Here’s something new that I played a small role in: Backchannel. Backchannel provides an open source SDK for iOS developers to include in the beta versions of their apps. It allows beta testers and developers to communicate with each other in simple message channels, right there in the app itself. No extra app to install.

The way beta testing usually works is nothing at all like a community: bug reports from users come in, release notes from developers go out, and that’s it. With Backchannel, it’s easy to create a community where beta testers and developers can share and discuss ideas with everyone involved. Here’s one example of Backchannel’s cleverness (and an advantage to being built-into the app itself): it can detect when users have just taken a screenshot of the app, and prompt them to post it to the feedback channel with the image already attached to the post.

If you’re an iOS developer, you should check it out. I think it’s a great idea, and there’s nothing else like it.

Full disclosure: Backchannel is largely the work of my friend Soroush Khanlou (formerly of Genius). I’m an advisor, along with Dave Wiskus.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015