The Iowa App Debacle

Developers of Apps have always pushed out their products far from perfect. They rely on feedback from us instead of spending what is required to make it work 100% right out of the box.
Then the Iowa Caucus where perfection is required first day and every day.
Why is everyone so surprised at the disaster?

Well, I have heard some claims that they never tested the app over 1600 or so precincts ahead of time. We are also assuming that this is really the problem. We don’t really know what the problem is… Only what they are saying…


I think the DNC is screwing Burnie again. Russian collusion? Ukraine interference?

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Best analogy I heard in regards to this was the space shuttle software. Obviously, you can’t “dog food” and test the software running the space shuttle in live scenarios, right! In that case, the software has to be perfect. Space Shuttle software also has a limited scope and function - operate the shuttle.

This app was the same. It had a limited scope and function and was to serve a small number of users. Similar to space shuttle software, it had to be perfect. It sounds like it wasn’t even tested :frowning:

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This is a sweeping generalisation, but for illustrative purposes I’ll go with it.
Software developers are like artists.
Some go the commercial route and produce work for other people, and others are inspired by an idea and need to make it a reality or simply solve a problem nobody else has found a solution for.

Commercial programmers are most often writing things they have no love for or real understanding of.
They know what objectives they have to complete, and once complete will not want to optimise or refine it.
It is not their project so they don’t care about how well it works unless it affects the wages.
They do not work in the sector where the software will be used, so have no idea when it is fit for purpose.

What we end up with is a painful and long process of going back and forth getting it hammered into shape, or convincing the client they simply have to learn this new creative way you have invented for doing something you barely understand.

This is why many commissioned apps seem to be made mainly with loads of off the shelf libraries.
“We have a deadline and close enough is good enough”

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I’m not going to make any excuses for anyone, but I have to say they should have live tested it with a fake mini election in advance (a trial run.)

I was led to understand they didn’t want to reveal their hand in advance (some misguided security through obscurity.) If you can’t have real users start using and testing it in advance, there is no way you’ll get a good test. Load testing is not like other testing, things break when software is stressed in parallel, whereas unit and functional testing is very frequently mostly sequential.


Was the app translated from Russian???:joy::joy: