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tldr; Don’t use an enterprise product. In this case Oracle’s Responsys/PushIO sucks badly.

This post is my rant on how bad an enterprise product from Oracle is.

The ridiculous bug

I spent 2 months to figure out why our iOS app did not display rich message pushed from Oracle’s platform. It boils down to an UNDERSCORE.

Yes, freaking _, generated in their API key is the reason why our app didn’t work.

Quoting reply from Oracle developer:

The bug is that your API key was generated with an underscore “_” and that is an invalid character for how the API key is used downstream.

The fix should be pretty straighforward… create a new platform until you get one without underscores in the API key.

Wow.

It is an embarassing bug, but what appal me more is how they deal with it.

A major bug

Firstly, the bug affects majority of their users, since it took me 3 tries, before getting a “valid” one.

I estimate 66% of users could have generated “invalid” keys.

Not fixing their SDK quickly

PushIO last release of their SDK is 16 Jun 2017, that is 2 months ago as of writing.

I give them the benefit of doubt, as I assume the bug only appear in that release, though I do believe the bug happens way before version 6.32.1.

The point is, a major bug should be fixed quickly, yet it wasn’t.

Not to mention this should be a easy fix. They could fix their API key generator probably in a few lines of code. Somehow they did not.

Lack of knowledge on the issue

Our account manager and a couple of customer support officers did not know about the _ issue, until it escalated to their developer.

It could mean:

  1. They don’t have many users and this issue never came up
  2. They have a problem with communicating and sharing of such knowledge

Either way, as a user, I am less confident with Oracle.

We took 2 long months

Why so long?

While trying to investigate the issue and isolate the problem, I asked a simple quesion: Is there an iOS sample code?

It took 2 weeks, before they finally have an answer – no, they don’t. Again, it reveals a lack of knowledgebase to such FAQ.

Analyzing why a push fails is tedious and slow, because I have to wait till the next day to check the logs from an FTP server. It feels so 1990s.

Reply from “enterprise support” isn’t lightning fast either. I admit I don’t reply them fast too, but I have much more meaningful features to develop.

A problem with the enterprise suite of products

Responsys is an enterprise email marketing tool – a slow and complicated web app. Mail Chimp on the other hand, is a rival, is cool and user friendly.

PushIO is a mobile push SDK, in a very crowded space since 2009, when Apple revolutionized push. It’s better rivals include Urban Airship and OneSignal (free!).

In 2014, Oracle eat Responsys, who in turn eat PushIO – a $1.5 billion acquisition!

When a large corporation acquires a team and it’s product, it is the start of a downfall. This case will be messier since a fat clumpsy fish eat a fish which eat another small fish.

The small fish (PushIO) probably died tragically.


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@samwize

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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