Beersmith slow on android


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Feb 18, 2013
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I have a Samsung Galaxy SIII and the beer smith app is slow on my device.  I usually go in the ingredient reference for checking hops and malt description.  After looking at either one or two descriptions, the apps start to be really slow.  It's even slower when using the search option.

Is it a known issue or I'm the only one with the slow issue?
I really don't know what might be causing the issue.  I personally have found some strange behavior on my Android tablet - it seems to be sluggish in general when I first restart it, but seems to pick up speed after I've used it for a while.  I'm not sure if the OS is running updates or network activity in the background.  However in my case it seems to be across all apps, not just BeerSmith.

I will say that the BeerSmith app is running cross platform and is not a native android app - so it is not as quick as a native app might be.  However, this was the only way I could feasibly develop as I'm a one person business (I do all the coding) and did not want to try to develop native apps for as many as four different major mobile systems.

BeerSmith said:
I will say that the BeerSmith app is running cross platform and is not a native android app - so it is not as quick as a native app might be.  However, this was the only way I could feasibly develop as I'm a one person business (I do all the coding) and did not want to try to develop native apps for as many as four different major mobile systems.


As Facebook learned: a questionable (at best) decision.  As you may know, facebook tried to unify their mobile platforms using HTML5.  The experience was clunky, buggy, and slow---negative reviews were rampant.  Ultimately, they completely rewrote the apps for each platform to be 100% native.  Why, when Facebook users are essentially a captive audience?  Why would anyone in a niche market, with just a handful (by any objective standard) of users who have other options, think that they can afford to provide a substandard experience simply because they don't have the resources to do the job properly? 

Without the finances to hire the staff with the appropriate skills, and give each platform the attention it deserves you are seriously running the risk of alienating everyone.  I will not PAY for a sub-standard experience, simply because you don't have the resources to do the job right.  Your business plan is not MY problem.  I refuse to PAY  YOU to treat me (the collective "me" meaning the customer) as a second class, just a revenue stream.

You clearly don't have the resources to support all apps on all platforms.  But, you just keep spreading yourself thinner and thinner---with the expectation that we will all just stay around and put up with the various bugs and lack of attention.  As near as I can tell the desktop program (which is the software that drives this ship) hasn't been updated in just over a year (build 65 came out 16 April 2012).  I'm sorry, Brad, but that is an abysmal development cycle for your FLAGSHIP product.  These satellite revenue streams mean nothing without the use base OF THE DESKTOP APP. 

Your cloud server may actually make you more money that desktop app sales (because of the subscription nature), but its meaningless to me, when I migrate to another app.  Making money in the mobile space is crazy hard.  VERY few do.  The ones who do have massive market appeal, with millions of downloads from the store.  Beersmith is NEVER going to have that kind of draw. So, its not going to be a revenue stream on its own.  Its just another "feature" to draw users to the desktop app, and the cloud server.  As with the could server, the mobile app is useless by itself---it relies on the usage of the desktop app.

Beersmith Desktop gets considerable negative "press" on other  forums.  Heck it gets some negative press on THIS forum---which is generally viewed as heavily biased, and occasionally accused of being simply blind to the issues that BS has.  BS2 is mostly the lesser of the evils, though. 

I've said this before, and you didn't respond then.  Others have had similar comments---which you similarly do not acknowledge.  I'll say it again, and I expect the same reaction (silence).  Beersmith is in the precarious position of being just barely better than all the other apps.  Its not great, it is simply tolerably buggy.  All someone has to do is come out with an actually GOOD (not even great...just good) app, with a similar feature set...and BS2 is toast.  It's that simple. 

I've spent years and years using the app (v1.4 and v2).  I started with v1.4 circa 2004 (more or less).  I post on this forum more than almost anyone else---explaining BS2 quirks, bugs, and workarounds (in addition to basic brewing questions).  I created the definitive list of BS2 BeerXML tags by reviewing your source code.  I've reported numerous bugs with the desktop app.  Many of them well over a year old (some more than 2).  Quite frankly, with all that personal investment in patience for the issues, and the clear lack of attention (and quite frankly open dialog on this situation) is wearing quite thin.  If I found a competing app that had the one or two features that keep me using BS2 but without the bugs or, at least, a more attentive developer, I'd switch.

You would be much better served by opening a dialog with the community regarding the next BS2 update.  Put up a straw man list of fixes and enhancements and let the community participate in the release planning. 
Thanks Tom,
  I appreciate the feedback. I admit to being stretched thin - but the demand for a mobile app from BeerSmith users has been strong.  Brewers have consistently said they want to have their data accessible from all of their devices, be able to brew from their phone, etc... so I've done my best to deliver that.

