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.

Categories
trivia

App Store Connect and Tide bank

The audience for this post is pretty niche, but I thought it worth posting nevertheless. If you’re a UK-based developer with an App Store Connect account and want Apple to pay your proceeds into a Tide bank account, you are in the right demographic.

In short, this was not possible until recently. Apple pay from abroad somewhere so you need an IBAN number, and Tide didn’t support international payments, even in Sterling.

That changed recently. But if you enter your details into Apple’s website it says “The local clearing code you selected does not match the corresponding part of your IBAN.”

If you’re familiar with IBAN numbers maybe the solution is obvious but it wasn’t to me. With the help of David from App Store connect and some luck (if it didn’t work I may have lost some money!) I found the answer:

Don’t enter your bank account number and sort code. Instead, dissect your IBAN number. It’ll be in the form GB67SAPYXXXXXXYYYYYYYY. Put the digits XXXXXX in the sort code field and YYYYYYYY in account number field. Put the IBAN number in the IBAN field.

A couple of days later I got an error message: “An error occurred whilst creating the Request,” suggesting that I shouldn’t have emoji characters or large attachments (I didn’t). I emailed Apple and got a not entirely convincing response.

Still, it appears to have worked.

Categories
news

Yummy 3.3.3

You’ll find a new version of Yummy on the App Store. It’s one of the usual “fixes and minor improvements” releases.

There (should be) no user-visible change… except if you have one of the recently released Apple devices with new screen sizes. In that case, you’ll find that Yummy now knows about the whole screen!

In the meantime, I’m continuing to work on Yummy 3.4 that will have some more substantial changes.

Categories
news

Quick Calendar 1.1

Quick Calendar version 1.1 is just now on its way to the App Store, ready for download!

Which version, you ask? The Mac version or the iPhone version?

Quick Calendar for Apple Watch

All the above. And more!

Version 1.1 on the Mac brings a couple of frequently requested features:

  • Support for macOS Mojave. This means, mostly, it works much better when using Dark Mode
  • You can now change the colours of the days

And, of course, there’s the usual minor changes and fixes.

Version 1.1 of the iPhone version brings support for all of Apple’s recently released new hardware. And by that I don’t just mean the iPhone and iPad, but the Apple Watch, too!

The Watch app allows you to skim back and forth, month-to-month, using the digital crown. (Really annoys me that you can’t do that in the month view in the Calendar app!) There’s a complication that can be used instead of Apple’s date complication on some watch faces.

As before, Quick Calendar is free to download. No purchase is required to get its full functionality, but if you like it please do add to the Tip Jar available in both apps.

Categories
support

Support Questions

Looking in the support mailbag, I noticed a couple of good questions recently that I thought would be worth sharing more widely.

How do you switch the calendar to the Dark theme?

Quick Calendar for the Mac is a useful widget for Notification Centre. Mojave is the New Shiny from Apple. While Quick Calendar works on Mojave, it doesn’t fully support all the new things currently — it comes out in the wrong colours when in dark mode for example.

The good news is that I’m working on a new release that will support Dark Mode and also have a couple of other new features.

Despite being free to download, keeping it working on the latest operating systems does take time and effort. Your donations to the tip jar keep it alive!

Any news about Quick Calendar for iPhone/iPad?

I lied, no one asked about this, but since I’m already talking about the Mac version… Anyway. There’s a new version. It should be released at the same time as the new Mac version. I can’t commit to a timescale, but it should be relatively soon.

Yummy 3 asks for my Pinboard account name and password — where is that info stored and how secure is it?

In hindsight I’m surprised that no one has asked this before — it’s a good question. It’s partly answered in the Privacy Policy (“Wandle apps do not collect analytics that can be traced back to a specific user; Wandle apps do not “call home” periodically”), but a more complete answer would be:

It’s stored in your iPhones keychain, which is the technology Apple provide for storing things like passwords. The password is sent to pinboard to access your bookmarks over a HTTPS (i.e., secure) connection. If you have iCloud Keychain enabled, it may be encrypted and sent to Apple’s servers. Wandle Software has no way to access either your username or password.

