Why Doesn't Apple License StackOverflow's Forum Software?

June 25, 2013

The hardest thing about doing iOS 7 development is asking questions and getting assistance. You can't ask Apple without using up your few support questions or spending tons of money. So you ask fellow developers to see if anyone has an answer.

Apple's Developer Forum software is a pathetic piece of crap.

I spend a lot of time on stackoverflow.com both asking and answering questions, and the system itself is so much fun to be on. Yet I shudder whenever I visit Apple's forum.

You can't find anything. The search seems slow and returns inconsistent results. The back button doesn't work as every page is loaded via AJAX and history is not updated. There are no categories or tagging whatsoever; all articles wind up in long lists under a few Apple-designated titles. Comments are only threaded via urls, in the list everything is linear. You pretty much have to scan every day and hope you see something in a title that might be helpful.

It's like going back to the BBS days. How can a technology giant like Apple use such a crude and un-functional forum software that AOL might have rejected? Maybe they resurrected some long lost code from eWorld?

Now compare it to stackoverflow and there is no comparison. If we as developers had a version of that inside of the the Apple developer site, we might be able to take advantage of all that cool new stuff without losing yet more hair. Sure, Apple is not much for using stuff invented elsewhere, but I am sure stackoverflow would be happy to license it for a reasonable fee that even the (currently) world's second most valuable company could afford.

If I tried real mightily, I don't think I could code something less useful. But why code when you can license?