    I felt building the cloud was the best way to both give the community a resource to share recipes and also provide a single data source for being able to integrate the mobile and desktop versions.  Unfortunately as you point out it took a long time to develop the cloud service and integrate it with the desktop.  However we now have some 74,000 recipes online with 6,800 fully searchable and easy to download.  Those are available fore free.

Despite popular opinion, the cloud is not actually much of a money maker - most months it breaks even.  It has relatively few paid subscribers and it is expensive to run due to the high traffic volume (dedicated servers are required due to literally hundreds of thousands of transactions per month).  I've been toying with other ways to finance or eat the cost - so I can offer more storage to a wider base of users.  I upgraded my servers in December to help make this possible.  My hope is to move in that direction in the future.

  Perhaps the mobile app platform is not perfect in terms of performance, but the full app does have a large amount of functionality and the tight integration with the desktop app and cloud make it a nice companion for brewing and making tweaks to recipes.  As you point out, the app market is also difficult to make money in.  I've received messages laced with four letter words for daring to charge $3.99 or $7.99 for an app, while those same people think nothing of dropping the same amount of money on a pint or coffee at starbucks. 

  But (yes hold on to your seat) - it is not all about making money.  Believe it or not I spend a few days each week working on free stuff - such as the podcast, blog, various web sites, giving free copies and stuff to just about any brewing group that asks, speaking, etc...  I do this because I think giving back to the brewing community is as important as making a living.

  Far from abandoning the desktop version, I have been thinking long and hard about where to go next with it.  I do have a long list of updates for the BeerSmith desktop version that I've started to implement.  In addition I'm just starting to form a team to take a close look at the interface to suggest ways it could be simplified to remove redundancy and improve ease of use as well as functionality.  If you would like to be a part of that team, I think that would be great.  Just drop me an email.

  So yes - updates to the data (ingredients and profiles) followed by updates to BeerSmith desktop are next on my agenda.  I'll be working that full time - likely for the entire summer to publish a series of updates.


I'm glad you replied.  I do understand the constraints.  That was the basis of my concerns.  You have done a remarkable job "for a one man show".  But, the marketplace isn't forgiving any longer of the "one man show" excuse.  You are almost invariably better served by doing ONE thing really, really well.  I probably would have voted for licensing the cloud interface to a dedicated mobile developer and just suck off royalties per sale (pure, low risk, profit for you; better product for the user base)....then the trick is picking the licensee very, very carefully.  The entire brand is predicated on the sucess of the Desktop App.  The whole product line collapses if it isn't at the top of the foodchain. 

I also appreciate the efforts that you do to give back to the community (podcasts, blog posts, talks at conferences, etc).  I sometimes think these run a little light on substance, and think that...again...your core product would be better served by a more focused approach.  There are quite a few experts out there who do nothing but provide blog posts, and podcasts...and cover the topics in more depth.  However, it is certainly a balancing act establishing a public presence.

I'd be happy to participate in a the planning team for the future release.  I'd much rather help make it better, than jump ship.  Beersmith has certainly made me a better brewer over the last 9 years.  If I can now return the favor, I'm all in. 

In real life, I spent 15 years writing software, and now architect large aircraft based software systems.  So, I have a modicum of on-point experience.  I'd already started to cull through the bugs and suggestions forums for some of the more significant hot button issues. 

I'll drop you an email.

In 2 years phones will run full on Windows and OS. The people alienated from the core version might not come back.

In 2 years phones will run full on Windows and OS. The people alienated from the core version might not come back.

I know many people are saying phones will replace the desktop, some of us old timers will always rely on desktops. I too develop software for a living (funny how software engineers flock to beer) and I personally don't see the desktop as becoming extinct for a very long time. You are right about the core version though. This was the bread and butter and you want to really keep that crowd satiated. They will buy more of your products that way. I plan all my brews on a desktop and once I get to the point where I am brewing, I want the portable to connect.
I wasn't saying extinct. I was saying why bother (hindsight) spending a year on an app, when the desktop version you have already coded will run on mobile in 2 years time.

I think making Beersmith a collaborative project is a good idea. At least make it possible for users to contribute modules to the core functionality.
Back to the original issue - I am working some potential performance enhancements for Android - they do seem to help on my tablet, so I've sent them out to the beta testers for testing on additional devices.

If the fixes do work across all devices, I will post them as an update shortly.

It is also a little slow on my Nexus 10.

I'd also like to see a Holo theme, to get away from the iOS look.