews of the app whether or not it is worth getting or works at all. If they lose a few bucks so be it.

I've "lost" ton of money buying webos apps/games(probably 60+) that turned out to be, (politely) not useful(many got less than 5 minutes of usage). Part of it was trying to do my part in supporting the platform. The risk of getting an app that isn't up to your expectations was always there, the fact that it doesn't work at all - isn't much more of a factor (I've seen many reviews in the past by supported apps where people said it didn't work at all).

Outside of the built in stuff I'm basically down to one app that I use on a regular basis and that is the "WebOS news" (ironically enough) app on the touchpad (I believe it was free). Mainly to browse through "mobile nations" headlines and see what the other platforms are up to.

Even the homebrew community seems dead - well at least the stuff available through the stable feeds of preware anyway, hardly anything new there. I don't think I've bought something from the HP app catalog since January.

Based on the general complaints I've heard about WebOS having an extra 2 or 3 users upset by purchasing an app that was abandoned seems trivial by comparison at this point, not really worth spending time on.

sad times.

Yep u nailed it.

I think a new app catalogue for OWO should be created with the current one with many Mojo apps kept separate. That should allow devs working on new apps or still supporting current Enyo apps to be able to add to a new catalogue, with the old one kept as a crutch for the current existing devices on webOS 1.x,2.x,3.x

I think if an dev abandons webOS the app should be switched to free and an noticed placed it no longer supported. At least this way users can still DL and try, and dev can still check stats for interest etc and allow future come back.

I also think there should be new clean app store for Enyo, seeing its cross platform, maybe allow multiple versions for other platforms or OS , that way HP and devs get more sales, and hopefully webOS more apps.

Ok, so you want customers eventually pay for dysfunctional apps, or perhaps apps that don't work at all? Not everything is free in the App Catalog.

How would buyers ever get their money back, if the app doesn't work? HP doesn't care enough to fix outdated stuff on our devices, how should they care for us users, then?

Purge apps, if they are broken and not free, I'd say.

I agree that the catalog needs to be purged. I think the bigger problem is who is going to do the purging? I doubt that those who are still actively working on the platform have time to go through each and every app in the catalog and declare it working/non-working.

The 'if you build it, they will come' expectations from HP have clearly not materialized. Open webOS is little more than a shell of what made webOS great, and even the hobbyists aren't developing for it. There are no new devices (and I don't count Open webOS on a 2 year old Android phone a 'new' device) and no new audience, so where is the motivation to give webOS even a cursory glance?

Porting efforts are necessary BEFORE there is anything worth developing for...

And don't count out the announced LG/gram collaboration on a smart TV. It may not be a mobile device, but if it is worked right it will draw developers and refresh interest in Open webOS...

I try to browse the app reviews before deciding on buying anything new. At this point I have everything I need and only look for new app anyway.

HP isn't going to do anything. When is the last time they did anything other than what was absolutely necessary to maintain the current webOS devices? If you remove apps then what happens to people who paid for apps and need to redownload them? Besides, I'm sure they would rather have all the apps in there so that they can claim them as apps available if someone decides that they want to utilize webOS in some way.

Huge thanks Derek!!!

Imagine my surprise when I saw that my thread made the front page. :D

To all: please join us on the forum as well to discuss this idea. :)

I think the app catalogfor Open webOS should carry over old apps and have them separate from new ones. Maybe like a section in the new catalog called "Legacy" and then it gives you the apps from webOS 1.x, 2.x, & 3.x

My 2 cents...

I like the idea of keeping the apps available where possible.

Give devs a window to verify their app is still valid.

If dev not available, switch to free.
If app no longer functions, mark as depreciated, switch to free.

However, switching to free without dev consent, may violate dev agreements(I don't know). If so this may require a mod to the agreement with dev having a timeframe to agree to updated terms or have app removed, (or provide source to community)

Great idea (one that was mentioned above by Firepower as well) to make unsupported apps free (once developer has agreed to a revised dev agreement).

i always read the review before downloading an app....webOS uses are very vocal and almost always leave a review...

and i like alot of abandoned apps like Carbon and some others....

what happens if they pull them than you Doctor your device ?????

look at Angry Birds it doesnt redownload for you when you sign back into your profile

But I emailed support and they happily reactivated for me :-)

But good question... Though if my rules are applied, they would hopefully be available, albeit unsupported, unless dev truly chooses to pull them, rather than allow them to be retained (unsupported) for previous purchasers...