Thanks so much for the responses.
10 PM on a Sunday!? Are you busting the overtime budget along with the
workaholics in the CA team?
Anyway, could you or Maryana say how many devs are and are planned for on
Also, are there product roadmaps for Android, iOS and Mobile Web that are
On Feb 15, 2015 10:22 PM, "Dan Garry" <dgarry(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
Thanks for the questions. Sorry for my delay in responding, I've only just
reached this point in my email backlog again (at 10pm on a Sunday, no
less). My responses are in-line.
On 5 February 2015 at 17:18, Pine W <wiki.pine(a)gmail.com> wrote:
* What is the thinking behind having mobile apps instead of focusing
resources 100% on mobile web?
I think that's the wrong way of framing the question.
Most companies with a mobile presence heavily prefer people to use their
app instead of their mobile website. There are many reasons, such as:
- *Responsiveness*: Apps are much easier to create compelling user
experiences in than websites due to having native access to the hardware of
the device, allowing for things like swipe gestures and parallax scrolling.
- *Notifications*: Local and push notifications are powerful tools for
driving repeat engagement, and that's what website developers care about!
- *Reduced startup cost*: The user opens the app, and their login
persists infinitely and easily and it can take them right back to where
they were. This saves the user time.
- *Monetisation*: Apps are easier to make money out of, because the
user's payment credentials are often already saved so it reduces the user's
overhead to spend.
Some of these don't really apply to us; we're a non-profit, so maybe we're
not interested in monetisation. But many othes, like responsiveness, do
apply to us, but we're not really leveraging them right now.That's simply
because we're entering really late into the mobile apps field, and our app
isn't developed enough as a product for things like notifications to make
total sense yet. But, notably, our app was also not very responsive at
first, and now with lead images that responsiveness is increased... and our
latest alpha build offers an even more compelling experience than that.
We're making progress. :-)
Then there are other factors which are particularly true for us, such as
development speed: app development is a lot faster and easier than
developing on the MediaWiki technology stack due to their self-contained
nature. This lets us do readership experiments (like lead images) and learn
much faster than we could on mobile web. And because the app has much
smaller readership, making changes like this is nowhere near as disruptive
as it would be if we did it on desktop or mobile web.
So, in short, apps can do things that are practically impossible on mobile
websites, and we want to leverage that. Mobile is very important for us.
Both mobile web, and mobile apps. They serve different needs right now,
both to us as an engineering organisation and also to our users (e.g. quick
lookup on mobile web, and long reading on mobile apps).
* I believe that Damon said something about
needing more mobile devs
shortly after he was first hired. Is that still planned?
Yes! We had 2 engineers on Android and (approximately) 1.5 on iOS just
over a month ago. Now we've had an internal transfer as well as hiring two
more engineers, bringing us to 4 on iOS and 2 on Android. We're also hiring
two more engineers to level out the platform inequality, and we're hoping
to have them within a few months. That'll bring us to 4 iOS and 4 Android.
Hopefully that answers your questions. I'm happy to answer any more that
you might have!
Associate Product Manager, Mobile Apps