Categories
trivia

WWDC21

WWDC21

WWDC is always a cool, exciting, busy, scary week for anyone developing apps for the Apple eco-system. Will your app get Sherlocked1? Will there be new APIs that completely change how your apps work? Are there exciting new opportunities? Long story short, if you Apple developer friends look stressed over the summer, the things announced at WWDC are likely the reason.

This year’s WWDC was great. The move from in-person to remote has been fairly seemless from an outsiders perspective, though I’m sure it didn’t feel that way to the organisers. My favourite feature is that the videos can be just the right length rather than having to be stretched to fill fourty minutes.

The keynotes were not the highlight. Unusually for Apple, there wasn’t much of a story connecting the announcements, just a list of features. Which is not to say that the features were bad. The improvements to FaceTime alone look like they’re worth the price of entry. Focus should be good — I use “Do Not Disturb” a lot — and the streamlining of notifications feels overdue.

From a developer perspective, I have not seen anything that dramatically change Wandle Software’s plans. I’ll start building our apps in the new developer kit sooner rather than later but at this time I don’t see any glitzy new features enabled by the update2.

If this all sounds negative or that I’m underwhelmed, that is not the case. iOS 15 appears to be a large number of very nice, relatively small improvements. There’s no one, big thing to get super excited about but, in the grand scheme, these quality-of-life updates often have a greater effect. From what I’ve seen, it’s quite stable, especially for a first beta, which bodes well for September or October when it will get a wider release.


  1. Will Apple incorporate all your functionality in the operating system itself. ↩︎
  2. Frustratingly, there are some good tools that I’d like to use but that will have to wait until I can stop supporting iOS 14. ↩︎
Categories
news

App Tracking Transparency

A new feature in iOS and iPadOS 14.5 has been getting a lot of press recently. It’s called “App Tracking Transparency” and the idea is that it gives people the choice as to whether companies can track user behaviour across apps and websites.

Many companies that are funded by advertising dislike ATP as it limits their ability to target individuals. They claim that this will make advertising less effective and end up costing small business more.

We at Wandle Software are big fans of this feature.

We don’t track people. Our apps don’t even include third-party analytics. We literally don’t know how many people are using any of our apps, much less what features they use or any of their behaviour outside the app. Is this limiting? Yes! When we include a new feature we don’t know whether it gets used. But we don’t want our activities to be tracked, so we don’t inflict it on our users either.

Will ATP cost small businesses more? It shouldn’t. If Facebook and Google’s advertising is less effective, market forces would suggest that they should lower their prices. So maybe they make less money. And if they don’t lower their prices then either they didn’t need tracking or there is no effective market (in which case maybe governments should intervene).

Long story short: we don’t track people. You won’t see the “Can we track you?” prompt in any of our apps. But because we’re not supported by advertising, all the money used to fund development comes directly from users, either by purchasing the app or by contributing to the tip jar.

Categories
news

Yummy 3.5

If I said that there were no new features in the latest version of Yummy, you might very well get the wrong idea.

In fact, a lot has changed.

Rather than add new things, Yummy 3.5 concentrates on making existing things easier and faster, while also updating the core code to make it more maintainable and future proof.

Bookmark Edit
Bookmark Editing screen in Yummy 3.5

In terms of things you’ll notice, three screens have been completely re-written. At the centre is one of the main screens in the whole app: the dialog used to create and edit bookmarks. There are also new screens to filter and sort bookmarks and tags.

The new screens are completely new, using Apple’s latest user interface framework, SwiftUI. Arguably they all have a cleaner, more modern look.

The bookmark editing view has had the most changes. New this time are the tag suggestions. In addition to the auto correct suggestions at the bottom of the screen, beneath the tags you’ll now see tag suggestions. It will show you three suggestions based on what you’ve typed so far. Hopefully that will save you some typing.

Additionally, as you type tags, they appear as tags rather than just as text. The visual representation is helpful, I think, but there’s also utility. You can quickly remove tags that you added by mistake just by tapping them. Again, saves some typing.

The funny thing, though, is that I never got many complaints about the bookmark entry screen. One of the most frequent requests was about the “Share Extension,” the screen that allows you to add new bookmarks in Safari and other applications. As a way of heading those off, in addition to rewriting the whole bookmark editing screen, I also ported the whole thing over to the “Share Extension.” There are a couple of minor differences, but, basically, the “new bookmark” screen is now the same whether you access it from Yummy itself or from another application.

Of course, there are the usual collection of “bug fixes and performance improvements.” It’s been “modernised,” uses more of Apple’s latest APIs and has more updated dependencies so that it operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Overall, while it is technically accurate to say that there are no new features, it’s not fair to say that Yummy 3.5 isn’t greatly improved. It’s currently with Apple for review and hopefully should be available for download shortly. Hope you like it.

Categories
support

SSL/TLS

You probably didn’t notice, but I’ve switched the website back from using a secure connection (with the padlock in your browser) to an insecure one. My web host has messed up and is serving the wrong certificate which makes the site inaccessible. I’ll switch it back when they’ve fixed it.

Some things like pictures may not display correctly. No personal information is stored here, there’s no real security risk.

Update: It’s now fixed and we’ve reverted back to secure-by-default.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.2

Version 1.3.2 of Quick Calendar is currently with Apple and, with luck, will be available for download as you read this. This version is for Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Version 1.3.2 checks off pretty much every feature request I’ve received for Quick Calendar since version 1.3 came out late last year.

  • Option to show the week number
  • Option to change the first displayed month
  • Option to use the “system” highlight colour
  • Customise the first weekday in the Watch app
  • Localised in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese

Most of these are self-explanatory, so I won’t go into any detail. A couple of them need some context.

