IT Wish List For Software Developers

Contributor III

I’ve caught the ear of the CEO of a software developer because I sent off a letter of complaint in regard to changes they made to their web site. There is now virtually no support area.

They now require login to access downloads, but only those downloads that have been purchased by each client will be available when logged in. This means that I would have to maintain a bunch of logins for my various clients just to access any downloads. Or repeatedly request a trial, which sucks because I frequently need to access downloads during off hours such as weekends, holidays and the middle of the night.

The entirety of the support area amounts to a form to submit a ticket. They also removed all knowledge base articles. It’s all vanished. Bye bye. Send a message to support and wait for a reply.

Their “enterprise” client-server product also requires IT to touch each device to enter a serial number, etc.

The one thing they are doing right is I can just throw their .pkg files into a distribution point without having to use Composer.

Now that I’ve got the ear of this CEO, now’s a good time to provide some constructive feedback from the perspective of those of us in IT. If we don’t like the support area of a web site, or if distribution is difficult, we’re going to recommend against such a product. I thought it would be good to compile a list of likes and dislikes from the point of vew of those of us in IT.

Please add your 72¢.

My list:

  1. Downloads should be easy to access.
  2. Access to an archive area would also be nice, within reason of course. I wouldn’t care about access to 10 year old software. But software that’s only 2-3 years old should be available, as not everyone can be in a place where they can regurlarly upgrade.
  3. We need for downloads to be accesible so automation utilities such as AutoPKG can work.
  4. Distribution should be easy, especially for a product aimed at enterprise. We should not have to touch every device.
  5. A robust support area, including knowledge base articles.
  6. Use flat packages and not .apps like Java now does. Don't include ad-ware or crap-ware.

Any more things to add?


Contributor II

Sounds like a good list to me

Legendary Contributor III

Yeah, good list. Especially #s 4 & 6. Vendors putting out non enterprise deployable software is very hard to get around and wastes hours and hours of our time to get their silly product out to users. They should know that we look at other competitors products as alternatives when they put out software like that. They immediately get put on a short list of products to get replaced if and when possible. That usually gets their attention.

Valued Contributor III

As long as they deliver straght .pkg or drag and drop .dmg installations and don't require a login to download I'm basically happy.
Oh and NEVER require a login to get read access to your support area!!!

Contributor III

Thank you for the replies. Glad we're keeping it civil. I'll probably direct them to this thread. ;-)

Valued Contributor II

You pretty much nailed it.

Adobe really screwed the pooch with the way they manage access to the CC apps... many of the CC portal stuff is related to people who BUY the software, which is completely different than the people who must PACKAGE and DEPLOY the software...

Honored Contributor

If we're talking iOS apps, for the love of god utilize managed configuration.

If there's any need to setup a server URL or any kind of typing in of settings in your iOS app, use managed configuration so MDM can push it versus relying on a human fat fingering a URL setting that's 15 miles long.

Contributor II

Oooo good call @jarednichols, that would indeed be super helpful. And good documentation for how to utilize it as well would be nice

Honored Contributor

Honored Contributor

Annoyances #1 for me is "Lowest bidder" overseas outsourcing of tech support. I don't have any problems with the people of foreign countries, but there is a very real language barrier especially with highly technical things like what we deal with on a daily basis. The sad truth is that these people are hired for pennies on the dollar to what on-shore support would demand and they are given a very rudimentary training to read a scripted flowchart. If it ain't on the flowchart, the call basically ends in an infinite loop of "Did you restart the computer?" "yes" "did that fix it?" "no" "did you restart the computer?" If you're lucky and are able to get escalated to the next level of support, many times the only real difference is that they ask a couple more questions from their script. I recently had to go through 5 different levels of support over the course of 2 weeks, dealing with very thick accents and very low technical ability before I was escalated to someone who spoke English clearly and understood very clearly the issues at hand. It took 5 minutes with that person to determine it was a bug in the software that the engineers have to fix. He then walked me through generating debug logs and system configuration to send to their engineers. We're Enterprise level IT professionals. We aren't Grandma trying to figure out how her "AOLs aren't sending the email to her grandkids". Yes, we've restarted our computers. Here are the exact error messages we receive 100% of the time on 100% of the computers we use the software on. And here are the exact steps we took to reproduce the problem. Do not ask me if I've restarted the computer after I just told you we did that 5 seconds ago. Now some of this can be eliminated with a very well built support site that is easy to navigate and search and doesn't change every other month (I'm looking at you HP), but there are times when there is no other option but to call tech support. I used to work tech support at a major software company many years ago and I know there are good techs and there are bad techs, but the company policies and training are what truly define the experience users get.

Not applicable

I think that Adobe has (for once) gotten it right with their Flash distribution of the past few years: wrap the software up in the typical crapware installer for Joe End User, but get an admin to agree to a license and suddenly have access (legitimately) to .pkg installers on a non-login site (distribution3). Adobe has a long way to go to make their other products this admin-friendly, but Flash shows that they can do it.

I'm also happy when I see a paragraph or link for release notes on the same page as a new software release.

Honored Contributor
I think that Adobe has (for once) gotten it right with their Flash distribution of the past few years: wrap the software up in the typical crapware installer for Joe End User, but get an admin to agree to a license and suddenly have access (legitimately) to .pkg installers on a non-login site (distribution3)

Or they could, you know, abandon the crapware all together... Weird thought, I know.

In thinking of another item, I guess the theme would be, "Do products for Apple platforms like you should or GTFO." Don't do a half-assed port of your Windows version, don't create something that's reliant upon something that's deprecated in the OS and there's a better way to do it. Patch your product some time this century. Keep your support pages up to date. No, I'm not paying any mind to that article that says it's for 10.4.

Can't commit the resources to make a quality product and support said product? GTFO.

Honored Contributor II
Honored Contributor II

Biggest one for me is installers following Apple's guidelines and that don't need re-packaging.

Custom .app installers, funky scripts and other "Sophos or Adobe-like" practices are a real PITA.

The only other point that I am getting steadily more nervous about is 10.11 and SIP. There are a bunch of software titles that I know will not run on 10.11. Goes back to following Apple's guidelines for OS X really but so many vendors don't seem to listen.