Vincent Ritter

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Gluon for Micro.blog

An app for both iOS and Android, built on React Native, for Micro.blog.

Gluon is a highly opinionated, but customisable, cross platform app for iOS and Android for Micro.blog.

If you’d like to find out more, please visit the Gluon website. Or keep scrolling to read the development blog.

With Gluon, you can do the following:

* Posting is available for Micro.blog hosted sites only. Posting to third-party blogs is coming soon.

Project posts

Just released build 9 (2020.1) for Gluon. It adds support for post drafts that I teased last week. I’m going to write up about it tomorrow (it’s 02:00 AM here), however the release notes should give you a nice clue. Perhaps a good topic for the next episode of my podcast 😬

I may have written a reporting API for Gluon… 😬

Worked on draft support for Gluon this morning. Will be in the next TestFlight build. Will also add it to Android in the coming weeks.

Here is a preview:

Adding the preliminary blocking and reporting features to Gluon. Hope to have that out on TestFlight tomorrow. Works nicely. The mute list should handle regex too… to be confirmed though.

Regex is fun… especially when you have to deal with Wordpress emoji.

Thank you to everyone writing in about Gluon and your comments. I really appreciate it and I have a plan in place to make it hopefully go through review. It’ll take me a bit longer, but we’ll get there for sure. Hope to have a new TestFlight build out in the coming weeks.

Gluon, an Apple App Store rejection

Last Friday I put in Gluon for review to the App Store. It went into review 30 minutes later. It was pretty great.

I woke up Saturday morning with a message saying that Gluon was rejected. Fair enough… it happens. However, the points they raised were strange to me.

So making a change to the login screen, I resubmitted the update - not knowing that it will also close the open ticket in the Resolution Centre. It went back into review that evening, this time they took 3 - 4 hours to run through the tests.

Again I woke up with a rejection. With one point still being on there, and another found. So I decided to write a longer reply to them with some great examples and background information. I did not submit a new build this time around and waited for Apple to reply.

Sure enough, I got a reply yesterday saying they will call me. Today they did and I spoke to Kelley who, I’m guessing, is/was my reviewer. Nice lady for sure.

However, she only quoted the points and gave me blank responses - which is fair enough, it’s Apple. I know they’re not allowed to comment or talk out of terms, or perhaps show compassion. Which is a huge shame considering what they stand for.

So now I’m sitting here, with tears in my eyes. Cold sweat, shaking, stomach cramp. Crying.

So it is with a very heavy heart to say that Gluon will not make it to the App Store any time soon. There is no wrong doing with the app, it is more on point on what they want me to include in the app. The most unfair thing is that similar apps don’t need to do it apparently. I didn’t mention names, I’m not like that - I was more puzzled and asked questions why this is so (only to get… well… a blank response).

Here is what Apple want me to implement, because the app allows “user-generated content”:

Your app enables the display of user-generated content but does not have the proper precautions in place.

Next Steps

To resolve this issue, please revise your app to implement all of the following precautions:

- Require that users agree to terms (EULA) and these terms must make it clear that there is no tolerance for objectionable content or abusive users
- A method for filtering objectionable content
- A mechanism for users to flag objectionable content
- A mechanism for users to block abusive users
- The developer must act on objectionable content reports within 24 hours by removing the content and ejecting the user who provided the offending content

So, this means I have to build a full backend to facilitate this. And not because these features don’t exist within the Micro.blog API, but because Gluon allows the viewing and generation of this content.

Kelley said I should feedback this to my team so we can come up with a plan. I am only one person!

As you can see, this is an impossible task for me. There is a lot of things I have to incorporate including a full process and backend for doing exactly that. (outside of Micro.blog itself)

This is… insanely unfair, frustrating and heart breaking.

I started Gluon just over a year ago in the hopes to bring something really great to the Micro.blog eco-system. But now, this dream has been stopped. Crushed.

I really don’t know how I feel about it. I poured my heart and soul into Gluon… not to mention many hours/weeks/months/year of work. I created a website in anticipation of the launch. I registered a domain name for the app. I created all the content and screenshots. I did everything right.

I don’t know what the next steps are. I really don’t. I’m full of different emotions, which I’m observing. Writing this post certainly is helping to let me deal with this at the moment.

One more point they flagged up was that I used the “Micro.blog” name within my App name and/or subtitle. Apparently you’re not allowed to use trademarked names. “Tweet*** 5 for Twitter”, “Chi** for Twitter”… I can go on. So I would have to use “Gluon” - but you know… that’s naturally taken.

I get that Apple is protecting the end-user here, I really do… and I do understand. But where I’m sitting, the App Store is not a level playing field - and it’s a huge shame.

… what next you ask?

I really don’t know. I guess I’ll continue to update the TestFlight build as I go.

For Android fans… it’s available and public now in the PlayStore. You can go to the website to find out more.

Shaking a little less.

At least I learned massively from the project so far, I’ll give it that.

For you Apple nerds, I’m sorry.

Looks like I made 435 commits with this version of Gluon. If I include the first version (the one I started with) it’s just under 600 commits in total. 🤯

I just pushed the Gluon codebase to the master branch for the first time! That means a few things 😊 More info soon 😱

Last night I submitted Gluon for App Store review. It went into review roughly 20 minutes after. Loving the turnaround times 😍.

I remember my first ever app, that I submitted, took around 2 weeks.

Currently taking screenshots for the Gluon support page. That’s iOS only for the moment. Will also have to do a set for Android.

Casually working on the Gluon website

Last update to Gluon this year. Slowing down for the holidays. Thank you to everyone for your support.

It’s time everyone, the holiday is close.

As 2019 closes and 2020 is on the horizon I want to give a huge shoutout to every single one of you that has helped on the journey of building Gluon. Anyone that’s been watching, anyone commenting and anyone that’s using Gluon as their client for Micro.blog.

I am truly grateful that there is such a great community! Without you and your support this app would have not gotten where it got to this year.

Saying this, we’ve (together) accomplished much this year and I’m really happy with progress. I tend to take things slow, on purpose. Thank you for sticking with me.

I’ve got one last update that I wanted to get out this year, which is mainly full of little bug fixes. So grab it if you have time.

Gluon is close to being ready, with a few things still left to do:

Whilst iPad support isn’t great at the moment, I’ll work on it during 2020 after I initially release it. I have some ideas.

I’m hoping I can keep working on Gluon for a long time to come and I’m always hearing your requests. I don’t discard them and I write them all down and reply where I can. Gluon is full of things that were requested, so keep it coming.

On that note, I want to say thank you once again and I’ll see you all with more Gluon goodness in the new year… I’ll be blogging about other things though!

Working on a few bug fixes for Gluon this morning and added a push prompt on the Mentions screen:

Currently working on adding Post drafts. It’s kinda already there if you don’t send a post, but want to have a dedicated section at least.

Given the option of adding Direct Messaging to Gluon. Would people go for it? Nothing concrete planned on the little details at the moment (like whom you can DM or other settings that allows you to control it). Just putting out feelers.

Comments welcome 😊