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news

Quick Calendar 1.2.0

This new version of Quick Calendar for iPhone, iPad and Watch can be thought of as a taste of the future. In practical terms that means:

  • Fix for the Watch complication
  • All New Watch App

Let’s start with the app. The new version looks better, has better visual affordances and offers a better foundation for the future.

watchOS Quick Calendar
watchOS Quick Calendar

The “look” isn’t purely about aesthetics. It makes better use of the very limited available space, and the highlighted date is much clearer. It always bothered me that there were no clues about how you could move between months. Both swiping and turning the crown worked but not everyone found them. Using a simple list, a familiar interface convention, fixes that1.

Finally, the foundation. It’s now written in SwiftUI, the latest Apple technology. The neat thing is that it’s possible to use the same code on all platforms, from the Watch all the way to the Mac. The goal here is feature parity for all versions.

The complication has bugged me (pun intended) for some time. In hindsight, I was probably overthinking it.

You can update complications basically in two ways: on a schedule or when something happens. The schedule seems like the obvious one: we know when the next day starts, right? But what happens when I step from a plane and into a new time zone? The date might be different. So rather than take the “easy” route, previous versions of Quick Calendar attempted to update the complication periodically. This works for a day or two but then watchOS says “you’ve used up all your time” and doesn’t run it again. In short: it took a week to test every change I made! And nothing helped.

Version 1.2.0 takes a different approach. It generates a timeline, allowing watchOS to update the complication without any further intervention. That pretty much always works. If you ever find yourself in a new time zone and with the complication showing the wrong date, you can force a refresh by opening the app. As I say, easy in hindsight.

Apple approved this very quickly, so it’s already available to download.


  1. A current limitation is that you can’t go back to a previous month. Long story short, this is a limitation of SwiftUI. I’m looking to see if there are workarounds. ↩︎
Categories
trivia

WWDC 2020

There’s a lot to take in. As ever, the keynote is a bit of a firehose and knowing where to start is a challenge. What looks cool? Will it work on my hardware? How will it affect Wandle Software’s apps? Ultimately, none of these questions will be answered in this post. This is just some quick thoughts and speculation and is, by no means, a commitment!

At a high level, things look pretty good. iOS and iPadOS don’t look super ambitious so, hopefully, they’ll be more stable than iOS 13 was las year. Sadly, that’s not a high bar to clear. There’s still some nice stuff. As I user, I think I’ll appreciate the new Siri interface and the on-device speech recognition. It’ll be fascinating to see how Translate works. The more desktop-class apps, like Music, on the iPad look great.

Looking at it from the point of view of someone with an existing Mac, Big Sur looks… fine. I’m not sure that more Catalyst apps is a good idea; last years just were not terribly good. The updated UI… again, I don’t have a strong visceral reaction one way or the other. I don’t think it would have been my first choice of new feature however.

Looking forward, it is, of course, the move to “Apple Silicon” CPUs in the Mac that is the big news. This has been rumoured so long that it felt like almost a relief when they announced it. As with previous transitions, they seem to have planned it well.

As a developer, I’m ambivalent about it. As long as the tools are available — and I suspect they will be — I’m not sure it matters what the underlying CPUs architecture is. If I write Scala or Swift or Ruby, the tools all do the conversion for me. If anything, as I quipped on Twitter, having ARM Macs will make my Raspberry Pi more useful as the number of suitable Docker images will vastly increase.

What about Wandle’s apps? It’s really too early to say. Widgets on both Mac, iOS and iPadOS look dramatically different so I suspect Quick Calendar will need some work. Yummy’s recently added Popular Links widget might also need a refresh.

Overall, cautiously positive about WWDC this year.

Categories
news

Yummy 3.4.1

There are three things in this release: a fix, an improvement and a new feature.

The most visible change is that Yummy 3.4.1 supports Dark Mode.

Yummy: Dark mode
Yummy: Dark mode

For most screens, this is supported automatically. There is one exception: the bookmark list view. In the olden days — that is in 3.4.0 and earlier — you could switch between having a white, green, red or blue background to help distinguish between accounts. This option is still present and is unchanged in the new version. If you want to use automatic dark mode, go into the settings screen and switch the background colour to “Default.”

