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#7 - February 2024

A lot has happened since our January edition of the Flight Deck went out. Apple announced they’re begrudgingly providing support for sideloading and 3rd party app stores (only in the EU and with many, many caveats), Google released the first Android 15 developer preview, Apple sold an impressive 200,000 Vision Pros since launch day, and a very small selection of those new Apple Vision Pro owners took to TikTok and Twitter to film themselves being very “cool” while walking down the street or driving their Cybertrucks, which is almost as cool as when Robert Scoble wore his Google Glass in the shower back in 2013.    

Each and every month in the Flight Deck we bring you perspectives on the mobile landscape, discussions of new mobile products and features, technical guides to optimizing your app for performance (and your own peace of mind), and descriptions of any events we might be hosting or new features we might have shipped.  

Read on for this month’s highlights.

Posts we liked

Dirty tricks or small wins: Apple’s new App Store rules

Apple is finally opening up the iPhone to sideloading and alternative app stores.  It remains to be seen how many developers and alternative app stores will choose to go along with Apple’s new rules.  But some developers have responded with criticism about Apple’s new guidelines. Emma Roth dives into a wide range of both somewhat positive and very negative responses.  

New GitHub Copilot research finds 'downward pressure on code quality'In other words, using GitHub Copilot is at least slightly more likely to make your code worse than it is to make it better. Which isn’t to say it’s not a very helpful tool — GitHub has shared studies showing developers who use Copilot ship code 55% faster than those who don’t — but maybe we’re not all on the verge of being replaced by ChatGPT after all.

Micro optimizations in Kotlin, part 3If you’re an Android developer, your performance concerns probably start and stop at a fairly high level. That’s why Romain Guy finds working on large scale libraries like Jetpack Compose fascinating, because he needs to worry about performance not only at a macro level, but also at a micro level. Since parts of the libraries can be invoked frequently even micro-optimizations make a difference. This is a great opportunity to check out not just this post, but the entirety of Romain’s multi-part series.    

The power of self-sufficient features

Tjeerd in 't Veen sets out to explore features that are capable of functioning independently, handling their tasks autonomously with no need to be micromanaged by some parent or ancestor. Self-sufficient features can be powerful, and they don’t always have to create more work for you. We have to build the loading functionality anyway, so why not put it near the feature instead of in a parent further up the hierarchy?

Android app update prompts using the Google Play Console

Even though many users have automatic updates enabled, new app releases often see slow adoption. This means there’s a delay for users in getting additional value from their apps and also that urgent fix releases can end up being installed in a not-particularly-urgent manner. To improve things, Google recently announced a new way to prompt users to update their apps. Joe Birch takes a look at how this works.

Posts we wrote

Mobile infrastructure needs to be more than an afterthought

Often, an org’s leadership – engineering and non-eng alike – have no direct experience with mobile. For many such leaders, mobile engineers are like magical mobile whisperers who can handle issues that arise with all the many operating systems and frameworks and devices that the leaders themselves do not understand. This often leads to mobile engineers becoming their own infrastructure team. This is not good. Not because they’re not good at it, but because they shouldn’t have to be good at it.  

An introduction to passkeys: what they are, and how they work

Bruno Rocha takes a comprehensive look at passkeys, why companies like Apple and Google are adding support for them, and how they work under the hood. Passkeys have enormous benefits over traditional passwords and 2FA, but does that mean you should convert your own accounts to use passkeys and add support for them in your apps?

Alternate app stores and sideloading coming to iOS in the EU

Apple made this announcement roughly 45 minutes after we sent out the January edition of the Flight Deck. Have questions about the changes? Wondering what Runway is doing in response? Think the initial noise was all much ado about nothing and no one is going to stray far from Apple’s own ecosystem? Read on for our thoughts.    

Runway featured feature

Did you know that Runway delivers a release summary via email at the end of each release cycle? And that you can configure exactly who receives this summary, as well as customize both the default email summary template and individual summaries for specific releases right up until the moment a release has gone live?  


The default release summary includes stats like number of work items completed, number of contributors, release duration, and more. You can generate other items using tokens and filtering. Configure your default template from App settings > Custom strings and alter specific release summaries from the Release step.

Upcoming events

Conference season is soon starting in earnest and Runway’s very first conference appearance of the year will be at AppDevCon in Amsterdam on March 15th. If you’re in town – whether or not you’re attending the conference – join us for a free happy hour the night before (info & RSVP). And at the conference, swing by our table to enter a raffle for a LEGO version of the Space Shuttle Discovery (the real version wasn’t in our budget) and pick up the newly released second set in our signature Runway LEGO line.

This month’s newsletter is now at an end, but feel free to scroll right back on up and read it again.


Release better with Runway.

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