Welcome to RoaringApps

02 Jun, 2013

After many failed attempts and a lot of hard work, I'm proud to present the latest iteration of RoaringApps - version 2.0.

RoaringApps started life back in October 2010, when I decided to try and make a better version of the Snow Leopard compatibility wiki that just about crashed Wikidot's servers when OS X 10.6 was released. My knowledge of developing for the web was limited to Wikidot, and I was excited to make use of their latest feature, data forms (which still remain an incredibly powerful tool for collecting collaborative information).

While I had always hoped the site would take off, I could never have imagined it would receive so much traffic. Thanks to coverage from various Apple news sites, RoaringApps became the go-to resource for application compatibility information for OS X. And behind all of this, the wonderful people at Wikidot were working hard to ensure that the site could cope with such demand. I am, and always will be, incredibly grateful for the tireless work put in by the Wikidot team.

As the list of applications in the RoaringApps database grew, and eager OS X users began sharing their experiences, one problem became apparent - the experiences of one do not represent the experiences of the population. An app might work perfectly fine for one person, but fail to launch for another. And so I began thinking of ways in which individual reports could be collated to create a bigger-picture result. To achieve this, I decided I would have to leave the comfort of Wikidot and venture further into the world of the web to find a platform that could make collecting and analysing such data as easy as possible.

Eventually I came across Firebase, a hosted backend that would mean I wouldn't have to worry too much about managing servers for the spike in traffic on release day - I'd much rather leave that to the experts. Firebase comes with the added advantage of being real-time, allowing me to develop some pretty cool new features, like being able to watch statuses change live from the compatibility table.

I'm excited to release the new version of RoaringApps, and look forward to sharing some more information about the technology behind it. There's still a whole lot of work that needs doing, but I'm happy enough with where the site is at to put it in an 'open beta' and start collecting feedback. If you come across any bugs, or have an ideas or questions, use the feedback link at the top of any page to get in touch.

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