Rutherford explains that older versions of the app can create new opportunities for bugs, which need to be investigated to “ensure we’re not creating new bugs or making the app crash [for end users with older versions of the app].”
“From a project standpoint, there’s a lot more investigation, and identifying risks introduced to codebase, because we have so many version types.”
He explains, while enterprise users whose IT departments use mobile device management (MDM) systems that can force a version update, for many individual users, they may choose to stay on an old version of the app indefinitely. “How do we lend a hand to those who haven’t upgraded? Solving bugs for them, not introducing crashes.”
The Key Takeaway for Android Users
Application development for Android engineers is a different process than the more straightforward process with iOS (the latter that enjoys the benefits of a more guarded, proprietary OS).
However, that’s not to say the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
For Nick Rutherford, he likes open systems philosophically. He explains that, regardless of OS, app developers can’t get around the issue of having bugs entirely; bugs (and squashing them) will always be a part of developing software. And with that, he explains, “you need collaboration and in an open project/open ecosystem, the more collaboration, the better [the software].”
For end users, while there may be interactions that are unique to Android, as the largest operating system, there are also plenty more developers in the industry specifically adding contributions to improve the operating system—and from an app development standpoint, there are highly skilled teams of engineers meeting you at whichever level you’re at, and working to ensure there's backward compatibility (which is more than we can assuredly say of Apple from an ideological standpoint).