The fix is for the tip jar feature, which was broken in 3.4.0. I have not changed any code. Submitting a new version will allow Apple to review it properly which, for reasons unknown, they didn’t last time.

In iOS and iPadOS 14 there’s a new notification when an app programmatically “pastes” from the clipboard. Earlier versions of Yummy had a coding error. The logic looks like this:

Get contents of clipboard
If “copy URL from clipboard” is enabled and the thing on the clipboard is a URL then

  Present “New bookmark” screen


I’m spelling it out like this because I want to be clear that nothing nefarious was going on. Anyway, the new version improves that logic by only reading the clipboard after checking that the “copy URL from clipboard” option is enabled.

If “copy URL from clipboard” is enabled then

  Get contents of clipboard

  if the thing on the clipboard is a URL then

    Present “New bookmark” screen


In order to effectively support dark mode, the minimum supported version is now iOS and iPadOS 13.0. I appreciate that this is a big jump since 3.3.x but most users are already on newer versions.

The update is now with Apple and should be available to download shortly. Enjoy.

Categories
news

Yummy 3.4

Despite its public image as an engineering discipline, there’s an awful lot of art in writing software. As with any art, there’s often a lot of experimentation and not all of it pays off.

New shortcut menuIt’s been eighteen months since the last release of Yummy and, while you might have concluded that it is no longer being maintained, the truth is mostly there in the first paragraph.

Yummy 3.4 is both less and more than it was originally intended. Many new features ended up on the cutting room floor. Some were good ideas that just didn’t work well. Some turned out not to be possible. Some were too ambitious. Some will hopefully return, others will not.

Saved searchAnyway, it’s now with Apple and should be on your device shortly. Here’s what you can expect.

  • Full-text search, multi-account support and site status checks now come as standard for everyone!
  • Instead of the upgrade for the “pro” features, we now have a “tip jar.” While there’s no obligation to contribute, if you’d like to recognise the longevity of Yummy and the fact that there have been over forty free updates across a dozen versions of iOS, now you can
  • Slightly tweaked visuals, fitting in with modern iOS conventions better
  • A “Popular Links” widget for Notification Centre
  • Type multiple tags in the share extension
  • Removal of 3D-touch support, replaced with the iOS13-standard long-press shortcut menus
  • Support for all the recent iPhone and iPad devices

There are also some “behind the scenes” changes that you shouldn’t notice but you never know.

  • Yummy now no longer stores your password. It used to be stored in the iOS KeyChain, a place that Apple provides for just this kind of thing. It’s secure and Wandle Software has never had access to it. Now, Yummy doesn’t even store it. Instead, Yummy converts it into an API token and stores that instead (also in the keychain). You can also enter the API token directly if you prefer. If you logged in using a previous version, Yummy converts your password into a token and deletes your password from your device
  • Experimental support for “low data mode.” In short, if enabled Yummy no longer does site status checks and other high-bandwidth activities

The minimum supported version of iOS is now 11.4.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.1.2

This is a kind of embarrassing release for two reasons.

First, the bug that gets fixed should never have made it out of Wandle HQ: the Watch complication would never update. Apple changed the way background updates worked and… I didn’t spot it. Because I tend to have a new development version every day when I’m working on it, I didn’t notice that it didn’t update.

Second, while I fixed it pretty quickly and tested it, I actually forgot to submit it to Apple. Doh. This was mostly because it now worked on my own watch.

But, as an added bonus, I added a small update: the complication now works on more watch faces.

The iPhone and iPad versions are completely unchanged, except for the version number.

Anyway, it’s now with Apple and should be available to download shortly.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.1.1 for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch

As the new version of Apple’s mobile operating system heads to iPhones around the world, you’ll be pleased to know that an update of Quick Calendar compatible with it is already available for download.

As you can gather from the version number, it’s a very small update. There are basically two changes.

First, it works with Dark Mode on the iPhone. And the iPad, but the public version of iPadOS won’t be out for another week or two.

Second, I enabled the “works without iPhone” option on the Watch app. Due to a lack of test hardware, I’ve not been able to test it but in theory it should work. Let me know if you try it successfully!

