In Depth


| In Depth

forScore is made in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, a region currently blanketed in smoke from an overwhelming number of wildfires burning across the continent. Over the past ten days, we’ve been choked with a thick fog-like haze that has brought unprecedentedly unhealthy conditions to areas typically known for their lush, evergreen foliage. It’s summertime and we haven’t seen the sun in over a week.

Protecting our environment is a daunting task and any gains made by using forScore and saving paper are easily overtaken by the energy and chemicals required to manufacture and use consumer electronics like an iPad. But this context is helpful to understanding why we take something seemingly unimportant so seriously: the download size of our app.

These days apps can clock in at around 150MB and nobody gives it a second thought. Add to that the forced release cycles of companies that “regularly update our app to provide the best possible experience” and have you re-download that same data over and over again even when there’s nothing new, and you can see how it piles up.

We just released forScore 12 which is roughly 35% smaller than the previous version, just over 15MB on average (app size varies by device). That’s something we’re incredibly proud of. Our app is complex and full of rich features, but we write most of that code ourselves. When we ship third-party frameworks, it’s to provide features like direct support for certain page turning devices—something that clearly benefits users. We absolutely never include any sort of analytics libraries; on the rare occasion we need information from a user to address a specific issue, we give them the ability and choice to share that with us or not.

Every update we release is downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Moving that data around takes energy—energy that comes from a variety of sources. It’s a tiny part of the world’s carbon footprint, but it matters. Keeping our app as small as possible forces us to always consider whether the choices we make are worth the cost or not. It also makes for faster updates and more available space on your device.

The past eight months have challenged us all and, as the view from here can attest, things aren’t going to just get better on their own. Times like these fortify our beliefs and values, and this is just a tiny part of what we believe in as a company. The rest we’ll continue to foster and build through discipline and passion. May we all see clearer skies soon.