The second feature I lied about: the ability to change the first month displayed is not a popular request. The request I get is “I’d like to be able to move to the next and previous months,” though often the message is not that polite. The amount of abuse I’ve received for removing this feature has been shocking. Pretty much every negative review on the App Store is about this.

But I didn’t remove the feature because I wanted to. I removed it because Apple provides no way to implement it! Big Sur uses a completely different way to display widgets and it does not provide interactivity. (So the people threatening to use a competing product were barking up the wrong tree.)

The best alternative I’ve been able to figure out so far is to have the ability to start on a different month other than the current one. I appreciate this isn’t ideal, but without the ability to add buttons I’ve not come up with anything better.

Finally, I’ve localised the widgets and the Watch App into a handful of languages other than English. If you have any corrections for what’s there in French, German, Spanish or Portugues, please let me know. Similarly, if you’re interested in localising into any other language, please get in touch.

I hope you’re enjoying using the widgets. Remember, if you do, I really appreciate any donations. It takes a lot of effort to keep it up to date with the latest Apple technologies — the widgets in iOS 14 and Big Sur were a complete rewrite of the older widgets — and other feature requests.

Update, 7 March. Apple approved the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch version but rejected the Mac version, for reasons unrelated t the new features.

Update, 14 March. I submitted a fix to Apple. Second time lucky?

Categories
news

Yummy 3.4.3

New shortcut menu
Yummy

Yummy 3.4.3 has just been approved by Apple and should be available for download from the App Store shortly (if it isn’t already).

It’s a pretty small update, one of those “bug fixes and minor update” releases. The main user-visible change is that it now supports all the latest Apple devices and their new screen sizes. It’s built with the latest Apple developer kit but doesn’t currently take advantage of any of the new iOS 14 features.

I have heard a few reports of Yummy’s Share Extension not appearing correctly on iOS 14. I think this is a problem with iOS since I’ve not changed anything in Yummy and it’s been working since 2015. Indeed, Yummy 3.4.2 is still built against iOS 13. I can’t guarantee that this version will miraculously fix it, but that’s my hope.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.1 (for iPhone, iPad and Watch)

Quick Calendar

Approved in super-quick time: the latest update for Quick Calendar. This version runs the same code as the Mac version and has the exact same features in the iOS14 widget.

That means, new in this version is the ability to pick the first day of the week. Previously it always picked the day your system’s locale suggested, and that’s still the default. But now you can change it.

This was basically the number one feature request. Embarrassingly it only didn’t make it into 1.3.0 because of a silly off-by-one error. Anyway, better late than never!

Hope you like it. You can download it from the App Store now.

Categories
support

Quick Calendar Interactivity

If you’re using Quick Calendar on a Mac and you’ve not yet upgraded to macOS 11 Big Sur, you might be aware that the “<“ and “>” buttons allow you to move from one month to the next.

Big Sur Quick Calendar Widget
Big Sur Quick Calendar Widget

I’ve had a couple of emails from people who have upgraded to Big Sur asking where those buttons have gone in the new widget and when they might be coming back.

The bad news is: this is not a feature that I took away, but one that Apple made impossible to implement. Widgets in Big Sur are just not interactive. You can’t add buttons or other traditional user interface elements. Notice that even Apple’s Widgets are display-only.

So what can we do? Other than a couple of “long shot” ideas that I won’t discuss until I’ve done some testing, there one thing.

The simplest thing would be to add an “offset.” Currently, the Widget displays the current month plus the next two or four if there’s space. Instead of showing the current month first, it could show, say, last month. This will likely make it into the next version.

If you have any other ideas, please suggest them in the comments below. I can’t promise anything but I’m always happy to hear them.

Categories
support

Wandle Apps and macOS 11 Big Sur

If you upgraded to macOS 11 last week, hopefully, you also got the latest version of Quick Calendar which also includes a new Widget.

Something that you might have seen in Apple’s marketing literature is the ability to run iOS apps on the Mac. To be clear: this is not something that works on existing Mac, only on the brand-new-out-this-week Apple Silicon-based Macs. And the obvious question is, what about Wandle Software’s app? Can you run them on new Macs?

Big Sur Quick Calendar Widget
Big Sur Quick Calendar Widget

There are two answers to this. The first one is yes. I’ve allowed Yummy to be downloaded from the Mac App Store. I turned off the ability to download Quick Calendar since there’s already a Mac app.

But the second answer is: I don’t know. I don’t have an Apple Silicon Mac, so I’ve not tested it. It might work well, or it might not work at all. This also means that if you have problems, I can’t really help. If I hear about a lot of problems I’ll probably disable downloads until the point that I can adequately test it.

So, if you have a new M1 Mac, I hope you enjoy your new toy and I hope my apps work well on it! Please let me know your experiences in the comments below.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.3.1 (macOS)

If you’ve been following along to the earlier happenings in the world of Quick Calendar, this new version should not be a Big Sur-prise (sorry).

Earlier this year I migrated the Watch app from its old watchOS foundation to an entirely new SwiftUI base. I don’t normally talk much about the internals, but this time it’s important. I was able to use exactly the same code to build the widget for iOS and iPadOS 14. Again, I’ve been able to use exactly the same code to build a new widget for macOS 11.

There’s currently feature parity between the iOS and macOS versions of the widget (or will be when version 1.3.1 for iOS is released). So you get multiple sizes. You get the ability to change the “today” highlight colour. And you can change the week start day from your calendar default — this is probably the number one feature request.

What I’m talking about here is a completely new widget for macOS 11 (and above). You’ll need to update your Mac to the latest release to make use of this new widget. Quick Calendar still comes with the “old” widget, unchanged from the previous version.

The software is currently with Apple for review. I’m hoping that it will be available for download at the same time as Big Sur itself.