Categories
news

Wandle and iOS 13

The site has been quiet this summer, but it’s not due to a lack of activity behind the scenes. More that this time last year I trailed a few things that never came to fruition. Sometimes things are just not as close to shipping as you think.

But, as I type this, some things are very close to shipping. The latest update to Quick Calendar for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch is currently with Apple for review and, hopefully, should be out this week. It’s entirely geared around Apple’s new operating systems, including a new Dark Mode and the ability to download to the Watch without first installing it on your iPhone. There will be another blog when this finally hits the App Store.

An update for Yummy is also in the works. While built using the new developer kit, I wouldn’t say the next release will be optimised for iOS 13. Other features will be more prominent. As this is long delayed, I want to ship first and then later create a more iOS 13 optimised version, including Dark Mode and enhanced shortcuts. I’m not putting a date on either of those updates right now but hopefully soon.

Finally, I do want to update Rootn Tootn at the very least to support the latest iPhone sizes. I mention this not because I have a timescale in mind but because by now you might think it has been abandoned. It has not.

In summary: unless something goes wrong, Quick Calendar this week; Yummy a few weeks behind that; Rootn Tootn… eventually.

Categories
news

New site

If you’ve been here before, you might notice something new. The “premium” theme I’d been using with WordPress had stopped working so I’ve started updating it to something shiny and new.

What I’m saying it that… it should be All New and Much Better. But it’s possible that I missed something. Please try the Shiny and New Contact Form to tell me if you find anything broken. Otherwise, welcome to our new home!

Categories
news

ShareEverywhere end of life

It’s time to say goodbye to ShareEverywhere, the app I introduced on the same day that iOS 8 launched so people would have at least one app to use with the new “share extensions” feature.

Listening to the WWDC keynote in 2014, Share Extensions struck me as the most important new feature but it was difficult to know who else thought so. How many other applications would launch extensions on day one?

I decided to remove that uncertainty. Rather than wait for services to (eventually) update their own apps, I would write an app to do it all in one place.

It’s the only time that I’ve tried to release an app at a specific time. Working with beta software has its challenges — does this thing not work because I’m doing it wrong or because it’s broken? Working with a deadline can also be tricky. Doing both together… totally not recommended. What I’m saying is, if you know any iOS developers, be extra nice to them every August. Also, ShareEverywhere isn’t exactly as I imagined it when I started. The deadline and the technology resulted in a few compromises I wasn’t entirely happy with. It did, however, work. It got coverage in the Guardian newspaper and it sold okay, especially in the few weeks after iOS 8 came out.

It’s sad to write this so soon after www.cut, but the reasons are actually very similar: few sales, limited utility and the relatively high cost of maintaining it. In 2019, most apps that would benefit from having a Share Extension already have one. And ShareEverywhere is quite difficult to maintain as there are so many services that change and potentially break.

As I did with www.cut, I’ve made it free for now and will remove the app for sale entirely in a few days.

So thank you if you downloaded a copy, I hope you got as much use out of it as I did!

Categories
news

www.cut end of life

It’s time to say goodbye to the second app that Wandle Software released: www.cut, the “no touch” URL shortening app. I’ve dropped the price to zero and it will be removed from the store in a few days.

It’s never easy to end of life a product, but the fact is the use case for it no longer really exists.

In 2009, URL shorteners were all the rage. Twitter didn’t have its own but did have a 140 character limit for each message. Most people who shared links used at least one service. Most of them had “bookmarklets” that (kind of) worked on early iPhones. If I remember correctly, some did have apps but they weren’t very good. They worked with a single service and required many taps to do the one thing you really wanted to do.

www.cut’s unique selling point was that, once configured, you could shorten a URL without even tapping a button (other than the home button to exit): you launch the app with a URL on the clipboard and it pastes the shortened one back on the clipboard. I though it was a neat idea. App Store review often had other ideas, complaining, in essence, that the UI was too sparse. They weren’t wrong, per se, as much as missing the point. In the last few years, each update has taken several rounds in review to be approved.

I’ve used it as a “playground,” rewriting both the UI and the backend several times over the years to try out new Apple technologies. I also used it to experiment with different business models (it started as advertising supported, then an IAP and finally paid upfront). I’ve even used it myself a lot! But all good things must come to an end.

Thank you to everyone who downloaded a copy. I hope you liked it.