Categories
news

Smart App Banner 1.1.2

This almost happened without any fanfare at all, and, while it’s a tiny update, it seems that releasing software without even a tiny blog is fair to both the users and the people who develop it.

And, this time, the developer wasn’t me.

The change to our Smart App Banner WordPress plugin is small but was submitted by a user. You shouldn’t notice anything new or different but it’s a nice, internal update that should limit the risk of Bad Things happening in the future.

Enjoy!

Categories
news

Yummy 3.3.2

So here’s the last “tidy things up before the new version of iOS comes out” update for Yummy. The changes are mostly fixes for things reported by users:

  • Refresh tags on edit tag screen when they arrive from Pinboard after the screen appears (#43)
  • Fix for handover not working when using Safari View Controller (#46)
  • Always show title/url in browser view (#48)
  • Open in Safari and Chrome actions for browsers (#47)

(The last one is kind of a new feature but, oddly, one I thought Yummy already had. Not sure if I imaged it or I accidentally removed it at some point. Anyway… the point is… it’s there now.)

A quick explanation for the wording in the last one: yes, it says browsers (plural). Yummy has two. On the iPhone it uses something called Safari View Controller mostly. This is nice because it shares cookies and other niceties with the main Safari browser. Sadly, you can’t really embed it as part of a screen (like on an iPad) and you can’t edit the URL once you’ve displayed it (like a browser), so Yummy also has its own screen. If you want to play spot-the-difference, the Safari View Controller has a “Safari” button on the bottom right.

I submitted it to Apple today and it should be available soon. Keep an eye out for it!

Update: there’s a snag with App Review so this is taking longer than anticipated.

Categories
news

WWDC 2018

What do the announcements at this years Apple Developer Conference mean for Wandle Software’s apps? In addition to a few more general thoughts, that’s what I hope to answer with this post.

But first, what was I hoping from Apple and what did we actually get? I didn’t put up a wish-list for WWDC this year mostly because my desires matched up mostly with the rumours, which was that this was going to be a “stability” update.

High Sierra has been a low point for Mac releases in my opinion, with the installer on both of our Macs failing (mine on the initial install, a point release for my wife). You might forgive the installer if the update had huge user-facing benefits but, as neat as ADFS is, there’s not much to see upgrading from Sierra. iOS 11 also had problems, but more like glitches than absolute failures. I’m not adding anything new here to the “stability” debate, I’m just saying that I see the same problems.

The rumours were not untrue. The first thing Apple talked about was performance. I guess for marketing reasons it’s difficult to come out and say “we’re fixing lots of bugs” so talking about speed improvements was probably smart. But the surprising thing was the number of other nice, new additions. There was not a single must have feature, but put together all the changes to both iOS and macOS look like they’ll be well worth having.

As a consumer, there are a bunch of nice things that I’m looking forward to. The most glitzy is possibly being able to have up to 32 people in a FaceTime call. (Yeah, it’s a big number, but anyone who has used Zoom or Bluejeans will know that it’s possible if not a great experience.) And the other stuff like being able to use your iPhone camera from your Mac is going to simplify a number of more convoluted workflows. On a day-to-day basis, the enhancements to notifications is likely to be the feature that helps us the most.

The stand-out feature as a developer has to be Siri Shortcuts. If you recall from the keynote, they’re a combination of commands that you can, for want of a better word, train Siri to understand mixed with some simple scripting (using an app that isn’t currently available outside Cupertino). Unfortunately, right now, playing with the iOS 12 beta, there’s really not very much you can do with them as no apps support them yet!

Overall, the announcements made don’t have a huge impact on Wandle’s apps. I’m looking into Siri Shortcuts to see if they can add any value and, obviously, I’m testing on the iOS 12 to make sure that everything still works as intended.