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Developing a mobile product requires planning...

Especially when it involves an API. If you change business logic, upgrade the API, or change the database structure, you're going to have to worry about breaking installations that depend on an older version of the API. Even if you track and maintain multiple versions of your API, you're going to have to manage the translation for each version that is still supported. If you are not careful, you will end up with a broken app and an unhappy user. Its extremely unprofessional, it looks terrible to investors, and your startup will lose some of its integrity in the process.


Obviously, this is all avoidable. There are several clever tricks that can be employed to ensure your users don't get slapped with an ugly error message or a system crash. You can program your app to send its expected API version (the API that existed when it was built) to the API on each request. If by chance, your developers create a breaking change, you can update your API to respond with a message informing the app that there has been a breaking change. Your app can respond to this message and ask the user to update. Its somewhat annoying, but much more professional. If your engineers are decent programmers, they will minimize this occurrence, but probably not prevent it 100%.

With that said, Apple has released a new fantastic feature to fill the gap and improve user experience. Instead of annoying your users or (for those with bad planning) breaking the app, Apple will automatically update your application. iOS7 users will get asked if they want to enable automatic updates as soon as they open the app store. This means that your chances of losing a customer is greatly reduced, deployments are easier, and new features will be discovered faster. It's pretty much the best thing that could happen for startups because we all know startups have an amazing ability to change gears on a daily basis.
They are inherently flexible and iterate their product extremely fast, and now... Apple is helping them do it better.

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