So 1.8 is out. Lot had been said good and bad in the past 24-36 hours since the release. And lot of it is repetitive and angry. And repetitive is good, because that is how big issues are identified I want to sum it up from my perspective (which is somewhat not a typical user perspective as you will see in the end)
I joined Roon a couple of months back. I needed a true audiophile solution for my musical needs and Roon was it. I have my Server running on a Linux machine and I have two Raspberry Pi 4 running Roipeee, with USB headphone DAC/Amps connected to them. The sound quality was amazing on my HiRes headphones. 1.7 was super stable, not once did I run into any issue that would require me to restart the server or wonder what the heck was going on. I was free to experiment. Experiment with features and figure out how to make those features work for me. I loved it!
Roon apps weren’t perfect, but they were easy to use. The iOS app left me with the unshakeable feeling that it was a severely dumbed down version of the iPad and desktop apps. For example there was no Focus feature on iOS, no way to change your dsp settings on iOS, etc. Not a deal breaker just a bit annoying. But everything was functional. It was easy to tag, untag, add to playlist, remove from playlist, I knew where to click etc.
And then 1.8 was announced. I was happy over the moon. It was very promising. I was hoping the maybe just maybe some of the annoyances will be addressed (even though they were not announced in the emails sent out). After all this was a major release and it was reasonable to expect changes that were improvements.
After installing I could not believe my eyes.
- Tagging is completely broken. No mass tagging anyone, how do I remove my tags?
- Where can I click? What is a link? Was the artist name still a link or not? I was convinced it wasn’t. Until I kept tapping on it and eventually it worked. But the text is so small and blends in so there is no way to know if ti is clickable or not? And then tapping so that it works is an effort in itself
- My DACs disappeared from my zones. Nothing helped until I restarted the server. (Something I NEVER had to do on 1.7)
- To heart (like) icon had been removed from plain sight,
- No more star rating of albums
- Lots of things that were easily accessible are now many clicks away. But were are they exactly?
- And the list goes on.
And then not mention that most of the missing features from 1.7 are still missing:
- No Boolean relationships in Focus
- iOS still has no way to change DSP settings
- I still cannot save my changed bookmark other than create a new one
All that hard work went into revamping something that worked! Why fix it if it ain’t broken? There were things that need fixing, but very few of those had been fixed.
I know this is major one. And having issues is acceptable. Things have to align, have to be ironed out etc. Like with every other new thing and release. But these are major things we are talking about. I should not have to experiment to figure out how to make something work, find a workaround or try to beat my disbelief about the broken UI. Having to do that kind of experimentation is just bad user experience. Full stop.
At the top I said that my perspective is not your typical user perspective. I spent the past 20 years in the softwore QA industry and therefore I understand how these things work. But I am also an avid audiophile who had enjoyed every minute spent with Roon 1.7. As someone who understand Software QA, 1.8 is a failure. Failure of software QA and failure of priotizing changes/fixes. Just please accept it. Because when you do accept it Roon folks, you will then be in the right place to move on and fix things. You are not the first nor the last one to fall into this trap of releasing something ASAP, just to have it released. Software QA is everything these days. Functional bugs, bad user experience, GUI issues are equally important. And if you have limited resources, that is fine. No need to rush it. 1.8 could have waited another few months. Test it properly, fix things and THEN release. We can wait! And waiting for a mature and stable product is a good kind of waiting.
In any case I love Roon. I love what you guys are trying to do and are doing. You fell into this trap, now just please pull it together and fix this. I hope Roon team makes the right call here and learns from 1.8 problems. My experience with 1.7 tells me that I can count on Roon team. Please make your efforts count