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Interview with Rick Fillion, Developer of Bodega.

You should have probably already heard of Bodega: it’s a Mac application which contains other Mac apps. Many people call it “the Mac App Store”.

Indeed, Bodega wants to be your corner store for Mac apps. I also wrote a small post about it back in July.

Today I had the chance to chat with Rick Fillion, developer of Bodega.

Enjoy! ;)

Hi there! Can you please introduce yourself to MacStories readers?

Hi MacStories readers! I’m Rick Fillion, and I’m a developer on Bodega. I’m a co-founder of Centrix.ca, employee of IDFusion Software, and I’ve been a Mac developer for 6 years.

Can you please describe us what Bodega.app exactly is?

Bodega’s goal is to make finding new Mac applications as easy as possible. The idea behind it is that all of the current methods of looking for new Mac apps are pretty painful, and often you’re resorting to throwing something like “financial software mac” into Google, and then sifting through all of the unrelated results.

We aim to fix this by having a central place for all Mac users to go to find new apps.

How long has Bodega been in development? Was it hard to find people who believed in this project at the beginning?

Development started in late February 2009. We spent some time before then writing out some specs, and ironing out some of its design, but no code was started until February. When we started the project we tried to make our intentions known in the Mac community because we wanted developer feedback as quickly as possible.

It’s a very large project to undertake, and I think developers were a little skeptical about whether it would ever see the light of day.

Let’s talk about the apps. How many applications are now downloadable in Bodega?

There are currently 666 applications in Bodega, and our moderation queue has a dozen more that will get added today. Every day more applications are added, and updates come in on a frequent basis. We’ve been really happy with how this has been working out.

We frequently get emails from users with lists of applications that aren’t in Bodega that they’d like to see added. We literally go through all of these lists and try to contact each developer individually, but we also encourage users to email those developers too.

Has the developers’ feedback been good?

Developers have sent us some amazing feedback. We approached this from a developer’s point of view; we started by first building the developer portal so that they could start adding their apps and help us test it well before we started the actual Bodega application.

Adding and updating application listings on download sites has historically been a very painful process, so we took a lot of time to try to make it as easy as possible. They’ve been great about sending us bug reports and UI/usability comments.

We’ve also received some really good feedback from developers about the impact Bodega has had on the amount of downloads they get of their applications. Our goal is to get users to try out more software, so hearing these types of things means a lot to us.

Do you plan to integrate a “in-Bodega” purchase system?

We get asked this a lot. It’s in our road-map, but in the distant future. It seems like a no-brainer feature, but there are some very large hurdles in our way.

To do this properly, you need to be able to provide a single UI to purchase multiple applications that aren’t necessarily by the same developer. This means all, or nearly all, developers would need to provide us with a mechanism to hook into to run the purchases. If we act as the merchant then we have to take care of paying the developers on a regular basis.

A lot of apps have non-standard pricing structures such as special volume discounts, or discounts when buying 2 applications from the same developer. There’s a whole infrastructure that would need to be built to support all of this. It’s not impossible to do, but it’s a lot of work.

The other approach is to have developers provide Bodega with a way to talk to their store and have the developer’s store do all of the payment processing and license generation. This is the way I’m currently leaning towards, as it gives developers a little more control, but very few web stores that developers use right now support this.

The interface. There’s a been a lot of buzz about it. Who designed it?

The interface was completely designed in-house by Phil Letourneau. We out-sourced the creation of our application icon and the source list icons to Enhanced Labs who did a fantastic job.

bodega

bodega

Can you please tell us something about future updates?

There are some features that I can say will be coming soon to Bodega: in-app installation of new applications and application updates. Being able to see some information about applications when in shelf view without having to double click and go into the listing. Better searching. The ability to uninstall applications.

These are what I consider the obvious features that we’re working on. We have a whole list of less obvious ones that we’re staying mum about.

Thanks for chatting with us! Have a great Festival :)

Anytime!

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