Reader joshtops shares a report: Apps are getting bigger in size, in part because developers add new features, something many users obviously appreciate, developers say. "Apps are getting bigger because iOS devices are more powerful, and developers are building more and more complex things for them without considering the impact the size will have around the world," developer Stephen Troughton-Smith tells Gadgets 360. But in part, it is also happening because developers are being careless, and adding more than one instance of files, Troughton-Smith added. "So Facebook, Twitter, and other large companies have perhaps tens or hundreds of people building their iOS apps. A lot of the components for these apps are developed independently as components, or frameworks. For each additional component you glue together into an app, there is some overhead," he explained. "Some of the teams will duplicate functionality some other team wrote. Images and other resources end up being duplicated." The high-resolution image assets that developers are required to add also contributes to the size of an app, two India-based developers, and Peter Steinberger, founder and CEO of PSPDFKit, a dev kit that is used by several popular PDF apps, told Gadgets 360. Apple can itself take some blame, too. Developers using Apple's Swift language, which the company introduced in 2014, are required to add several components to their apps that make them heavier. "Apple's new Swift language, for example, requires a bunch of components to be embedded each time it's used, because it's not yet 'ABI stable,'" Troughton-Smith explained. This means developers need to embed the versions of libraries they've developed against, and not count on the one available on the system. Another developer who didn't want to be identified said a typical app built with Swift language requires as many as 30 Swift runtime libraries to be stuffed within the app. On top of this, he added, "you will be surprised at just how many apps use common code found at places like GitHub. Developers often don't care about removing the bits that wasn't relevant to their app," he added.In a blog post published in June, marketing and research firm Sensor Tower wrote, "The total space required by the top 10 most installed US iPhone apps has grown from 164 MB in May 2013 to about 1.9 GB last month, a 12x or approximately 1,100 percent increase in just four years." The phones' storage capacity has not changed at anything close to the same rate, with the base iPhone version only recently going up from 16GB to 32GB of storage." [...] San Francisco-based developer Ben Sandofsky, who was part of the team that made Twitter's iOS app and has served as a consultant on HBO's Silicon Valley show, resonated our concerns and said often "employees at these [Western] companies live in an 'early adopter bubble.' They have LTE connections, fast Wi-Fi at home, and phones with 64 gigs of storage. This creates a huge blind spot around your average user." Sandofsky, who recently developed popular third-party Halidi camera app for iPhone, added, "another issue is advances that have made the lives of engineers and managers easier, without understanding the burden on users. It's gotten easier than ever to reuse code between iPhone apps. With a few keystrokes, an engineer can add thousands of lines of code to an app. In theory that's good, because engineers shouldn't reinvent the wheel. Unfortunately things have gotten crazy in the last few years, with engineers pulling gigantic libraries that add megabytes to their app's size, when they could build something much smaller to solve the task at hand in under an hour."
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